Imagine waking up feeling achy, fatigued, and congested. You check your temperature, and it’s confirmed: You have a fever - possibly the flu. So which is it?
The good news is you don’t have to get out of bed and travel to see a doctor to figure it out.
Today we have through our site telemedicine, which connects you with medical professionals by phone or online. And it’s no secret that a fever or the flu is nothing to ignore, so an online doctor can give you a diagnosis and treatment through telemedicine.
Simply put: Telemedicine connects patients with medical professionals in real time by phone or online. Thanks to telemedicine, medical professionals can now evaluate, diagnose and treat patients using technology like video conferencing and smartphones - all without the need for an in-person visit. But it’s important to note that telemedicine is used for non-emergency health situations.
Most telemedicine companies, like our partner Teladoc, require you to set up a quick account and provide your medical history before agreeing to treat you. Think of it like a standard doctor visit as a new patient: Expect questions like, “What are your symptoms?” “What’s your family medical history?” or “List the medications you’re currently taking.”
Note, telemedicine companies are required to use HIPAA compliant software to certify that your personal health history is protected.
Once you’ve set up an account and filled in your medical history, scheduling an appointment is as easy as opening an app from your smartphone, and once confirmed, entering into a video or FaceTime conversation with the doctor. Within minutes, the doctor can diagnose your medical issue, develop a treatment plan, and prescribe any necessary medication.
Virtual doctors can treat nearly any non-emergency illness such as:
The cost to receive telemedicine services will vary depending on your health insurance plan and the reason for your visit.
As an example, here are certain medical visit costs for an individual living in the Chicago area and staying in-network:
And here are average provider costs across the nation:
It’s important to note that telemedicine is not insurance, though. Instead, it’s a way to provide you with virtual healthcare services 24/7.
The doctors who treat you are board-certified doctors who live in the United States and are licensed to practice in your state. The doctors go through rigorous training and credentialing, so you’ll always get expert advice on your non-emergency medical condition.
You should not use telemedicine if you’re experiencing a medical emergency. Always call 911.
Yes, telemedicine doctors can write prescriptions for many conditions like sinus infections, colds, allergies, some STDs and more.
It’s important to know that telemedicine providers reserve the right not to prescribe medications, including DEA controlled substances. While telemedicine is a convenient way to get care, it should not replace your primary care physician.
Like your primary care physician, telemedicine companies have to comply with all relevant state, national, and international regulations, including the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Unless permitted or required by law, your medical information will not be shared without your consent.
We've put together a handy checklist to help you prepare for your first visit.
Review your health insurance plan to find out if you have access to telemedicine services and providers.
And be sure to check out what Teladoc patients are saying about telemedicine.