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When Should I Utilize Virtual Visits?

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When Should I Utilize Virtual Visits?

If you live far from a medical office or urgent care, you know the pain of finding time to travel for an appointment. Or maybe you wake up with flu symptoms and don’t have the energy to visit a doctor’s office. Times like these are where telemedicine appointments can be of help. 

Telehealth, or telemedicine, is the practice of health care practitioners and patients using technology — a tablet, computer, or phone — to deliver or receive health care services. It is when doctors treat and diagnose patients remotely. 

With the pandemic-induced pivot to online work, health care also shifted online. Telemedicine is now a primary source of care for many hospitals and clinics, making for easier access to health care — especially non-emergency health care. 

Non-Emergency Care 

Telemedicine is beneficial for non-emergency care. Whether it’s telehealth for a sinus infection or telehealth for the flu, a virtual visit is perfect for illnesses such as these, as they are typically less severe, less urgent, and less symptomatic. Telehealth for an ear infection is another common use. 

Prescribing Medications 

You may be asking, can telehealth providers prescribe medication? The answer is a relieving yes. Prescribing medication is an everyday use for telemedicine services. Typically, patients tell the practitioner their symptoms, and after a quick evaluation, the health care provider can easily prescribe the patient necessary medications. 

The Benefits of Telehealth 

The upsides to virtual health care can be summed up in two words: comfort and convenience. 

It is comfortable. Telemedicine allows patients to receive answers and medications from the comfort of their beds. Say you wake up feeling sick, telehealth means you don’t have to get out of bed to find answers. 

It is more convenient. Virtual visits make it easier for patients to fit their health appointments into their busy schedules. You can receive health care from home, between meetings, or in the car while waiting to pick up your child from school. For college kids, telehealth also means they can continue seeing their primary provider instead of trying to find someone in their new town. 

Telemedicine is also safer. It allows you to stay in the comfort of your home and not worry about picking up another illness on your way to the doctor. Virtual visits mean you can help prevent the spread of diseases such as Covid-19, the flu, and so on. The less exposure, the better. Staying home to receive care virtually helps immensely in preventing the spread of diseases — especially for those who are immunocompromised, have a chronic illness, or are pregnant. 

The quality of care is the same as what you receive in person. Therefore, there’s no need to worry. However, as great as telehealth is, there are still some situations where a physical visit may be necessary.  

Reasons to Schedule an In-Person Appointment  

Telehealth cannot always provide every test or examination you may need. The health care provider can virtually see you on the screen, but they can’t give you a breast exam or draw your blood. Many exams require that hands-on care. In these cases, going into your doctor’s office would be your best choice.  

When Should I Utilize Virtual Visits? 

All the above reasons should help you make this decision. Telemedicine is best for non-emergency care, prescription refills, mental health counseling, and follow-up visits. 

In-person health care is better for more serious concerns and examinations that require in-person tests such as blood tests, X-rays, and more. 

Walk-in Telehealth Services 

Flagler Health+ is bringing more to the health care equation by offering virtual appointments in a few different ways. You can download the Health Anywhere app to schedule an appointment, view your health information, and more.  

Another way is, UF Health St. Johnshas partnered with Publix Pharmacy, providing walk-in telehealth kiosks at many participating Publix’s around St. Johns County and beyond. UF Health St. Johns is focused on being a true care partner on life’s journey, providing innovative care in new places and in new ways while reducing costs.