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What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the practice of using telecommunications technology to provide clinical treatment to patients at a distance. To put it another way, it's a method of treating patients via the internet and phone. Real-time video visitation, secure email, and remote monitoring of a patient's vital signs are all examples of this.
Are telemedicine and telehealth the same thing?
Although the terms telemedicine and telehealth are frequently used interchangeably, telemedicine is a subset of telehealth. Non-clinical uses of telecommunications technology, such as self-monitoring, provider and patient education, and medical records administration, are included in telehealth.
Will insurance pay for video visits in Montana?
Yes! Most health insurance companies not only pay for telehealth services, but they also often encourage customers to use them. Most Americans can now receive healthcare through telehealth services very affordably – and without congregating in a medical office during this era of social distancing – thanks to recent congressional expansions of reimbursements for various telehealth services for people on Medicare. As a result, most Americans can now receive healthcare through telehealth services very affordably – and without congregating in a medical office during this era of social distancing.
How much do telemed visits in Montana cost without insurance?
Cost will depend on several factors, such as the condition, your insurance, and the provider you are seeing, but on average video visits cost $75-80 for a typical 15 minute visit. If you require additional services or the prescription of medication, your cost may increase.
Is telemed available to new patients, or do they need to be established with the provider?
According to the American Medical Association, all 50 states, including Montana, allow patients and doctors to establish a telemedicine relationship. However, depending on the patient connection, each state's medical board regulates the specific sorts of telemedicine that a physician can engage in. Some states, for example, prohibit doctors from using telemedicine to diagnose or treat new illnesses, even with established patients. Other states provide doctors a lot of latitude in how they employ telehealth services with new and existing patients. Based on your existing relationship with your provider, you should check with his or her office to see if you're eligible to use telehealth services.
Do Medicare and Medicaid cover telemed visits?
- Medicare: Telemedicine is covered by Medicare in some instances, and with some restrictions. Physician services cover some telehealth services, such as remote radiography, pathology, and some cardiology. Beneficiaries in rural regions are covered for video visits, but they must be conducted at a designated originating site.
- Medicaid: Although most state Medicaid plans cover various types of telehealth services, each has its own set of restrictions and standards. We recommend looking at the state-specific information on www.atawiki.org and the American Telemedicine Association's 50 State Telemedicine Gaps Analysis: Coverage and Reimbursement.
Is telemedicine private and secure?
Yes, but only if it's done on a secure platform like Solv, which was created specifically for the purpose of hosting secure video visits between patients and providers. Facetime and Skype, for example, are not safe enough for video visits.
Is the quality of care the same as an in-person visit?
Decades of study and demonstrations back up the effectiveness of telemedicine as a way of healthcare delivery. Telemedicine has been proven to be a safe, cost-effective, and convenient method of delivering healthcare.
What kinds of symptoms or issues might telehealth help with?
Telemedicine, in particular video visits, can be used to diagnose and treat a surprising number of illnesses. You can start with a telemedicine visit and then be referred to other medical services if necessary. The following are just a few of the conditions that telehealth services can assess and treat anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns, colds, flu and allergies, diabetes and other chronic conditions, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, skin rashes, burns, insect bites, scrapes, cuts, and abrasions, and infections, including conjunctivitis (pink eye), sinus infections, and urinary tract infection (UTI) or bladder infection.
Additional tests may be ordered by your physician in some situations (urinalysis for suspected UTI, for example, or X-rays for a suspected broken bone). During the telehealth session, they may be able to make an immediate diagnosis and prescribe prescriptions such as antibiotics.
Telehealth services should never be used in the event of a suspected medical emergency. Always dial 911 for immediate medical assistance if you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, difficulty breathing, head injuries, loss of consciousness, or other life-threatening situations.
Can you get a prescription after a telemedicine visit?
Yes, but with restrictions. There's no reason why a doctor or other healthcare provider couldn't send a prescription to your pharmacist following a telemedicine visit because most medications are sent electronically from the provider to the pharmacy. However, some providers may be hesitant to prescribe certain medications, or even lab tests, from only a video visit and may require an in-person visit additional consultation.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth visits swiftly became a mainstay of healthcare. Rather than traveling to the doctor or hospital, providers were advising patients with non-life threatening conditions to use telehealth as a first option for discussing suspected concerns. Now, telehealth video visits are much more commonplace, facilitated by all kinds of providers to supplement in-person care visits.
While there are limitations to a telehealth visit, virtual visits remain great options for treating anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns, colds, flu and allergies, diabetes and other chronic conditions, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, skin rashes, burns, insect bites, scrapes, cuts, and abrasions, and infections, including conjunctivitis (pink eye), sinus infections, and urinary tract infection (UTI) or bladder infection, as well as thousands of other minor ailments. And if you still require an in-person consultation, most providers are still able to treat you locally.
There are several measures you can do to prepare for your telehealth appointment and to assist the clinician in evaluating your condition:
- Make a full list of your current symptoms and concerns, when they first presented, and how severe they are.
- Prepare a list of any chronic conditions you may have, as well as a list of medications you are presently taking.
- Keep track of things like your temperature and blood pressure, as applicable to assist the provider in diagnosis.
- If you are requested to go to an emergency room or clinic, make sure you know where the nearest one is located.
As part of your planning, make sure your technology is up to date:
- Are you going to use your phone, tablet or computer for the visit?
- Is the device fully charged or plugged in?
- Do you have a reliable internet connection?
- Make sure you have a comfortable place to sit for the visit and that your camera gives a clear view of you for the provider.
- Have paper and a pen ready to take notes during the call.
During the call:
- Make sure the provider can hear you by speaking properly. Check to see whether they can see you via the lens of your camera.
- Give personal information about yourself or a member of your family. Give identifying information about yourself or your family member.
- Present your symptoms as plainly as possible, and answer the provider's inquiries as succinctly as feasible.
- Make a list of the provider's suggestions and follow up with questions if anything is unclear.
In general, a virtual visit is similar to going to the doctor's office, but in these odd times, more careful planning is necessary. Depending on your patient portal, you may or may not receive notes from your call. Check your provider's site following the call to see if there are any recommendations.
- A1C Test
- Allergy Testing
- Annual Wellness Exam
- Basic Metabolic Panel
- Blood Test
- CMP Test
- COVID-19 Antibody Test
- COVID-19 Pill
- COVID-19 Testing
- COVID-19 Vaccine
- Chickenpox Vaccine
- Chlamydia Test
- Cholesterol Test
- DNA Test
- DOT Exam
- Diabetes Test
- Diagnostic Test
- Drug Test
- Ear Wax Removal
In Good Health
Tips, advice, news—your resource to stay healthy and safe while improving your experience with healthcare providers when you need them.
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