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Technology Makes Doctor Visits More Convenient

As people age, doctor appointments become a bigger part of life. Being responsible for driving a loved one to several appointments a week or to specialists hundreds of miles away can pose a challenge. The hours spent on the road and in waiting rooms add up fast.

Fortunately, a convenient service that brings the doctor to the patient via technology is now a popular option. Telehealth services, or virtual doctor’s office visits, are available through providers across the country, private companies and—increasingly—at retail clinics.

As a supplement to your loved one’s regular check-ups with a primary care provider, virtual visits take place over the phone or through video. They also offer two- and three-party calling to keep you as the caregiver involved with every visit, giving you more flexibility. Available any time of day, seven days a week, they cover non-emergency care for such conditions as colds, flu, rashes, respiratory infections and more.

Are Virtual Visits Workable for You?

  • Availability. Health providers vary greatly in terms of the services they offer, and state regulations differ for this emerging technology and its uses.
  • Medical conditions. Some are more suitable for telehealth than others.
  • Openness to a new approach. Telehealth will be a different way of engaging with health professionals. Talk to your loved one about the possible benefits, and see if they are open to give it a try.
  • Access to technology. Although some telehealth services are offered through a regular phone, video chats require a high-speed Internet connection.
  • Your level of involvement. You and your loved one will need to agree on how much or little you’ll be involved in the process, including participation in virtual visits.
  • Your budget and insurance coverage. Check your loved one’s medical insurance benefits. Some organizations are making telehealth services reimbursable to encourage usage. However, they’re not yet reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid or in most caregiver insurance plans, so you and your loved one may need to prepare to budget for virtual office visits as an out-of-pocket expense.

Local Resources and Solutions

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