ORLANDO, Fla. – More people are turning to telemedicine to talk to doctors about their symptoms, get diagnosed, and fill prescriptions.
Dr. Rajiv Bahl, a Central Florida emergency physician, breaks down what telehealth is, how to use it, and its benefits, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
Connect with physicians at your fingertips
Telemedicine lets you connect with doctors virtually. Bahl said you can speak to physicians on a variety of electronic devices, including your phone, tablet, or personal computer.
"That allows you to talk to physicians about your healthcare needs from the convenience of your home, office, and you can use it 24/7 at the convenience of your own hours," Bahl said.
Practice social distancing while getting treatment
Bahl said telemedicine helps people stay away from others, but still get the care they need. He adds it also prevents you from being exposed to other patients at a doctor's office or the emergency department.
“It also helps to reduce the burden of the healthcare system, as well as so many resources, are being used toward patients who are more critically ill,” Bahl said.
Bahl adds telemedicine is great for patients who suffer from chronic illnesses and you can also get your medications refilled.
"Especially as doctor's offices are getting a lot busier at this time," he said.
Doctors can treat you over video
Bahl said through telemedicine you are still speaking to a physician in person, but virtually through video. He said you can easily talk and show the doctor the symptoms you are experiencing.
"Whether it's a runny nose, physical exam findings you can do on yourself like pushing on your sinuses or even reproducing your cough," Bahl said. "Also you can use that camera to look in the back of your throat as well and show the physician what some of your symptoms are as well."
Physicians can help determine if you have COVID-19
Bahl said if you suspect you may have coronavirus, speaking to a physician using telemedicine can help you determine if you need to be tested.
He adds some studies show a 30% increase in using telehealth, but it’s still important to know when you need to see a doctor in person.
"There's still a place for the emergency room and that's for critical signs and symptoms, but more people are turning to telehealth as a safe haven and use for healthcare needs," Bahl said.
Telemedicine is available 24/7
As we navigate the coronavirus pandemic, including working remotely, students continuing their lessons at home, and juggling busy schedules, Bahl said a huge benefit is being able to connect with doctors at any time of the day.
“Sometimes their doctors aren’t open past 6 p.m. and if you can only see a physician at 8 p.m., instead of rushing to the emergency room this is a great way where you can start to see physician 24/7 and on your schedule,” he said.
Click here to find telemedicine options in Central Florida.