Are you familiar with telehealth yet? Many of us still recall the days when physicians still made house calls. But in the latter half of the 20th Century, the ease and low cost of transportation, along with patient demands on a doctor’s time to see as many patients as possible, transformed healthcare into a service that was delivered in offices and hospitals rather than living rooms.

Today, with access to affordable, secure technologies, more people can experience the advantages of the house call again through telemedicine and remote patient monitoring (RPM).

If you have not experienced telemedicine or telehealth practices yet, here are 7 benefits that may compel you to contact your health care provider to see what options they offer.

1 – It’s easy. If you have a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer with a camera, you have what you need to interact with a medical professional via the internet. You may need to download an app or create a login for a secure web connection prior to a telemedicine meeting, but you probably already have the technology you need to connect to a medical professional.

2  – It happens in your home. Who wants to leave the house when they are feeling bad? Arranging transportation for an appointment can add a lot of stress when you aren’t at your best. Telemedicine assures that you get medical attention without having to take off your comfy slippers. Whether you have a head cold or are managing a chronic condition, having the opportunity to see someone in your own space is comfort.

3 – Telemedicine visits are very familiar. The medical professional focuses on you and your care, asks questions, listens to your answers, makes observations, determines a diagnosis, and then recommends a course of treatment. The physician will also determine appropriate medication for you.

4 – You can feel safe. So can the doctor. Many patients have concerns about going out and feel some extra anxiety around health care environments. Rather than putting off important check-ups and evaluations for your medications, consider telemedicine options that may be completed at home, depending on your individual conditions. Healthcare pros also appreciate working in a safe, efficient environment.

5 – Medicare Part B covers certain telehealth services. For example, in some cases, billing is very similar to an in-person doctor visit. Check out the information on https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/telehealth.

6 – Your time is valuable. Even if you are retired, your day is probably full of projects and commitments. A telemedicine appointment at home saves you the time spent in transit to the doctor’s office and waiting outside for your turn.

7 – There is more to telehealth than medical appointments. Remote patient monitoring of serious conditions like high blood pressure is now possible and very effective as a way of reducing hypertension risk. BlueStar TeleHealth (https://bluestartelehealth.com/) is one such hypertension solution. Imagine using a wireless blood pressure cuff and tablet that sends daily readings to a team of health experts (along with your doctor and even your loved ones, if you like) to track your numbers, identify concerns and make adjustments to your medication and wellness efforts. In some states, remote patient monitoring of blood pressure is even covered by original Medicare. You can find out more about remote patient monitoring here (https://bluestartelehealth.com/remote-patient-monitoring/ )

Healthcare is constantly evolving and bringing new tools, practices, and solutions to address the needs of patients. Telemedicine is just the latest, but perhaps one of the most exciting advancements. If you would like to learn more about telehealth and remote patient monitoring, here is a collection of relevant links mentioned in the article as well as some other resources and articles you might enjoy:

Helpful sites:

Telehealth at Medicare.gov – https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/telehealth

What is Telemedicine –  https://www.goodrx.com/blog/what-is-telemedicine/

Telemedicine or in person? The pros and cons of doctor visit options during the COVID-19 pandemic                    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/telemedicine-or-in-person-the-pros-and-cons-of-doctor-visit-options-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

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