Have you ever wondered how a virtual doctor visit works? With more and more people working remotely and/or juggling a million different commitments, it’s no wonder that virtual doctor visits are becoming increasingly popular. In this article, we’ll take a look at what a virtual doctor visit is, how they work, and some of the pros and cons.
What is a virtual doctor visit?
A virtual doctor visit is a consultation between a patient and a doctor that takes place over video chat (or other electronic avenues). That means you can consult with a doctor from the comfort of your own home – no need to travel to an office. All you need is a computer or smartphone with a webcam and an internet connection.
Make sure you consult with your specific doctor to see what types of appointments they’re able to do virtually. Some appointments might not be able to be done virtually (like a physical exam), but many common appointments – like follow-ups, prescription renewals, and mental health check-ins – can be easily done online.
How do virtual doctor visits work?
Once you’ve found a doctor that you’d like to consult with, you’ll need to book an appointment. How you proceed next will depend on the institution you’ve made the appointment with. However, it’s common that once the appointment is booked, you’ll receive an email or text with a link to the video chat. On the day of your appointment simply click the link at your appointment time and you’ll be connected with the doctor.
During the consultation, the doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. They may also order some tests, like blood work or X-rays, which can be done at a local lab at a later date. The doctor will then make a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan. If you have any questions, you can ask them during the consultation.
What are the benefits of virtual doctor visits?
There are a few benefits of virtual doctor visits that are worth mentioning:
- *They’re convenient:* As we mentioned before, you can consult with a doctor from the comfort of your own home. No need to drive across town and spend time in a waiting room.
- *They’re affordable:* Virtual doctor visits are often cheaper than in-person visits since you’re not paying for the doctor’s office overhead.
- *You can see a specialist:* /If you live in a rural area, you may not have access to certain specialists. With a virtual doctor visit, you can consult with any specialist, no matter where they’re located.
The benefits generally outweigh the negatives, but there are a few potential downsides to consider as well
What are the drawbacks of virtual doctor visits?
There are a few potential drawbacks of virtual doctor visits that are worth mentioning:
- They’re not suitable for emergency care: if you’re having a heart attack or another medical emergency, you’ll still need to go to the hospital immediately.
- You may not have access to certain tests: if the doctor needs to order a CT scan or MRI, you’ll need to go to a local imaging center.
- The doctor may not be able to prescribe certain medications: if the doctor needs to prescribe a controlled substance, like narcotic pain medication, they may not be able to do so.
Are virtual doctor visits covered by insurance?
This is a tricky question since insurance coverage varies so much. In general, however, most insurance companies will cover at least part of the cost of a virtual doctor visit. Check with your insurance company to find out if they cover virtual doctor visits and, if so, how much they’ll cover.
How do I find a doctor for a virtual visit?
If you’re interested in scheduling a virtual doctor visit, the best place to start is by asking your regular doctor if they offer virtual visits. Many primary care physicians and specialists offer virtual visits these days. You can also search for doctors that offer virtual visits in your area.
Virtual doctor visits are a convenient and affordable way to consult with a doctor from the comfort of your own home. However, they’re not suitable for emergency care and you may not have access to certain tests or medications.
If you have any other questions or need help figuring out how to stay connected with your virtual physician don’t hesitate to contact us!