The Pros and Cons of Telemedicine

As technology continues to evolve and make our lives easier and more convenient, we keep getting more and more things right at our fingertips. The latest trend in technology and healthcare brings the doctor’s office to you via video, email, and smartphones. This electronic exchange of health information from on site to another – telemedicine – can help diagnose and treat basic medical conditions that previously required doctor’s visits. Telemedicine’s virtual visits are quick and easy to use, but may not always be best depending on the severity of your illness, so we’ll take a deeper look at the pros and cons of telemedicine:

Telemedicine Benefits

Inexpensive: You can add on telemedicine services for as low as $2.00 per employee. Some insurance policies include telemedicine visits with $0 copay, making it the perfect solution for rising healthcare costs for employees.

Time Savings: The technology-based communication allows a doctor and patient to communicate without being in the same physical space, eliminating the need to physical travel to a doctor’s office. Wait times are also reduced from 30 minutes to an hour to just minutes, with no time spent in a waiting room. Employees can access this quickly and easily without missing big chunks of work.

Easy to Use: You can access telemedicine anywhere you are, on-demand. This works well for common ailments including allergies, cold/flu symptoms, bronchitis, sinus infections, sore threats, and many more illnesses. Most of the time a doctor can assess your symptoms and provide antibiotics if needed, or refer to to a specialist if need be.

Privacy: Your information will still receive the same level of privacy as if you were to attend a doctor’s office in person. Telemedicine systems abide by all HIPAA guidelines.

Telemedicine Cons

Limitations Exist: While telemedicine is great for more common ailments, there are still times where seeing a doctor in person can prove to be more beneficial. Routine physical exams are a prime example of this, where establishing a good relationship with your doctor has proven to be very effective. Another example is if further testing is required, like a swab for strep throat.

Not all Doctors Use Telemedicine: Many people have an established relationship with a doctor they trust. Using the telemedicine services limits your options and it is unlikely you will be able to speak with a doctor you know. While good doctors do use telemedicine services, the limited availability of choices may make consumers skeptical.

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