Allergies Got You Down? Get Help With Telehealth
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is a method of delivering healthcare services, both clinical and educational, using technology. The provider and patient are not in the same physical location. Instead, they can see each other and communicate through the internet, email, phone, or text. As the practice grows in popularity, telehealth has expanded into multiple medical disciplines. Asthma and allergy clients may be good candidates for telehealth services.
What are Some of the Tools Used in Telehealth?
The technology used in telehealth varies. Here are a few of the most common options:
- Online portals let the provider and patient exchange medical information securely via email or text.
- Medical equipment, such as a digital stethoscope, can capture data and share it via live stream. Practitioners and asthma specialists doing allergy tests may use peak flow meters, exhaled nitric oxide monitors, and spirometers equipped with advanced technologies to gather data for diagnosis and treatment.
- Apps made specifically for submitting information to your provider and getting data back allow you to communicate on the go. Most of these apps are free, but some do charge a fee. You can find apps specific to your condition, such as asthma or allergies, that keep track of symptoms and trends. Your healthcare provider can see the information you enter into the app so he or she can use it in your treatment plan. Some providers also allow you to make appointments via the app as well.
- Most computers, tablets, and smartphones can make video connections from almost anywhere. As technologies advance, picture and audio quality get better.
Not all telehealth tools are high tech. Phone calls are sometimes the most straightforward way to talk with your provider. Even comprehensive health education for patients with asthma or allergy can be provided through a series of phone calls of less than an hour each.
How Can Telehealth Be Used for Clients with Food Allergies?
Telehealth has found an audience with parents who are learning to help their children learn to live with food allergies. Families often have many questions, especially when the diagnosis is new. Instead of waiting for an appointment, missing school, and taking off work, the parent can schedule a telehealth consult. It takes less time because no travel is involved. Parents and children can ask questions about how to handle upcoming events that might include avoiding allergy triggers, such as a vacation or a birthday party.
Will Telehealth Replace Office Visits Completely?
It’s unlikely that telehealth will ever fully replace in-person office visits. Not every patient has access to a reliable device and internet service. Certain types of allergy testing require the doctor to be able to touch the patient. Medical procedures and initial diagnoses are impossible or at least very difficult to do from a distance. However, specific to asthma and allergies, once the initial information is gathered and the plan of care is established, follow-up visits can be done via telehealth.
Does Insurance Cover Telehealth Services?
Insurance companies are catching up to the technologies that allow for the provision of telehealth. Copays, deductibles, and coverage levels may be different for telehealth than for traditional office visits. Because coverage can vary widely by policy, especially for specialties like allergies and asthma, consumers should carefully research the specifics to avoid any financial surprises.
Learn More About Telehealth at ARCpoint Labs of Austin North
To learn more about telehealth and whether it might be a good option for you, contact ARCpoint Labs of Austin North. We can help you understand how telehealth works and how it could work for you. ARCpoint Labs of Austin North offers a range of telehealth services for employers, individuals, and families.
Image by Drazen Zigic