MADISON, Wis.—Aug. 12, 2021—COVID-19 has affected how we do so many things. Getting health care is no different. With the renewed emphasis on safety, telehealth (also known as telemedicine) has exploded in popularity. Technology allows patients to get routine care without ever leaving home—using a mobile device, computer, or phone. Telehealth can save people time and money when they need help for certain minor medical issues.
“When used appropriately, telehealth offers the potential to improve health care access, quality, and cost,” said Dr. Jonah Fox, Medical Director at WPS Health Solutions.
To be clear, there are instances when going to the emergency room is necessary, such as:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Signs of a stroke, such as numbness or weakness on one side of the body, loss of vision, or trouble speaking
- Bleeding that won’t stop
- Major injuries, such as broken bones or head trauma
Going to the ER when emergency care isn’t needed is costly and a drain on medical resources that may be needed to tend to patients with more pressing concerns. Urgent care is a great alternative for nonemergency situations, such as cuts, scrapes, sprains, or muscle strains. But urgent care can put a strain on a person’s wallet, too.
That’s where telehealth comes in. It’s a great way to get treatment for minor conditions such as:
- Arthritis pain
- Colds and flu
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Insect bites
- Sinus infections
- Sore throats
- Sprains and strains
Fox continued, “In addition to enabling care when an in-person visit isn’t necessary or required, telehealth services can also allow a care team to monitor your condition remotely, as well as help facilitate collaboration among providers on the care team.”
Many health insurance policies, whether individual or group health plans, have access to telehealth services. Some allow patients to talk to a board-certified doctor from anywhere at any time by phone, video, or mobile app within their network. Often, telehealth services offer the opportunity to connect with behavioral therapists or dermatologists. People should check their policy documents for details.