How Do Telehealth Appointments Work?
There was a time not too long ago when seeking medical advice Telehealth online was discouraged. It doesn’t help that false medical information continues to spread on social media to this day. But as technology has been forced to evolve due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many people were stuck in quarantine unable to visit their doctors, online GP appointments have never been more important.
This is where telehealth services come in, a system that is widely used to give sick people the ability to meet with a doctor without needing to leave their homes. These online medical consultation appointments meant extra protection from either spreading or contracting the virus and are exactly what the public needs.
Many medical offices, even as the threat of covid-19 has lessened, continue to embrace the ease of access and on-demand availability of telehealth appointments. So if you haven’t had a chance to book one of these appointments and want to know just how it works, then read on.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is essentially the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to provide clinical health care over a long distance, it’s all about contactless consultation.
Telehealth services utilize technologies like the internet, landline connections, mobile apps, and video conferencing to address medical concerns with minimal to no physical contact. Telehealth allows patients to request immediate care without leaving their homes, promoting the health and safety of all involved.
How to access the services
Most online telehealth services will begin with patients signing up. Either through a dedicated app or website, you will be required to create an account with your details including basic information regarding yourself and your medical history. This is the foundation of information that will be used to provide further advice and consultation in your initial appointment.
Once you have set up your account, you will need to book your first consultation. First, you will provide some information regarding the assistance you need and then you will select an available appointment with an online GP.
During your appointment, you will be able to converse with the doctor in the same way you would if you were actually in their physical surgery. This includes asking any questions and requesting any clarification you may need. Of course, the doctor will not be able to examine you physically, so be sure to explain your symptoms in detail.
After your appointment, you will be able to acquire a prescription for relevant medication, ask your doctor to print you a medical certificate if you need to take a day off work, and can even provide a breakdown of your appointment if you want an explanation of what was discussed in writing. Though prescriptions can only be issued for repeats, new medication cannot be prescribed during an online medical consultation.
Platforms for telehealth/video calls
Videoconferencing is the preferred approach for telehealth services as it is the closest substitute for a face-to-face consultation. However, in circumstances where video is unavailable, providers can also offer audio-only services via telephone.
Services can be provided through the most widely available video calling apps and software such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Duo, GoToMeeting, and others. Though practitioners must ensure that their chosen telecommunications solution meets their clinical requirements and satisfies privacy laws in order to protect the safety of their patients.
Benefits and Advantages of Telehealth
● Better access – While telehealth was original popularised due to the coronavirus, it also gives better medical access to persons with disabilities, bedridden individuals, and other patients that cannot leave their homes for medical appointments
● Inexpensive – Because it’s all online, consultation fees are rather cheaper compared to traditional checkups. Some companies even offer free online consultations.
● Convenience – Booking a medical appointment online is quick and easy, it also means you don’t need to sit in the waiting room while your doctor finishes their previous appointment. Any waiting you do will be in the comfort of your own home. Online medical consultation services can also help you find the right doctor when you need it the most.
● Less anxiety – No need to feel the dreaded anxiety of entering a clinic just for a consultation. The clinic environment can provide anxiety to many people, so being able to speak with their doctor from the comfort of your own home can ease the stress associated with doctor visits.
So next time you need to visit your doctor, consider the convenience of an online GP instead. This way you can save time and stress by having your appointment in your own home, while also getting the same experience with a licensed doctor. Even with the rules around coronavirus loosening, the world has realized the benefits of telehealth services and they are unlikely to be going away anytime soon.