You’ve probably been hearing a lot about telehealth amid the COVID-19 crisis. If you’ve called your provider for an appointment or had one scheduled since the pandemic began, you may have been invited to have a telehealth visit instead. 

If you’re wondering what telehealth means and how it works, you’re not alone. Many patients — and healthcare providers — are trying to figure it all out, too.

Here are a few condition-specific guidelines and tips: 

  • Using telehealth to manage heart disease — click here
  • Using telehealth to manage diabetes — click here
  • Using telehealth to manage lung disease — click here
  • Using telehealth to manage cancer — click here

The bottom line on telehealth

For the time being, telehealth will be a bigger part of health care than it’s ever been, and that may last beyond the COVID-19 crisis. It makes a lot of sense — for your health and convenience — to familiarize yourself with the technologies used for telehealth visits and ask questions before you’re faced with an unexpected healthcare need.

Of course, not everything can be done by a virtual visit. If your provider needs to swab your throat to check for a strep infection, feel your abdomen to assess pain or a digestive problem or evaluate a skin rash that doesn’t show up well on a video call or phone camera,  they’ll need to see you in person or refer you elsewhere for a visit. Telehealth can be a great screening tool, though, and reports suggest that about 95 percent of telehealth visits don’t require in-person follow-up or referral.

If you have a minor health issue, it’s wise to check with your provider to see if a telehealth visit is an option. They can answer your questions about how to access such a visit or if you need to come in.

As always, however, call 911 if your symptoms are severe or if you are experiencing a medical emergency. Your Health Advisor can help answer any questions you have about a telehealth visit, provide resources, and help you prepare. We’re here to help!