With the pandemic’s arrival, communication has more upfront and personal than ever before:
As in lots and lots of video conferencing.
As in looking great up top, living in leggings down below.
As in Good Morning America’s Will Reeve — son of the late Christopher “We All Could Use a Superman Right Now” Reeve — getting caught reporting live in a suitcoat and skivvies.
Video conferencing is playing more of a role in healthcare too. In an era when it’s unsafe to venture too far, much less visit a doctor’s office (#PetriDishIRL anyone?), telehealth is becoming the new normal for many of us.
Here’s the 411 on telehealth.
Telemedicine (a more specific type of telehealth, referring specifically to remote doctor visits) allows you to use digital information and communication technologies (e.g., computers, mobile devices) to access healthcare services.
When is telemedicine a good option?
When you live in a rural community and have to travel far to see a doctor or specialist.
When you don’t want to take a whole day off just to get to the doctor.
When you have an issue that doesn’t necessarily need an in-person visit.(Examples: Your ankle is suddenly swollen; what could it be? Your child is running a fever; does she need an antibiotic? You have a cough and fever; could it be COVID? Your neck is sore; are there exercises you can do to loosen it up?)
And of course, when staying home is de riguer — as in our #newnormal.
Telemedicine has other uses, including health education and remote monitoring of vital health signs and conditions. (That’s when it broadens out and becomes known as “telehealth.”) For instance, those of us with chronic conditions such as diabetes can use telehealth platforms to upload information like food logs, blood sugar levels and medications for our doctor to review. This can save us a lot of time while still keeping us connected to the care and advice we need.
Is telemedicine effective?
This study says yes, particularly when it comes to wound care, prenatal genetic screening, family planning, cardiovascular care and home care.
Patients surveyed as part of the study reported a “positive experience” with their video visits. In fact, many said they might prefer this option to in-person visits.
Sounds like this is worth considering.
Yes, especially since medical practices are now encouraged to use telemedicine wherever possible and many Medicare and other health insurance restrictions related to telehealth have been lifted. In fact, telehealth may be a key tool to help fight COVID-19.
Photo by Juan Ignacio Escobar Tosi on Unsplash
Interestingly, I first wrote about telemedicine in 2015 for the Chicago Tribune as part of a larger article addressing solutions to physician shortages. What seemed like a distance future now is very much our new reality.
Just because your visit won’t be in person, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come prepared. Here are thePause’s top five tips for getting the most out of telehealthcare:
Make a list of the issues you want to address.
Ask yourself: “Why do I need to see the doctor today? What is my biggest priority?”
Keep track of when your symptoms began and any changes since. Knowing when they started and what makes them better or worse is helpful for your doctor to know.
Photos can help. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to dress up.) When it comes to conditions such as bites, rashes, moles and so on, a picture can tell a thousand words.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t neglect your health or wait until it is threatened to reach out to your doctor. Even in a pandemic, you should take care of your health.
Simply put, if you need to see a doctor, schedule a visit today.
“In short order hospitals went from a very few telemedicine visits to several thousand because insurance companies, during this crisis are willing to pay for the visit. Telemedicine is here to stay as long as insurance keeps paying for it.”
— Woman’s health expert, Dr. Nieca Goldberg, Goldberg Pioneer Cardiologist and Medical Director of NYU Women’s Heart Program and Senior Advisor, Women’s Health Strategy, NYU Langone Health
One More Thing…
Not sure of what to wear on your next conference call? Vogue has you covered…
… because of course, they do.
Until next week, stay well. Stay healthy. Stay safe.
See you next time!
In time the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble
They’re only made of clay, But our love is here to stay…
— Love Is Here to Stay, George and Ira Gershwin
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