September 16, 2014
By Tom Canty, Vice President and General Manager, Empire BlueCross BlueShield Government, Labor and Special Accounts
These days, smart phones, tablets and computers can do more than connect us with long-lost friends or clarify the details of a grocery list as our spouse wanders the supermarket aisle. Families increasingly are turning to these technologies for safe, fast and affordable ways to get a diagnosis and treatment plan for non-emergency conditions.
The trend has been dubbed telehealth, and is allowing families to conveniently and affordably access quality health care through video conversations with board-certified physicians
What many people don’t realize is that one answer to convenience in health care lies right in their pockets or purses — or on the top of their desks.
Here are just a few reasons why families increasingly are turning to telehealth services.
• Access anywhere, anytime: How many times has your child woken up in the dead of night with signs of an ear infection but the pediatrician’s office was closed? How often have you gotten sunburned on vacation and wanted medical advice but didn’t know who to call in the area?
With telehealth apps like LiveHealth Online, getting hold of a doctor is now easier than ever. In fact, you can connect with US-based, board certified primary care doctors within minutes by two-way video chat. Available 24/7, 365 days a year anywhere where telehealth is allowed in the US, it’s as easy as downloading an app on your phone or tablet.
• The power of choice: We pick our friends, we pick our hairdressers — and most of us want to pick our doctors from the choices available to us. Telehealth services let you review the background and patient ratings of doctors where you are so you can select the one that most suits your needs.
Doctors are there to handle acute conditions, exacerbations of chronic conditions, triage, refills and general advice. They can review a patient’s personal history with them, answer questions, diagnose and treat. Also, if medically appropriate and allowed by the state, doctors can send prescriptions directly to a nearby pharmacy.
• Save time and money: Americans are constantly trying to balance busy schedules and are looking for quick, affordable solutions to help manage it all. Telehealth lets you skip long lines at the doctor’s office and call from the comfort and convenience of your own home, with consultations typically lasting just ten minutes. No more worry about picking up additional germs as you sit in the waiting room.