If you have a sore throat or gastrointestinal issues, you may want to speak to a healthcare professional about treatment. However, traveling to a hospital or clinic when you aren’t feeling well can be uncomfortable. In these instances, you might consider a telehealth appointment.
With telehealth technologies, you can access care from a healthcare professional without leaving your home. This can make for a more comfortable and convenient appointment.
How does telehealth work?
Using your phone, tablet or desktop, you can connect with a care provider to diagnose and treat a medical issue, manage your prescriptions, discuss lab results and more. There are many approaches to telehealth, including:
- Virtual visits: Virtual visits allow you to connect with a healthcare provider using video chat or over the phone in real time.
- Chat-based: When you use technology to message a healthcare provider or send data or photos to assist in the diagnosis or treatment of an issue.
- Remote-patient monitoring: When you use wearable sensors or wireless devices to collect and share healthcare information, such as your vitals, with your medical provider.
When is virtual care sufficient?
In many cases, a visit to a doctor’s office or a hospital is necessary. There are certain illnesses and ailments that require a physical checkup. If you’re experiencing a life-threatening event, you should always call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
There are also situations where virtual care is sufficient. For instance, when dealing with a minor illness such as nasal congestion or a common cold.
You can also meet with a healthcare provider over telehealth to see if an in-person appointment is necessary or if your illness can be treated effectively at home.
What minor illnesses can be treated by telehealth?
A minor illness is a medical condition that is not urgent or life-threatening but may require medical attention.
With a minor illness, you might question if you even need to seek treatment. While it’s possible to treat many minor issues at home, some can become more severe. Speaking with a healthcare provider over telehealth can help to give you the reassurance you need.
Some of the minor illnesses that can be treated using telehealth include:
- Bug bites
- Body aches
- Cold sore
- Common cold
- Eczema and skin rashes
- Nasal congestion
- Pink eye/sty
- Poison ivy
- Sinus infection
- Sprains and strains
- Telehealth for UTI (urinary tract infection)
When is telehealth enough?
While telehealth is a convenient way to connect with a medical professional for issues and minor illnesses, it can’t replace all doctor visits. If you are experiencing a life-threatening condition, you should call 911 or visit the ER. If you are wondering if your illness requires an in-person medical appointment, a telehealth visit can provide you with more information and guide you to get the care you need.