Telehealth Explained: Physicians Answer Your Questions on Virtual Care

Many people in the country are receiving medical attention almost. Our members are now more than ever connecting with their doctors via video or telephone.

Blue Cross and Blue Defend of North Carolina wants to help our members stay healthy and receive the care they need. This includes covering digital doctor visits as if they were in-person, in accordance with your health plan. This protection has been extended until the end of 2020. We can evaluate it if necessary.

If you have never used telehealth before, it may seem daunting.

Telehealth is a good option for some medical needs. To answer your questions, we spoke to two doctors, Dr. Thomas Warcup from UNC Well being and John Yeatts from Duke Well being.

What’s telehealth?

Dr. Warcup: Telehealth uses a digital platform for care. This could be via video or phone.

Which types of visits are suitable for telehealth services?

Dr. Warcup: Any medical condition that does not require a thorough physical examination. It is a great platform for diabetes and hypertension. It works incredibly well for long-term patient relationships. It’s an easy way to communicate with patients.

Dr. Yeatts : Providers can perform many of the same features via telehealth as they would in a traditional workplace visit. We have access to patient data at the time of the visit, just as we would during a typical workplace go to. The information relating to prescriptions and refills is a good candidate.

What is the typical flow of a telehealth session?

Dr. Dr. My medical assistant at Duke will call ahead before the visit begins. She will discuss allergies and medicines with the patient, then pass me on to me. The average time for this type of conversation is between 5 and 10 minutes. However, it can be as long as 25 minutes or a half-hour if the discussion is more complex.

What advice would you give to someone who has never used telemedicine before or is hesitant about trying it out?

Dr. Warcup: It is impossible to overstate the respect that it shows for the patient’s time. Since I’ve been doing this for nine to ten years, patients have never said anything other than that they find it irresistible.

Dr YeattsI think it’s a very effective alternative for many complaints and desires. Once they become accustomed to this type of interface, many people prefer it a lot due to its ease of use.

Why is digital health care essential now?

Dr. Warcup: Digital appointments allow us to maintain continuity of care and stay connected while protecting social distance. Patients don’t have to ignore their current medical issues.

Dr. Yeatts : I think this has been particularly useful during the COVID epidemic by keeping individuals physically distant. We do our best to clean waiting rooms and examination rooms daily and take all of the normal precautions. However, when people enter a busy waiting room or clinic office, they are at risk for exposure. Telehealth mitigates some of this publicity, allowing the patient to get care that is comparable to what they would receive in individual. The patient doesn’t need to leave the safety of their own home.