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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 September 20, 2018

      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

      How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

      Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

      If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

      1. Breathe

      The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

      • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
      • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
      • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

      Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

      2. Loosen up

      After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

      Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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      3. Chew slowly

      Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

      Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

      Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

      4. Let go

      Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

      The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

      It’s not. Promise.

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      Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

      Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

      21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

      5. Enjoy the journey

      Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

      Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

      6. Look at the big picture

      The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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      Will this matter to me…

      • Next week?
      • Next month?
      • Next year?
      • In 10 years?

      Hint: No, it won’t.

      I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

      Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

      7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

      You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

      Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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      8. Practice patience every day

      Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

      • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
      • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
      • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

      Final thoughts

      Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

      Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

      Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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