Telehealth appointments for primary care are becoming more popular than ever as people look for convenient ways to manage their health from home. But what do you need to know before booking an appointment? Read on to find out more.
Table of Contents
- What Is Telehealth?
- What Is Virtual Primary Care?
- What Types of Conditions Can Be Treated With Telehealth Appointments for Primary Care?
- How Do Physical Primary Care Appointments Differ From Telehealth Ones?
- What Are the Benefits of Using Telehealth for Primary Care?
- How Do Telehealth Appointments Work for Primary Care?
- How Can DrHouse Help You?
What Is Telehealth?
The terms telehealth and telemedicine, often used interchangeably, refer to the remote diagnosis, treatment, and management of an illness or condition, as well as the use of remote technology to improve a person’s wellness.
What Is Virtual Primary Care?
Virtual primary care is a form of telehealth that provides access to a primary care doctor virtually. That means you can attend an appointment with your primary care provider via video on a device like a tablet, computer, or smartphone at a time and location of your choice.
What Types of Conditions Can Be Treated With Telehealth Appointments for Primary Care?
At first, getting treatment for a condition via a virtual primary care telehealth appointment can seem a little confusing. After all, doesn’t the doctor have to physically examine you before they can make their diagnosis?
Well, for some conditions this is the case. Yet many do not require a physical face-to-face examination and can be done remotely via video instead. See the list below to find out more. Also not all health care is about diagnosis, with much being concerned with the treatment and management which can also be done virtually via video calls.
Conditions that can be treated via telehealth appointments for primary care include:
With the use of an easy-to-use and cost-effective home blood pressure cuff or monitor, hypotension can be diagnosed virtually. It can then be treated with medications like Lisinopril which can be issued remotely, as well as lifestyle advice that the primary care physician can offer during the video call.
Virtual primary care doctors can order a glucose test at a lab close to the patient to diagnose diabetes. They can then virtually prescribe and monitor medication to treat it such as Metformin.
Depression and anxiety tend to be diagnosed with the help of a patient questionnaire in which they self-report their symptoms and their severity. This can easily be done virtually by a primary care provider, and that treatment including SSRIs can be prescribed and monitored virtually too.
GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (Chronic Heartburn)
GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, otherwise known as chronic heartburn is another condition that can be diagnosed virtually. Primary care providers can then virtually issue a prescription for Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) and monitored their success virtually too.
How Do Physical Primary Care Appointments Differ From Telehealth Ones?
While studies show that for many conditions telehealth primary care appointments are just as effective if not more so than face-to-face ones, there are some differences patients should be aware of.
First, some people who struggle with using mobile devices and the internet may not feel as comfortable accessing their primary care doctor in this way. Another difference is that no physical examination can be given because the patient and doctor are not in the same location.
What Are the Benefits of Using Telehealth for Primary Care?
Despite the differences between physical primary healthcare appointments, and telehealth ones, there are a whole host of advantages that come with choosing a virtual appointment. The first is that doctors have more time to counsel their patients which means a better connection, and improved gathering of information for diagnosis and condition monitoring. The second is that it is a very effective way of controlling exposure to contagious diseases.
Another benefit of using telehealth for primary care is that it’s far more convenient for the patient than having to attend an appointment in person. Indeed, appointments can frequently be set for the same day, and sometimes in less than 15 mins. Patients do not have to commute, or wait in the waiting room, and can decide on the location and time of the call to suit their needs, making it so much easier to access primary care.
Using telehealth for primary care means that doctors’ premises and equipment are used far less. This can translate into financial savings, and they can then pass these savings on to their patients while still meeting their costs. Also, telehealth is often cheaper than a face-to-face appointment for the patient and in some cases can be accessed outside of insurance if necessary.
How Do Telehealth Appointments Work for Primary Care?
Telehealth appointments are very similar in structure to a face to face ones. First of all, you’ll need to sign up for the app that provides the service. Once you have done this you can use the app to book an appointment at a time that is convenient for you.
At the time of your appointment, you will be prompted to log in and will be put in a virtual waiting room while your doctor prepares. When your doctor joins the chat you will able to discuss your symptoms and medical history which will use to diagnose you and provide treatment.
If you need in-person care they will be able to tell you whereabouts to go. If you need a prescription your virtual primary care doctor will issue it and send it to a local pharmacy so you can pick it up. Your virtual primary health doctor will also state if you need to follow up with your care in person or virtually to manage your condition.
How Can DrHouse Help You?
DrHouse is a telehealth provider that offers virtual primary care, along with all the benefits that come with it including less waiting time, the convenience to choose your own appointment time, and, no commuting.
DrHouse offers on-demand appointments with board-certified clinicians in as little as 15 minutes from the time you log in 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
The virtual primary clinicians at DrHouse can issue or renew prescriptions, order tests, and provide advice about managing treatment and your condition, all at a time that suits you, with little or no disruption to your day.
Lastly, DrHouse, not only enables you to reap all the benefits of being able to access a primary care adviser easily, but it’s also a very cost-effective option. You will be able to see all costs involved up front, and we don’t charge for meds or their delivery. You don’t even need to have health insurance coverage to make use of our services.
Telehealth appointments are just as if not more effective for many conditions than face-to-face appointments. They can also save you time and money, and ensure you get seen quickly and do not have long waits or to take time off work.
Telehealth appointments are very similar to face to see your primary care provider in real life and they can be used to diagnose, treat and manage a range of conditions and provide an excellent option for those that are unable or for whom it is inconvenient to see a primary care doctor face-to-face.
- Telehealth: Technology meets health care. Mayo Clinic. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/telehealth/art-20044878
- L.T. Kelley, M. Phung, V. Stamenova, J. Fujioka, P. Agarwal, N. Onabajo, I. Wong, M. Nguyen, R.S. Bhatia, O. Bhattacharyya. Exploring how virtual primary care visits affect patient burden of treatment. International Journal of Medical Informatics, Volume 141, 2020, 104228, ISSN 1386-5056. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2020.104228.
- Koonin LM, Hoots B, Tsang CA, Leroy Z, Farris K, Jolly T, Antall P, McCabe B, Zelis CBR, Tong I, Harris AM. Trends in the Use of Telehealth During the Emergence of the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, January-March 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 30;69(43):1595-1599. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6943a3.
- Teresita Gomez, Yohualli B. Anaya, Kevin J. Shih, Derjung M. Tarn. A Qualitative Study of Primary Care Physicians’ Experiences With Telemedicine During COVID-19. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine Feb 2021, 34 (Supplement) S61-S70; DOI: https://www.doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.2021.S1.200517
- Lu, A.D., Gunzburger, E., Glorioso, T.J. et al. Impact of Longitudinal Virtual Primary Care on Diabetes Quality of Care. J GEN INTERN MED 36, 2585–2592 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-020-06547-x
- Antunes C, Aleem A, Curtis SA. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. [Updated 2022 Jul 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441938/
- Anxiety Disorders – Facts & Statistics. Anxiety & Depression Association of America. Available from: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics
DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.