The Growth of Telemedicine in the Coronavirus Pandemic

In the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic, new resources and coverage for telemedicine and telehealth have been created.
See >new telehealth coverage 2020

Here are three reviews of Telemedicine Services:
>10 Best Online Doctor & Medical Services for 2020
>Best Online Doctors
>Best Online Doctors 2020 Based on In-Depth Reviews

>A Guide to Telemedicine New healthcare options called telemedicine and telehealth are rapidly becoming available for patients in the U.S. What is telemedicine? It’s a remote live and interactive communication, usually a type of online video chat, with a healthcare provider. For certain types of illnesses patients can be seen remotely using modern technology. Healthcare providers can often complete an exam, make a diagnosis, and even write a prescription for you, all from the comfort of your home. Today, telemedicine is often used to treat patients with chronic diseases like high blood pressure, urgent care visits for coughs and colds, and to connect primary care physicians with medical specialists.

>Is Telemedicine the Future of Care? Also referred to as telemedicine or telehealth, virtual care involves the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by medical experts who are miles or even continents away. Heralded as a way to save money while providing quality care for patients who might not otherwise have access to specialists, telemedicine has exploded in growth during the past decade…

>Medical Diagnosis by Webcam? Proponents say telemedicine has the potential to improve access to care, lower costs and provide reliable, specialized care to patients who need it. But some doctors and researchers question to what degree virtual care equates to in-person treatment, and whether these e-physicians might overprescribe drugs to keep patients satisfied, misdiagnose an ailment or miss a more serious medical problem entirely. In Texas, the state medical board passed regulations last year restricting such long-distance consults, a move that has sparked litigation…While the virtual visits provide an option for minor medical problems, patients should avoid suggesting a self-diagnosis, as it may influence the doctor, UCSF’s Dudley says. A patient who blames shortness of breath on asthma, for example, may steer the doctor away from considering other possibilities, such as a heart condition. As with any appointment, patients need to make sure the doctor is attuned to their needs and symptoms.

>Telehealth and Medicare: What Is Covered While Medicare’s coverage of telehealth historically has been limited,recent policy changes have begun to broaden its use. This fact sheet describes the telehealth-provided services available to Medicare beneficiaries. These include current as well as new services resulting from recent policy changes.

>Telehealth: Technology meets health care Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to access health care services remotely and manage your health care. These may be technologies you use from home or that your doctor uses to improve or support health care services.

>Telemedicine: The Doctor Is Online, but at What Cost? The AMA now endorses telemedicine as long as there is a valid patient/physician relationship, through at minimum a face-to-face examination (The new policy allows that the “face-to-face examination” could occur virtually…For patients well known to their physicians, follow-up telemedicine visits might be advantageous. For example, an orthopedic surgeon who has recently repaired a broken hip in a nursing home patient could inspect healing with the help of a competent on-site assistant and video camera, saving a difficult, painful, and expensive patient transport to the office. It’s a win/win situation for everyone: less trouble for the patient, a quick visit from the doctor via video software, and more time for the orthopedic surgeon to do cases in the operating room or evaluate patients in the office who require hands-on care…The success of an e-visit also depends upon patients making the right complaint. How many times has your doctor said, “I understand that you have pain in your (fill in the blank), but what’s really bothering you?” In all likelihood, this type of nuance goes out the window in most telemedicine consults…Although virtual consultations may result in satisfactory outcomes for simple medical problems, such as colds and urinary tract infections—perhaps even with cost savings compared with an in-person visit—it is unclear how many important diagnoses will be missed owing to the lack of a real-life, face-to-face interaction.

>Using Telehealth to Improve Home-Based Care for Older Adults and Family Caregivers (>Full Report) This paper describes the consumer perspective on the value of telehealth and the current policy concerns with this avenue of health care delivery. This consumer perspective is provided by AARP’s Public Policy Institute on behalf of older adults and their family caregivers. As technology progresses and more care is delivered via telephone, video, e-mail, and other telehealth methods, more research will be needed to identify the models of care that provide the highest quality with the most access to consumers. Research has shown that there are types of telehealth that help some older adults with specific chronic needs, although they don’t help all. As more care is provided via telehealth services, there will be more evidence to further demonstrate telehealth’s usefulness and its cost-effectiveness—or lack thereof.