The doctor will (virtually) see you now

June 8, 2017 by Julie Davis, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—Telemedicine is playing an ever-expanding role in the U.S. health care landscape.

Among the reasons: a growing national shortage of doctors, both and, in certain areas, specialists. And one-quarter of the population lives in rural areas without easy access to care.

So, has stepped in to help fill the gap. In fact, more than 10 million Americans now use it every year.

Telemedicine, or telehealth, are terms for virtual office visits—video chats made through your smartphone, tablet or computer, sometimes with no waiting at all. You can see and speak with a doctor using real-time audio and video technology. Services can vary from getting a diagnosis and a prescription for minor medical issues, to ongoing monitoring of chronic conditions—especially helpful to older adults.

Some health insurance providers now offer telehealth as part of some of their plans. It's usually for a fee that's lower than a co-pay or, if you have a high deductible, less than you'd pay out of pocket for an office visit.

A study published in the journal Health Affairs found that the most common virtual visits were for acute respiratory problems, and skin complaints. Telemedicine can be very helpful with dermatology problems because this specialty has a shortage of doctors.

Telemedicine for is also growing. It helps people stick with their treatment plan and removes the potential stigma of going to a mental health clinic—and it can be as effective as face-to-face appointments, studies have shown.

Explore further: Use of telemedicine for mental health in rural areas on the rise but uneven

More information: You can learn more about telemedicine and find more resources at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Related Stories

Use of telemedicine for mental health in rural areas on the rise but uneven

May 1, 2017
Newly published research by Harvard Medical School and the RAND Corporation reveals a dramatic growth in the use of telemedicine for the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders in rural areas, but strikingly uneven ...

Majority of parents plan to use telemedicine for pediatric care

April 23, 2017
New findings released today by Nemours Children's Health System show 64 percent of parents polled have used or plan to use telemedicine within the next year for their child. The survey, Telemedicine in America 2017: Parents ...

Telemedicine use increases among rural Medicare beneficiaries

May 10, 2016
The use of telemedicine is increasing rapidly.

Issues to consider with integration of telemedicine

August 10, 2014
(HealthDay)—Integrating telemedicine raises various considerations, including operational and legal issues, according to an article published July 24 in Medical Economics.

Telemedicine effective for patients, helps providers establish important relationships

December 8, 2015
More than 50 million Americans live in rural areas, and many have limited access to health care. For someone living far from an urban area, local specialty care for complex health issues is difficult, if not impossible, to ...

Study finds the cost-savings promise of the approach may not be realized

March 6, 2017
Direct-to-consumer telehealth services—touted as a convenient and less-expensive way to get care for minor ailments—appears to prompt new use of medical services and thus may drive up medical spending rather than trimming ...

Recommended for you

Exercise can make cells healthier, promoting longer life, study finds

September 22, 2017
Whether it's running, walking, cycling, swimming or rowing, it's been well-known since ancient times that doing some form of aerobic exercise is essential to good health and well-being. You can lose weight, sleep better, ...

Breathing dirty air may harm kidneys, study finds

September 21, 2017
Outdoor air pollution has long been linked to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new study now adds kidney disease to the list, according to ...

Excess dietary manganese promotes staph heart infection

September 21, 2017
Too much dietary manganese—an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts—promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ("staph").

Being active saves lives whether a gym workout, walking to work or washing the floor

September 21, 2017
Physical activity of any kind can prevent heart disease and death, says a large international study involving more than 130,000 people from 17 countries published this week in The Lancet.

Frequent blood donations safe for some, but not all

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks—but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Higher manganese levels in children correlate with lower IQ scores, study finds

September 21, 2017
A study led by environmental health researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine finds that children in East Liverpool, Ohio with higher levels of Manganese (Mn) had lower IQ scores. The research appears ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.