Virtual Health Care: What Older Adults Can Expect

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Photo credit: Depositphotos

By Dr. Ranjit Singh, Senior Vice President of Medical Operations, MedExpress

While many health care visits are taking place in person, in light of COVID-19, some are being conducted virtually via telehealth, which can raise some questions or be intimidating for older adults who haven’t had a telehealth visit before.

Telehealth visits are an important health care tool that provide personalized care in a convenient environment – wherever you are. That’s why since March 2020, nearly 40,000 patients across 16 states have received a virtual visit from MedExpress, one of the nation’s largest urgent care providers. Here are some tips and insights on how to best prepare for a telehealth visit.

1.      You’ll enjoy convenience and quality

Seeing a medical provider via a telehealth visit is convenient, which can be especially helpful for patients with underlying conditions who may not feel comfortable seeing a provider in person. Many telehealth providers offer same-day or next-day appointments, allowing you to care for your medical needs as they arise. While your telehealth provider may not be face-to-face, they will still listen to your concerns and promptly provide care, just like during a regular in-person appointment. To make the most of your time, create a list of questions prior to the visit – that way, you’re prepped and ready to get the answers you need.

2.      Experience comprehensive treatment

Telehealth visits are more than just a convenient form of care – they’re also comprehensive. In addition to treating a wide variety of illnesses and ailments, including cold and flu symptoms, pink eye and allergies, many telehealth providers can offer further treatment and resources to eligible patients. Some telehealth providers are able to prescribe common medications if they’re necessary, refer you to a nearby center if further treatment is advised and can even perform COVID-19 symptom screenings to determine if you’re eligible for testing. Each of these important capabilities allow you to receive the care you need, when you need it.

3.      Prepare before your appointment

Before you schedule a telehealth appointment, you’ll need to have a smartphone, tablet or laptop that’s equipped with a camera, a good internet connection and a quiet, well-lit environment. These will help make sure your video call is clear and uninterrupted. If you’re using a phone or tablet, you may find it’s helpful to prop it against a book, wall, or other surface: keeping your device in the same place during the call ensures the camera is steady and allows you to move around during the call without affecting the provider’s view. Hard of hearing? Try plugging headphones into your device, which should help make the sound louder.

4.      Know your information is secure

In such a fast-paced digital age, many people are concerned about the security of their Protected Health Information (PHI). To ensure that our patients’ health information is safe, most telehealth providers use secure video platforms. The leading platforms offer an encrypted service built specifically to meet Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. This means that your sensitive health information, including what you disclose to your physician during the visit, is protected and known only to you and your provider.

Whether you’re feeling a little under the weather or have a rash that needs checked out, consider using telehealth as a timely, convenient way to get the care you need – without ever needing to walk out the door. 

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