Telehealth: Once a little-known healthcare term used to describe technology that enabled doctors to virtually visit patients in remote areas of the world, telehealth has now become a household name.
Companies like MDLIVE, Doctors on Demand and Teledoc catapulted into notoriety during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of their capability to connect patients with a board-certified doctor through a secure online video chat, a phone call or via a secure app – anytime, anywhere, 24/7.
Telehealth represents a low-cost, convenient alternative to Urgent Care Clinics or waiting days to get an appointment with a primary care doctor for non-emergency medical conditions. In a matter of minutes, doctors can diagnose symptoms, prescribe non-narcotic medication (if needed), and send e-prescriptions to the nearest pharmacy.
And as patients sought to avoid disease exposure during the pandemic, telehealth became a reliable option to address patient concerns without having to go into the traditional healthcare system.
“Enhancing patient access to quality care is a cornerstone of our company's mission,” said Chris Otto, Senior Vice President for Clear Arch Health. “Virtual care is just one of the many ways we provide 24/7, convenient access to care. During the current COVID-19 crisis, however, when patients are fearful of being exposed to the virus and hospitals need primary care physicians to serve as the front door to keep patients from going to already overburdened hospitals, virtual care in the form of video chats, phone calls and texts, is more important than ever.”
Most experts anticipate telehealth will continue to be a go-to resource for patients in the long-term – the convenience and safety it affords are simply too beneficial, especially during times of flu and virus outbreak.