10 things you need to know about telehealth care

10 things you need to know about telehealth care

Due to the spread of COVID-19, leaving our homes can feel difficult. Even when we’re feeling sick, we debate whether visiting a clinic or hospital will help us or risk making us sicker. It might seem simple, but it can be a tough decision for many. Healthcare professionals are making it easier with telehealth. Now, you can consult your local health care professional and get treatment from the comfort of your home.

Here are ten things you might want to know before booking your virtual appointment:

1. What is telehealth?

Telehealth refers to the delivery of healthcare services through digital information and communication technology. It allows health care professionals to provide low-risk urgent care and clinical support, overcome geographical barriers, and improve health outcomes while still maintaining a high level of patient privacy. Through telehealth care, doctors can evaluate, diagnose, treat and even prevent injuries to help improve your well-being.

Telehealth chiropractic consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic increase the accessibility of care for patients who are at high-risk and require aid. They can also avoid the need for an in-person appointment and reduce exposure to the virus. These real-time video consultations are convenient and can be done on any device, such as mobile phones, laptops, and desktops. The only requirement is that the device has a webcam and a microphone. These virtual consultations are also effective for improving pain and function in those who have spinal conditions, osteoarthritis, and other musculoskeletal issues.

2. What are the Pros and Cons of virtual treatment?

Pros

  • Healthcare professionals can treat patients in their homes to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Telehealth treatments provide reassurance and comfort and contribute to positive mental health.
  • Chiropractors can virtually guide their patients and have a positive impact on people’s health without hands-on assessment or manual therapy.
  • Telehealth makes it even easier for patients and doctors to connect, encouraging patients to become more active participants in their own care.
  • Virtual visits are time efficient and, in some cases, more convenient than an in-person visit that requires travel.
  • Healthcare professionals can provide coaching and support for patients managing chronic health conditions, including weight management and nutrition counseling.
  • Patients spend less time in the waiting room.

Cons

  • Telehealth visits can’t accurately assess or treat all issues and aren’t always possible for new patient visits.
  • Either party could experience technology issues and need to reschedule the appointment, potentially delaying care.
  • Some people might not have ready access to the required technology.
  • The first visit requires some additional time to help patients become familiar with the process.

3. When might it be necessary to go to the clinic?

  • If you aren’t comfortable with virtual appointments or don’t have access to the required technology.
  • If you have medical or physical conditions that prevent you from being able to use this technology. For example, vision issues or hearing loss.
  • If you have mental health or psychological issues that a virtual visit might heighten.
  • If you think an in-person appointment will benefit you more. For example, if your pain is too severe.

If you aren’t sure, you can always contact your chiropractor to discuss.

4. When are telehealth appointments appropriate?

As with all situations, if you have COVID symptoms you should stay home. We also recommend telehealth appointments, if possible, if you are in a high-risk group.

If you are comfortable with telehealth appointments and have access to the required technology, you might find telehealth appointment just as – or more – appropriate for the following situations:

  • If you are booking an appointment for rehabilitation/exercise follow up.
  • For minor acute care that can be treated at home.
  • For post-hospital discharge and post-surgical follow-up.
  • If you need help managing a chronic condition. Your chiropractor will let you know if in-person visits are needed.
  • If you need simple stretches or have questions about your care.
  • If you regularly see your chiropractor and you have an appointment for a check up.
  • If you want to discuss new symptoms that you don’t think require an in-person meeting.
  • If you have an injury that may need medical care or keeps coming back.

5. Will I receive the same treatment as I would if I went into the clinic?

If you go to the clinic for regular check ups then, to some extent, you will be treated and reassured online, as you would in-person. If your symptoms are new, increasing in frequency or severity, or you require immediate help, your chiropractor might suggest that you come for an in-person visit.

6. How will the chiropractor assess me online?

It may seem odd that the new normal consists of your chiropractor assessing you online. You might also wonder how different an online assessment is compared to in person. For most situations, the two aren’t very different. Prior to your appointment, your chiropractor will provide recommendations on how to prepare and get the most from your consultation. The doctor will let you know what to wear for ease of assessment and how to set up your space for exercising. During the examination, the doctor will take a thorough history and listen to your concerns, health goals, and preferences. They will also identify possible issues and give you guidance and reassurance as they would in your in-person visits. Throughout the appointment, the doctor will observe posture, range of motion, and movement patterns. They will continue to tell you risks and benefits of certain treatments as they assess and plan next steps with you. The doctor will also help you with performing exercises correctly and provide you with self-management strategies as with any other visit. If necessary, your chiropractor will make referrals or set up an in-person visit.

7. Is Telehealth care secure?

Yes! Telehealth care is completely safe and secure. At YOUR HEALTH Wellness Center, our virtual appointments are booked through and take place in an app called Jane. Jane provides peer-to-peer audiovisual communication, which means that your device communicates directly with the doctor’s device. All information is encrypted with the same level of security a bank uses to transfer information and no data is saved anywhere. All Jane online appointments are PIPEDA and HIPAA compliant.

8. How can patients access telehealth care?

Appointments can be done on any device that has a webcam and a microphone. For android devices, Chrome works best. For iOS, you must install the free Jane app. Our online appointment system only allows one-on-one appointments, so your appointment will be with your doctor only.

For help on how to use the Jane appointment system, you can visit their website to see how to book appointments, pay fees, attend consultations, and more.

9. Will my insurance cover a telehealth visit?

Currently, Sunlife, Canada Life, Manu Life, Desjardins, Green Shield, Pacific Blue Cross, Medavie Blue Cross, and Alberta Blue Cross cover chiropractic telehealth visits. If your insurance company doesn’t cover telehealth visits, you are responsible for paying for the visit. Contact your insurance company if you aren’t sure if telehealth visits are covered.

10. How do I book my virtual visits at YOUR HEALTH Wellness Centre?

To schedule your chiropractic Telehealth appointment, call the clinic at 905-829-0724 or book online at https://yourhealthwellnesscentre.janeapp.com.

Although telehealth appointments have many benefits for both chiropractors and patients, they can never fully replace manual therapies and adjustments. However, they are an innovative and useful tool to enhance what we can do for our patients, especially during this global pandemic.

Author: Manaal Fahim. Co-op Student.

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