What is Telehealth?
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have heard a lot about telehealth and how it has helped individuals continue to receive care without leaving their homes. Telehealth — sometimes called telemedicine — is the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to provide care when you and the doctor are not in the same place at the same time. If you have a phone or a device with internet access, you already have everything you need to get medical care or services through telehealth.
What Kind of Care Can I Receive with Telehealth?
You might be surprised by the variety of care you can get through telehealth. Services like medication management and online counseling are particularly suited to telehealth as consistent and regular visits improve outcomes. Your doctor will decide whether telehealth is right for your health needs.
If you need care — especially during COVID-19 — it is worth checking to see what your telehealth options are.
For example, you may meet with a doctor in real-time to discuss:
- Lab test or x-ray results
- Therapy and online counseling
- Recurring conditions like migraines or urinary tract infections
- Skin conditions
- Prescription management
- Urgent care issues like colds, coughs, and stomach complaints
Doctors may ask you to:
- Send blood pressure, blood sugar, or other condition monitoring information
- Document symptoms
- Request medical records sent to another doctor (x-rays to a physical therapist for example)
Doctors can send information to you like:
- Notifications to remind you to do rehabilitation exercises or take a critical medication
- Encouragement to stick with your treatment plan
- New suggestions for improving diet, mobility, or stress management
- Detailed instructions on how to continue your care at home
What are the Benefits of Telehealth?
Although virtual visits may not be as common as traditional in person doctor’s appointments, there are many benefits that explain why this type of care is growing in popularity.
- Limiting physical contact reduces everyone’s exposure to COVID-19
- Visiting virtually can address health issues wherever patients are, even from the comfort of home
- Staying put cuts down on commuting, travel in bad weather, time off from work, need for childcare
- Using virtual health care tools can shorten wait times to see a provider and expand the range of access to specialists who live further away
Telehealth is not a perfect fit for everyone or every medical condition. Make sure you discuss any disadvantages or risks with your doctor.
GrowWell Telehealth Network
Henry County Medical Center has partnered with other partner sites in West Tennessee to create the GrowWell Telehealth Network. The aim of this Network is to increase access to healthcare and other health specialists through the use of telehealth. This Network is funded through a grant received by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in July of 2020. Be on the lookout for new updates and participating partners as the GrowWell Telehealth Network expands.