Telemedicine: Commonly Asked Questions from Patients

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25 Apr

Telemedicine: Commonly Asked Questions from Patients


What is telemedicine?

According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), telemedicine is defined as “…the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include video conferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.”

What equipment do I need to do a telemedicine visit?

At minimum, patients will need a computer or mobile device with an integrated camera and microphone. You’ll also need a decent internet or cellular data connection that allows you to stream video.

Does it work with WiFi?

Yes! As long as your connection is strong enough, at least 15mbps for uploads, 5mbps for downloads. Not sure if your connection is strong enough? Visit speedtest.net and click “Begin test”.

I’m not very tech savvy. Will I be able to figure this out?

Patients of all ages and abilities have successfully used the platform. It’s as easy to use as Facetime and Skype.

How can I be diagnosed without a physical exam?

Most conditions do not require a physical exam for diagnosis. Your medical history is key- it’s considered to be 90% of the evaluation when combined with provider-patient interaction.

Will I receive the same level of care?

Yes! Providers are responsible to make sure the standard of care for each telemedicine encounter is the same as if the provider and patient were together.

Is my security and privacy protected?

Yes, as long as you have secured connection. All telemedicine companies/platforms have to comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). Skype and Facetime are not HIPAA compliant and should not be used for telemedicine.

What are some advantages?

Telemedicine is convenient- it does not require taking time off of work, travel, parking, or covering child/elder care needs. If you need specialty care that’s not available in your area or not available in a timely manner, telemedicine can be a great option.

For example, fewer than half the counties in the US have a psychiatrist, and many are approaching retirement age, which means large areas of the country are or will be without psychiatric support, especially at a time when drug abuse is on the rise.

Will my insurance cover the visit?

All big 5 carriers- Aetna, BCBS, United, Cigna, and Humana offer at least some coverage. Verify what your individual policy covers.

Let’s Talk Interactive Inc., an IT healthcare organization with a focus on telehealth services and products works with small and large companies to customize turn-key telehealth solutions. Contact us for more information at hello@letstalkcounseling.com