What are the advantages and disadvantages of telemedicine?

Telemedicine is one of the fastest growing trends in health care.

In an effort to keep costs low and bring care to those who would otherwise be unable to access it, doctors, nurses, mental health practitioners, and physician assistants are turning to technology as patients pay a low fee for a consultation using their smartphone camera. However, this new development in the way people are treated for colds and cuts is not without its disadvantages.

Advantage: More people can be seen without leaving their homes.

New mothers, the elderly or the immune compromised can now be seen without unnecessary exposure to illness in a doctor’s waiting room. In fact, one study published by the Journal of Infection Control and Epidemiology found that people who went to their doctor for a well-visit were more likely to get sick within two weeks of their checkup. By separating those who are sick from those who are seeking preventative medical care, telemedicine gives healthy people an opportunity to stay healthy.

Advantage: Lower health care costs.

Many providers offer telemedicine consultations over video chat at a reduced fee. In these cases, patients are able to see a doctor with minimal out-of-pocket costs. This is ideal for those with high deductible insurance plans who would pay out of pocket for office visits.

Disadvantage: You cannot do diagnostic tests via video conference.

In order to determine the flu is the flu, you need to perform a swab test. To tell if someone has strep throat, you must swab their throat. You cannot see an ankle is broken without an x-ray and you cannot determine if someone is pregnant without blood and urine samples. There are limits to what can be done in telemedicine. However, many providers automatically apply the cost of a telemedicine consultation to the cost of an office visit so patients do not pay for both.

Advantage: Many symptoms can be managed at home.

According to a study published in Mayo Clinic, the majority of office visits are for chronic conditions. The remaining acute conditions are most often skin disorders and upper respiratory infections, conditions that usually can be managed at home. But the last thing anyone wants to do is go to the pharmacy when they’re sick, itchy or blotchy. Fortunately, SpotRx offers home delivery to 85281 and 85282 zip codes of hundreds of over-the-counter medications, many at up to a 60 percent discount. Visit our website to find what you need to manage your symptoms at home.

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