A couple of years ago, I sat down for an interview with Kristen Farley from WATE to give my opinion on telemedicine. This was just before telemedicine had become popular and I had yet to actually try it. She asked me, “If it were available, would you use it? What would you use it for? How could this benefit all mothers?” I fully embrace the changes offered by the tech world and modern medical science. I’m a millennial! — of course I’d like to FaceTime the doctor instead of driving to their office!
In simple terms, telemedicine is the concept of using telecommunications (smartphone, webcam, email, FaceTime) to see and be treated by a professional for healthcare.
I understand this sounds strange initially. However, after two years of using telemedicine services for my entire family, I’m here to tell you from first-hand experience that IT’S AMAZING.
1. I don’t have to go anywhere.
I can sit in my bedroom, in my bathrobe and talk to a doctor. I don’t need to load the kids up and take them somewhere because it’s all on my phone. I’m also not risking exposing my children to other things in waiting rooms, in doctor’s offices, etc.
2. It’s fast.
The process goes like this: Call the number and they take your information and ask your medical history (this is in your chart which you can set up on the first visit or in advance). They tell you a doctor will call you in a few hours. (I have never had to wait that long! A doctor has always called me within 15-30 minutes.) The doctor calls via your preferred method (FaceTime or phone), and speaks with you in detail about any concerns. A prescription is called in immediately (if one is necessary). Boom. It’s that easy.
3. There’s no co-pay.
I can’t speak for everyone because insurance is a big variable, but if this service is offered through your workplace insurance, ask if co-pays are covered. We have spent hundreds in co-pays per child only to be told, “Looks and sounds like your child has a cold. Seems viral.” You know what’s GREAT? Calling from your bed and being told the same thing.
4. They offer counseling, psychiatry, and more along with standard healthcare.
I have some friends using the counseling services and they really love it. When you’re looking for providers, make sure to ask about these extras.
Of course, telemedicine is not for everything. My son broke his arm a few months ago and we went straight to the ER. However, they can diagnose things like strep, UTIs, nausea, flu, pink eye, and more. They always call to check on me or my children the next day to ensure we got our prescription and ask if we are feeling better because if not, it’s time to see a doctor in person. The two services I have tried are MDLIVE and MYidealDoctor and I loved them both! There were many nights when Dr. Markel (a pediatrician from Colorado) would reassure me and walk me through the procedure on my child’s fever, when to treat, and what to watch for. That in it of itself is priceless.