What is telemedicine?

Featured Image

University Urgent Care now offers online appointments. Call to book your visit and see a doctor today.

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a term used for online medical appointments, where you can speak with a medical professional to get the care you need remotely.

Thanks to the ever-changing field of technology, telemedicine is creating a solution throughout the entire healthcare industry in this desperate time of need.

But patients, and even some healthcare providers, still have a lot of questions about this new way of practicing medicine.

Let’s explore the ins and outs of telemedicine and talk about some common questions patients consider before they turn to this valuable resource.

The History of Telemedicine

As with anything in today’s society, the field of telemedicine has seen some drastic changes since the first experiments with remote healthcare.

The first glimpse of the telemedicine we use came in the late 1950s when several hospitals started playing with the idea of reaching patients in remote locations. But the concept of telemedicine came long before that.

The rise of telecommunications technology actually dates back to the 1800s. The earliest forms of this type of communication being the telegraph, radio, and telephone.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century, however, that the thought of applying these technologies to the field of medicine came into existence.

While patients weren’t able to sit in front of a camera and physically see their healthcare providers, they did have the advantage of using the phone to discuss their ailments.

Although video conferencing was far from becoming commonplace, an odd invention in 1925 predicted the idea of using a remote video to connect patients and doctors.

Invented by Dr. Hugo Gernsback, the “teledactyl” never moved past the concept stage, but still sparked the idea of a future for telemedicine. The tool Dr. Gernsback dreamt up would use spindly robot fingers paired with radio technology to examine a patient remotely and provide video feedback to the healthcare provider.

Thirty years later, several hospitals and university-based medical centers began experimenting further with the concept of telemedicine. This would be the beginning of the process that would eventually put the idea into practice.

Initially, doctors used telephones and televisions to transmit exams and images back and forth to students and other doctors nearby. Eventually, in 1964, doctors at the University of Nebraska were able to provide healthcare services at Norfolk State Hospital over 100 miles away from their campus.

Originally, telemedicine was used to help doctors reach remote patients living in rural areas. As time went on, healthcare providers and government officials began to see the benefits and potential of this new way of practicing medicine.

Thanks to substantial investments from the United States Public Health Department, NASA, Department of Defense, and the Health and Human Sciences Department, research and innovation set telemedicine on the fast path to what it is today.

How Does Telemedicine Work?

Technological advances have opened the door to significant advancements and new possibilities in the world of telemedicine.

While telemedicine was initially created to reach patients in remote places and rural areas miles away from healthcare facilities, it is now becoming an easy, convenient alternative to treating patients in the office.

Healthcare providers now have the tools needed to connect with patients on live video conference calls, with mobile apps like Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom providing mobile access to healthcare as well.

University Urgent Care offers our telemedicine via Zoom. Our telemedicine appointments allow you to see our medical team from the comfort and safety of your own home.

What Can I Expect with Telemedicine?

At University Urgent Care, our online appointments are very similar to our in-office visits.

First, you’ll call to set up the next available appointment or schedule a time that works for you. Then we’ll send you a Zoom link that will lead you to your online visit.

Our providers can see patients, discuss symptoms, diagnose a number of conditions, and provide treatment plans in real-time.

Do All Doctors Offer Telemedicine?

While all healthcare providers didn’t initially offer telemedicine, more and more are turning to this resource to treat patients. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down many businesses, patients are now able to get specialist, mental health, and other therapy treatments online today.

How Much Does Telemedicine Cost?

The cost of telemedicine ranges from patient to patient, and depends on other factors such as insurance.

The good news is that many insurance companies have started covering telemedicine appointments for services provided by your doctor, urgent care facility, or hospital.

While you may still have to pay your copay or an out-of-pocket charge, the benefits of using telemedicine far outweigh any upfront cost.

The best way to determine the price ahead of time is to contact your insurance provider and healthcare provider in advance.

Our staff is here to answer your questions over the phone in regards to the cost of your appointment.

Is Telemedicine Secure?

At University Urgent Care, we provide a safe and secure online urgent care appointments.

Zoom has increased its security in lieu of the pandemic for the security of their telemedicine enablement, and has been terrific for conducting our virtual visits.

Can I Get Treated Through Telemedicine?

While providers are restricted when it comes to tests that require physical interaction, healthcare providers can at least see patients remotely to determine whether an in-person appointment is needed, and provide medical advice through the video appointment.

Providers can diagnose and treat patients effectively over a video call. If a prescription medication is required, doctors can just as quickly send it to your local pharmacy using telemedicine.

University Urgent Care Now Offers Online Appointments

University Urgent Care offers telemedicine to our patients for all of your non-emergency urgent care needs.

We understand that patients need remote access to healthcare now more than ever. That’s why our team of dedicated, compassionate nurse practitioners are available to see patients remotely seven days a week from 10 AM- 8 PM.

If you have any questions regarding your condition or your health, give us a call at (817) 439-9539. Our goal continues to be to help you feel better, faster.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.