Amid continuing changes in the healthcare industry, it seems like uncertainty has played a large role in medical provider dissatisfaction with treatment options. Helping people, curing disease, and preventing sickness (reasons why individuals enter the medical profession in the first place) have become ridden with escalating costs and involvement with insurance companies. Although change is always necessary for growth and development in any field, it would be nice if some healthcare concepts would stay the same. Telehealth is simply an innovative way to maintain quality care, patient satisfaction, and provider fulfillment.
Here are a few frequently asked questions that medical providers may have when deciding whether or not to become involved:
I don’t want to compete with other providers for patients
This depends on which company you choose to become involved with. The bad news is that some telemedicine companies force providers to be tethered to their computers and hit the “refresh” button, waiting to pick up the first patient that enters the waiting room. The good news? Other companies, like MeMD, have implemented care coordination and call priority systems, so that providers aren’t waiting around for patients and competing with other providers. Make sure to do your research!
I’m concerned about the confidentiality of my consultations
This is a valid concern with all the uncertainties surrounding Internet privacy. However, E-health visits are fully HIPAA-compliant; no one has access to the consultation except the provider and the patient.
I’m not good with technology
Practice makes perfect! And you won’t need too much practice. The format of conducting consultations online has been completely streamlined to flow easily and intuitively. Before seeing your first patient, make sure you feel comfortable with the system so that you can focus all of your attention on the patient visit. If you encounter problems, most companies offer troubleshooting services that can assist you.
Don’t patients often use telehealth companies to “shop” for providers?
Yes- be sure to check the treatment and prescription policies before committing to a telehealth company. For example, MeMD prohibits providers from prescribing controlled substances, narcotics, or any medications for “lifestyle” conditions. The patient agrees to these policies before they are connected with a provider, saving everyone time, and ensuring safe, quality care.
What’s the difference between telemedicine and online pharmacies?
An online pharmacy’s purpose is to provide a convenient way for patients to refill their prescriptions. They operate by sending medications using mail or shipping companies. Telemedicine, on the other hand, isn’t solely about obtaining a prescription- its about having a conversation, receiving advice and medical attention, and, when necessary, having a prescription transmitted to a pharmacy.
Overall, the benefits of E-healthcare are numerous, but make sure to adequately research and ask questions!