A majority of patients are now interested in doing telehealth visits. Alaska Sleep Clinic has been offering TELEMEDICINE for our Alaskan patients for years now, making us the sleep lab with the most telehealth experience in the state.
The trick is getting you engaged and informed about how to do telehealth visits. How do you address their telemedicine questions and anticipate any potential hesitations?
Once patients have their initial telemedicine questions answered, their next question is usually "how do I sign up?"
With this in mind, we've gathered together common patient questions we hear about telemedicine, along with quick answers to give you a starting point as you're communicating with your patients. Note that the answers will vary depending on your use case and the telehealth platform you're using!
What do "telehealth" and "telemedicine" mean?
Telehealth and telemedicine both describe a way to deliver and get healthcare using telecommunications technology (phone, computer). If you hear that your doctor is offering "live telehealth visits," it means you can now video chat your doctor online!
What equipment do I need to do a telehealth visit?
At minimum, most patients will need a computer or mobile device with an integrated camera and microphone. If your device doesn't have a built-in microphone or webcam, you'll need to get those. You also need a decent internet connection that allows you to stream video.
Will it work with WIFI?
Yes! As long as your wireless connection is strong enough. Your internet speeds should be at least 15mbps for uploads and 5mbps for downloads. You can check your internet speed by going to speedtest.net and clicking "Begin test."
I'm not very tech-savvy. Is telehealth right for me?
We've had patients of all ages (and well into their 90's!) use our telehealth platform successfully. Have you ever used Skype or Facetime? Doing a virtual doctor's visit can be just as simple.
What should I do if I have a technical issue?
If you're an e-Visit user, you can simply contact our e-Visit support team if you have any issues. We also include a quick equipment test when you enroll to make sure your sound, video etc. is working, and lower the possibility of technical glitches.
What conditions can I get treated for via telehealth?
Telehealth is currently being used to treat conditions across many different specialties. Here are just a few examples: Rashes, flu, sinus infections, UTI, migraines, acne, mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, post-op check-ins, lab result reviews, contraceptive counseling, prescription refills, and much more. Check with you doctor to see what conditions they treat via telehealth.
How can the doctor diagnose me without actually doing a physical exam?
Your doctor actually doesn’t need to do a physical exam to diagnose and treat many conditions. That’s because knowing your medical history is considered “90% of the evaluation” when combined with the doctor-patient interaction. How you’re feeling can be just as important to your doctor as the results of a physical exam. Plus, being able to see you and view any picture uploads on the e-Visit platform gives your doctor the additional visual information needed to make a diagnosis.
When can I do virtual visits with my doctor?
Check with your doctor about the specific hours they'll be offering virtual visits. They might be offering on-demand visits during certain time blocks or scheduling out your virtual visit the same way as an in-person appointment.
Will I be seeing my own doctor or someone I don't know?
This all depends on the practice you're doing a telehealth visit with. If you're doing a virtual visit with an urgent care center, chances are you'll be seeing a new doctor.
But if you're doing a telehealth visit at a practice where you're an established patient, you'll likely be seeing your own doctor. Many practices treat telehealth visits the same as a normal in-person visit with your own doctor - except online!
Can I get a prescription filled from the visit?
Yes! As long as your diagnosis doesn't require further in-person examination, your doctor can simply electronically prescribe your medication and send it directly to the nearest pharmacy of your choice.
Will my insurance cover the visit?
All of the Big Five insurance carriers (Aetna, BCBS, United Healthcare, Cigna, Humana) offer some sort of coverage for telehealth visits. No face-to-face visit is required by Medicare, Medicaid, TriWest and VA. However, you should always call your insurance and verify what your individual policy covers.
At Alaska Sleep Clinic, our philosophy centers on treating every patient with compassion, understanding and personal attention. We know how important a good night’s sleep is to a person’s health and quality of life, that’s why diagnosing and treating sleep disorders is our primary focus. Call us today with any questions or concerns you may have.
Our employees are available to you Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and after-hours and on weekends by APPOINTMENT ONLY.