During the height of the pandemic, telehealth visits accounted for 69% of all provider visits, according to national data from Epic Health Research Network. Although that number has dropped to 21%, that is still higher than before the pandemic when telehealth only accounted for less than 1% of all provider usage.
“We expect telehealth to remain a viable option for many years to come,” said Gary Ashley, Executive Vice President of Allied National. “It’s easily accessible and affordable, and even more importantly today, allows patients to receive care from the safety of their homes – away from potential exposure to COVID-19.”
Telehealth, also referred to as telemedicine or virtual care, allows individuals to use their smartphones, tablets or computers to visit with a doctor or mental health specialist and get a diagnosis and prescription.
As popular as telehealth is becoming, it’s important to know when you should contact a telehealth provider and when you should schedule an in-person visit.
When to use telehealth
One of the biggest advantages to using telehealth is the ability to access a qualified health care professional any time of the day or night. These providers can diagnose and prescribe medications when medically necessary.
Telehealth also is a boon to those who are elderly, chronically ill or suffer from limited mobility and find that getting to a doctor’s office can be difficult. It also provides better access to providers for those who live in rural areas.
Telehealth is best suited for simple medical conditions such as:
How much you’ll pay depends on your provider. For instance, Allied National major medical plans provide free visits. Allied plans with an HSA charge a nominal fee.
When to visit a provider in person
It’s best to visit a provider in their office when you have a severe illness, an injury that requires a physical exam or lab work and tests.
Doctors who see their patients in person also are more likely to develop a professional relationship and better understand their health challenges. With telehealth, the patients might see a different provider each time. Doctors who see patients in person also are in a better position to detect a patient’s health challenges before they become a concern.
In-person visits also work best for those who have limited access to digital services and the internet.
Founded in 1970, Allied is one of the nation's oldest and most experienced third-party administrators. Allied National is a 90 Degree Benefits Company, a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield Alabama. As the small group benefit experts, Allied works with small business employers to provide unique and affordable group health benefits.
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Allied National is a 90 Degree Benefits Company, a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. Founded in 1970, Allied National is one of the nation's oldest and most experienced third-party administrators. We're the small group benefit experts working to provide unique and affordable group health benefits to small business employers.