Telemedicine: What Happens During a Virtual Visit with a Doctor?
Sometimes it’s nice to have a heads-up about how to use a new-to-you service a typical telemedicine visit, focuses on diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of health concerns using an app, video call or telephone. So, here’s what happens during a telemedicine visit.You’ve never used telemedicine, and you’re a little intimidated by it. What happens during a virtual visit to the doctor, and what do you need to know before you request a consultation?
First off, visiting a doctor using a video app or via your phone doesn’t require any sort of user guide or instructions. You could stop reading right now, go to a telemedicine provider’s website (whichever one is covered by your insurance or telemedicine plan ) place a request for a consultation, and simply figure it out as you go along. It’s that easy. Here’s what happens during a telemedicine visit.
Your Medical Records
Any doctor who is treating you will want to review your medical records. Rather than handing you a clipboard with sheets of paper that you need to fill out, telemedicine services typically ask you to fill in a medical record when you first sign up for the service.
Filling in your medical records is simple. You’ll be asked a few questions about your and your family’s medical history, any medical conditions you have now, the medications you take, and any allergies that you may have. You can fill in forms for your children, but each adult must fill in their own form, to protect the privacy of your medical information.
Telemedicine providers are legally obligated to keep your medical records private. They are required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which requires proper security for patient’s medical records and struct confidentiality about the information you share and the treatments/advice that you receive.
What to Expect During the Consultation?
When you request a telemedicine consultation with a doctor, you may be asked to select the type of medical care you need – a general practice doctor, a pediatrician, a dermatologist, a counselor… etc. You may be asked to provide a little information about your current concern.
Your doctor will then call you back, either by video chat app or the phone, in minutes. If you have your phone set to block unknown calls you need to make sure to turn off that setting so the doctor can reach you.
Once you’ve connected with your doctor, you’ll be asked to describe your symptoms or concern in more detail. If you have visible symptoms, such as a rash or swelling, you can show them to the doctor via video or take pictures and upload them via the telemedicine app or website. The doctor will probably ask if you (or the patient) has a fever, is nauseous, or has other symptoms. After a diagnosis is reached, you will be given treatment advice. If the doctor decides that you need a prescription for certain types of medicine, he or she will call it in to a local pharmacy.
If you’re calling for a dependent, such as your child, you can speak to the doctor on their behalf. Adults need to consult with the doctor directly, to ensure compliance with HIPPA rules. You may be able to designate someone to communicate with the doctor if you are an adult and can’t or don’t want to speak directly to the doctor.
At the end of the call, your doctor will ask if you want your personal physician to be informed of the consultation. If you don’t have your own doctor, or are unable to visit your doctor (say, if you’re travelling), you may be given follow-up instructions.
And that’s it –you call, you discuss, you get the care you need.
How Much Does Telemedicine Cost?
If you’re covered by insurance, you may have a co-pay of about $50 for the consultation. If you’re not covered, expect to pay about $55-75 for a consultation. This varies according to your insurance plan and the telemedicine service you choose.
Members of specific discount telemedicine plans )such as DP HealthNow, DP CompleteCare and DP SmartHealth get free, unlimited telemedicine consultations as part of their benefits bundle. These plans are not insurance, they are savings plans that help reduce the cost of healthcare. To find out more about how to get no-cost telemedicine consultations, visit dentalplans.com ).