Wait Times Too Long for Your Kids? Try Seeing a Pediatrician Online.
What Is Pediatric Telemedicine? Why Is It Important?
The word "telemedicine" is a large umbrella term which includes many services and aspects of medicine; however, it is most often used in the context of telemedicine consultations, usually in the form of audio or video conference calls between doctors and their patients. Pediatric telemedicine is no different—it involves telemedicine consultations between pediatricians and pediatric patients (typically, children under 15 years old). Parents should attend very young children on these calls. Pediatric telemedicine consultations might not completely replace outpatient visits, but they offer robust supplemental care at a minimal cost to parents and minimal stress for children.
Health Benefits of Pediatric Telemedicine
Children need easy access to quality healthcare, and telemedicine can help. According to a technical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, telemedicine can improve "access for the rural and inner-city child," decrease "cost to the health care system and the patient’s family," and "augment communication between families and medical professionals caring for their children." Healthcare environments such as hospitals and even waiting rooms at doctors' offices have been shown to cause stress and anxiety in children. It's also very common for a family doctor's only available appointment times to fall during a child's usual nap time, adding fatigue to whatever illness or general restlessness the child already has. Worse still, waiting rooms often present high risks of exposure to germs from other sick children; this issue is so salient that in 2017 the AAP released guidelines specifically intended to prevent the spread of disease in pediatric care settings. Pediatric telemedicine reduces or eliminates time spent in the waiting room, thus reducing negative impacts on children's physical and emotional health.
Social and Economic Benefits of Pediatric Telemedicine
According to a CDC survey from 2016, patients under age 15 accounted for over 156 million office visits to physicians; 47.4% of these visits were to address a new problem, another 16% were to address a chronic problem, and only 32.8% were for preventive care. For many working families, the cost of caring for sick children extends far beyond the actual price of an office visit. Parents may have to take hours of unpaid time off work in order to take their children to the doctor; school-aged children may have to miss school. Unreasonably long wait times at the doctor's office may drive some parents to take their sick children to the emergency room in non-emergency situations, thus incurring additional (avoidable) charges. If a sick child is not seen by a doctor and his or her condition worsens, it can result in more school absences, more time off work, and higher medical costs. A quick, affordable video call with a pediatrician could save a lot of time, hassle, money, and suffering.
How to Access Pediatric Telemedicine
SAMI-Aid membership includes one free telemedicine video call, which can be to a pediatrician. SAMI-Aid's pediatricians are board-certified and can provide advice, diagnoses, prescriptions, and referrals for follow-up care if necessary. Consultations take place via video calls from a computer or mobile device, with a 15-minute time limit per call. SAMI-Aid's pediatricians send a report documenting each visit to the parent or legal guardian who is a SAMI-Aid member. Through the secure SAMI-Aid portal, electronic medical records (EMRs) can be easily shared with your child's regular pediatrician or family doctor.
With a free SAMI-Aid membership, you can use features such as Speak to Our Doctor, Physician Price Search, and Medical Tourism Search for the entire family! Each virtual doctor appointment costs only $54.99, a nurse appointment costs $39.99, and there are no subscription fees. We do recommend separate SAMI-Aid accounts for each adult who will be using the SAMI-Aid portal to store medical records. SAMI-Aid is committed to promoting your health and well-being at all stages of your journey, from prevention to treatment and beyond.