Why Telemedicine Can Be as Good as Walk-in Urgent Care
What Makes Telemedicine Better Than Walk-in Urgent Care?
One of the most important benefits of telemedicine is easy access. Patients can receive medical advice or treatment without traveling to a medical office or having to spend time in a waiting room. For primary care visits, wait times for an appointment are often measured in days or weeks. For urgent care, most facilities have average wait times of less than 20 minutes, but telemedicine urgent care wait times are similarly short and do not require the patient to leave home. Telemedicine also reduces overhead costs for medical offices, enabling doctors and other clinicians to treat more patients per day and to leave more office visit time slots and hospital beds open for patients who truly need them. Telemedicine doctor visits cost about $60 to $75 on average, which is less than half the cost of a typical urgent care visit which is around $155. With SAMI-Aid, the costs are even lower!
When Should I Choose Telemedicine Over Urgent Care?
If you are suffering from an acute condition that is not life-threatening; if you don't have a primary care physician at all; if the wait time to see your doctor is too long; if you need follow-up care, a second opinion, or a prescription refill, then telemedicine is a great option to consider! However, if you are experiencing a true medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or visiting an emergency room immediately.
What Are the Different Types of Telemedicine?
There are two main categories of telemedicine technology: real-time and store-and-forward. There are several types of telemedicine services which may fall under one or both of these two umbrellas; these include live remote consultations, remote patient monitoring, mobile health applications, and more.
Real-time telemedicine consultations—via phone- or video-conferencing—are the most common telemedicine service, allowing patients to easily connect with clinicians such as doctors, nurses, or therapists. Conferences can take place via the patient's desktop, laptop, or even mobile phone. The clinician may do a visual examination of the patient via photography or video taken by the patient. Telemedicine consultations are conducted in real-time and may involve therapy, counseling, physical examinations, diagnoses, and prescriptions.
Store-and-forward telemedicine technology involves the transfer of medical information remotely and asynchronously, and is typically used for specialty care rather than primary care. Clinician reports, demographic data, medical records, and even files such as radiology images and videos can be transferred digitally from patients to their specialist providers, who can then use the information obtained remotely to diagnose and treat their patients later on.
What Conditions Can Doctors Treat Remotely via Telemedicine?
Telemedicine doctors can remotely treat the most common conditions and ailments for which patients would usually need to go to urgent care. These conditions and ailments include the following:
- Arthritic Pain
- Bladder Infections
- Cold and Flu Viruses
- Ear Problems
- Insect Bites
- Pink Eye
- Respiratory Infections
- Skin Inflammations
- Sore Throats
- Sports Injuries
- Sprains & Strains
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
If you are experiencing any of the above conditions, you can likely save money and avoid the waiting room by calling a telemedicine doctor. You can obtain most prescription medications—including antibiotics—via telemedicine; only DEA controlled substances and some lifestyle drugs are not available via SAMI-Aid's telemedicine service. There is no guarantee that a doctor will grant a certain prescription; a responsible doctor will only grant the prescriptions which he or she deems necessary.
SAMI-Aid's Telemedicine Solutions
SAMI-Aid membership includes a free telemedicine video call to a doctor, and membership costs only $4.99 per month! Subsequent calls with a doctor cost only $54.99, which is much lower than the market price of around $75. SAMI-Aid's doctors are board-certified and can provide advice, a diagnosis, and prescriptions for medication if necessary. If a telemedicine consultation does not suffice, the doctor can then refer the patient to primary, specialty, or urgent care elsewhere. Our doctors also send our members a report documenting each visit, and can recommend the best local pharmacies.