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5 Questions and Answers About TeleHealth

5 Questions and Answers About TeleHealth

What is telehealth?

The 1960s were a time of great excitement as man, his viruses, bacteria, and other medical ailments sped toward the moon. NASA was faced with the herculean task of providing medical care to astronauts who were millions of miles away, and so Telehealth was born.

By 1975, fifteen active Telehealth projects were in motion and a new era in medicine had taken root.  Soon the project expanded into providing care for patients in both rural communities and space, and today it’s expanding into our homes.

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    It is now possible to organize a 15–20 minute video call with a medical professional in just a few minutes using an iPhone or android app. Imagine the possibilities. Instead of driving to your medical professional’s office, you can now have a virtual visit from the comfort of your own home in complete privacy. If your restrictive work hours are preventing you from seeing your doctor, you can call at any time of night or day. For those who are elderly and infirm, virtual visits are preferable to what can seem to be an epic journey to visit your doctor’s office.

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    Many doctors are using Telehealth to generate additional revenue for their practices by taking video or phone calls between appointments or during no-shows. Once the technology is worked out, it’s every bit as convenient for them as it is for you.

    Other applications of Telehealth include psychotherapist visits to chronic care management services, home healthcare services, social work, occupational therapy, remote monitoring of patient’s vitals, sending medication reminders, and motivational messages via text,

    When should I use Telehealth?

    For acute medical conditions, use Telehealth If:

    • you have a cold, sinus infection, sore throat, UTI, skin rashes, vomiting/diarrhea, or are interested in quitting smoking.
    • you have a mental health conditional such as anxiety or depression and require counseling from a psychologist.
    • you need to talk to a social worker, or a case manager whom you have an existing relationship with about chronic condition.

    Do NOT use Telehealth if:

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    • You are in imminent danger of harming yourself or others. Call 911 or head straight to the nearest emergency room.
    • You are experiencing acute chest pain or unexplained numbness and tingling or the worst headache of your life. Call 911 or head straight to the nearest emergency room.
    • You have a wound or other condition that requires physical care.

    Is Telehealth available in my state?

    American Telehealth Association 2015
      American Telehealth Association 2015

      In 2015, the American Telemedicine Association graded Telehealth throughout the U.S.  The vast majority of states scored at least a B with five states scoring an A, defined as complete parity with physical services.

      There’s a good chance that Telehealth is available in your state.

      Many health insurers have started programs of offering Telehealth services. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the largest payers in the country, now offers Telehealth doctor’s visits as a covered benefit to its members. There are also private services such as Dr On Demand, Live Health Online, MD Live, and many more. Even WebMD is now looking to provide this service.

      Can I get a prescription?

      During the sign-up process, you will be asked to nominate a pharmacy where you can collect any medications prescribed during your virtual visit. It’s important to understand that while almost all Telehealth providers can prescribe some classes of medications, there are state and federal restrictions to consider.

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      Controlled substances are rarely offered due to federal regulations, though some states such as Texas allow for dispensing in DEA facilities. It is a good idea to check on the Telehealth services web site that you are using to see exactly what conditions they treat, and whether they prescribe for those conditions.

      It is safe to assume that most common medications such as antibiotics will always be covered.

      How does my primary stay in sync?

      At the end of each Telehealth visit, your primary is sent a discharge summary once the visit completes that lists the diagnosis, any prescribed medications, followup instructions, and a range of other information that is designed to keep them completely up to date with what happened in your virtual appointment.

      In most cases the discharge summary is faxed directly to your doctors office on the day of the visit and scanned or imported into your Electronic Medical Record for future reference.

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      “We need to bring the exam room to where the patients are.”
      —Dr. Jay Sanders, telemedicine pioneer

      Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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      Colin Rhodes

      Chief Technology Officer

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      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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