What is the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?
The terms “telemedicine” and “telehealth” are now used interchangeably. However, there is a marked difference between the two.
Telemedicine is a specific term used to denote the provision of health care services remotely. This can be facilitated through any two-way means of communication – audio calls, video conferencing, emails, fax, and instant messaging via smartphones, laptops, and any wireless devices.
Telehealth, on the other hand, is much broader in its definition – “telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing over the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.
Telehealth is different from telemedicine because it refers to a broader scope of remote healthcare services than telemedicine. While telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, telehealth can refer to remote non-direct patient care services, such as provider training, administrative meetings, and continuing medical education, in addition to clinical services.
How will I benefit from adopting telemedicine?
Patients and medical care providers have found tremendous benefits and value in the adoption of telemedicine: healthcare can be faster, easier, and more affordable. Telemedicine removes several barriers to healthcare, opens up channels of communication and helps patients manage their appointments and follow prescribed instructions and prescriptions from their doctor(s).
Here are some of the benefits of telemedicine cited by both patients and the teledoctors:
Top benefits cited by patients:
- Easy, on-demand medical care from anywhere and at any time with huge savings in terms of time and costs
- Offers several on-demand options for doctor-patient interaction
- Easier access to specialists and referring physicians in different locations
- Less time in waiting rooms
- Increased timeliness of care
- Reduced cost of healthcare with self-pay and insurance coverage options
- Less chance of contracting a new illness or hospital pathogens
Top benefits cited by doctors:
- Improved patient engagement with remote monitoring
- Easier access to health records
- Easier to expand reach to patients in remote regions
- Improved efficiencies in clinical workflows
- Cuts down on no-shows, saving time and cost
- Reduces overhead costs of physical practices
- Enables doctors to establish online care platforms
What should I make note of before I opt for a telemedicine visit?
Telemedicine is similar to an in-person physician visit, except instead of driving all the way to the hospital, clinic, or urgent care center (and waiting your turn), you interact with the physician via video conferencing from your home, office, or on vacation.
To enable a seamless telemedicine visit, ensure that you follow these steps:
- Check that you have a high-speed internet connection and video access via a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or computer.
- Check you have downloaded the app provided by the physician (allows physician to capture additional clinical data to make a more evidence-based diagnosis).
- Ensure your connection is secure.
- Schedule an online telemedicine appointment and sign up for reminders.
- Keep your medical records and history ready along with a list of your symptoms.
- Keep your list of questions ready for your doctor.
- If possible, keep a note of your vital signs ahead of the appointment. This not only assists the physician in reaching an accurate evaluation but also saves time.
- Find out about the policies regarding bill payment beforehand – insurance coverage, co-pay, or self-pay.
- Finalize the next steps – review the treatment plan, schedule follow-up visits or referrals to specialists or in-person visits.
How is telemedicine used in urgent care clinic visits?
With telemedicine being a great healthcare option to support sound decision making, remote assistance, and making collaborative arrangements for medical care, urgent care centers, like Integra Urgent Care, can be very useful in various health care scenarios:
- Remote care of adults/children when they are sick
- Care for the elderly living in assisted homes
- Remote follow-up visits
- Weekend teleconsultations
- Care management for patients with long-term illnesses or chronic conditions
- Post-operative or hospitalization care
- Access to specialists regardless of geographical locations
- Mental health services
- Lifestyle support
What is a telemedicine visit like at Integra Urgent Care?
At Integra Urgent Care, we are committed to delivering high-quality healthcare through in-person or telemedicine consultations. Telemedicine is a great way for the doctor to interact and evaluate your condition before looking at a further course of treatment. Video visits are also great for follow-up visits and to review test result(s) with your healthcare provider.
You can schedule virtual visits with our physicians 7 days a week from 9 am to 8 pm online at www.integrauc.com or call us at (469) 340-1710. Once we receive your information, we will contact you to confirm the time and login details, along with sending reminder messages prior to the actual time of your appointment.