What is Telehealth?
Telehealth, which is also called telemedicine, is a way for you to see your provider without having to leave your home. Your provider can care for you with internet access and your computer, smartphone, or tablet. This reduces barriers you might have to get needed health care, including transportation issues or weather.
Telehealth can provide you with a variety of specialized care and is an especially helpful way to monitor and improve ongoing health issues such as medication changes or chronic health conditions.
Your medical provider will decide with you if telehealth is right for your health care needs.
With Telehealth, you can:
- Talk to your doctor live over the phone or video chat.
- Send and receive messages from your doctor using secure messaging, email, secure messaging, and secure file exchange.
- Use remote monitoring so your doctor can check on you at home. For example, you might use a device to gather vital signs or other measurements to help your doctor stay informed on your progress toward your healthcare goals.
There are many options to access telehealth if you don’t have a stable internet connection or a device connected to the internet. Read more about how to get help with access to telehealth.
Care you can get with telehealth
- Mental health treatment, including online therapy, counseling, and medication management
- Recurring conditions like migraines or urinary tract infections
- Skin conditions
- Prescription management
- Minor urgent care issues like colds, coughs, and stomach aches
- Physical therapy and occupational therapy
Your doctor may also ask you to send information that will help improve your health:
- Your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, or vital information
- Images of a wound, eye, or skin condition
- A diary or document of your symptoms
- Medical records that may be filed with another doctor, such as X-rays
Doctors can send you information to manage your health at home:
- Notifications or reminders to do rehabilitation exercises or take medication
- New suggestions for improving diet, mobility, or stress management
- Detailed instructions on how to continue your care at home
- Encouragement to stick with your treatment plan
Benefits of telehealth
Though in-person office visits may be necessary in certain cases, there are many benefits of telehealth care.
- Limited physical contact reduces everyone’s exposure to COVID-19
- Virtual visits ensure you get health care wherever you are located – at home, at work, or even in your car
- Virtual visits cut down on travel, time off from work, and the need for childcare
- Virtual health care tools can shorten the wait for an appointment
- Increased access to specialists who are located far away from your hometown
Telehealth is not a perfect fit for everyone or every medical condition. Make sure you discuss any disadvantages or risks with your doctor.