Epilepsy Talk

Coronavirus (COVID-19) — How To Get Instant Care | March 30, 2020

You wake up and you’re feeling crummy. You have a fever. You may be coughing. But because of the Coronavirus, your physician isn’t available. You panic.

In most states, you cannot even be tested for COVID-19.

It takes between 2 and 14 days for a newly infected person to start showing symptoms.

After symptoms begin to show, it can take more than a week for them to be eligible for testing. (Many people are not eligible at all.)

And then, thanks to backlogs in testing availability, it can take days for them to learn they tested positive.

Maybe you should go to Urgent Care. But they’re so overloaded, they might turn you away.

Emergency rooms won’t accept you unless you’re have a very high temperature and having trouble breathing.

That’s when they will take you and put you on a ventilator.

But what happens in between? Panic or medical care from an unexpected source?

The good new: As communication technology advances, your options for care are expanding.

Through telemedicine services, you can receive medical advice anytime, anywhere, without leaving the comfort of your home.

Telemedicine is is having a revolutionary effect on how patients can be seen and diagnosed today.

Telehealth, telemedicine, and related terms generally refer to the exchange of medical information from one site to another, through electronic communication to improve a patient’s health.

Innovative uses of this kind of technology in the provision of healthcare is increasing.

And with the emergence of the virus causing the disease COVID-19, there is an urgency to expand the use of technology to help people who need routine care, and keep vulnerable beneficiaries and beneficiaries with mild symptoms in their homes, while maintaining access to the care they need.

Limiting community spread of the virus, as well as limiting the exposure to other patients and staff members will slow viral spread.

The basics of telemedicine

Since the 1950s, healthcare providers have been offering remote services.

This allows patients to receive healthcare without leaving their home, office, dorm room, hotel, or beyond.

Telemedicine first began on landline telephones. With the advancement of technology, telemedicine has grown to offer services in a variety of ways.

This includes online portals managed by your doctor’s office, as well as affordable telemedicine platforms you can use directly without insurance, like GoodRx Care.

Telemedicine allows you to discuss symptoms, medical issues, and more with a healthcare provider in realtime.

Using telemedicine, you can receive a diagnosis, learn your treatment options, and  get a prescription.

In cases where it’s necessary, healthcare providers can even monitor readings from medical devices remotely to keep an eye on your condition.

There are 3 common types of telemedicine:

Interactive medicine:

Also called “live telemedicine,” this is when physicians and patients communicate in real time.

Remote patient monitoring:

This allows caregivers to monitor patients who use mobile medical equipment to collect data on things like blood pressure, blood sugar levels, etc.

Store and forward:

Providers can share a patient’s health information with other healthcare professionals or specialists.

The difference between telemedicine and telehealth

The terms telemedicine and telehealth sound the same, but they have a definite difference between them.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines telemedicine as “healing from a distance.”

This gives you the freedom to receive treatment without needing to schedule an appointment with your physician or go to their office for medical services.

HealthIT.gov defines telehealth as “the utilization of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical healthcare, patient and professional health education, public health and health administration.”

Telehealth is not a service. It is a way to improve patient care and physician education. Telehealth expands beyond telemedicine to cover non-clinical events like appointment scheduling, continuing medical education, and physician training.

There are few limitations to how telemedicine can be applied. Here are a few examples of how it is being used today.

Follow-up visits

Using health software for routine follow-up visits is not only more efficient for providers and patients, but it also increases the likelihood of follow-up, reducing missed appointments and improving patient outcomes.

Remote chronic disease management

The increasing rate of chronic disease is a major challenge for our health system. It is a prime candidate for the use of telemedicine software, because it makes it easier and less expensive for patients to maintain control over their health.

Remote post-hospitalization care

One telehealth program for patients with congestive heart failure reduced 30-day hospital readmissions by 73 percent and six-month readmissions by 50 percent.

Preventative care support

Weight loss and smoking cessation are the keys to reducing heart disease and a host of other conditions. Telemedicine can be a valuable tool in connecting providers with patients to make sure they get the support they need to be successful.

School based telehealth

When children become ill at school, they might visit a school nurse or be picked up by their parents and taken to an urgent care center. Some innovative districts have teamed up with doctors to conduct remote visits from the school. The provider can assess the urgency of the case and provide instructions or reassurance to parents.

Assisted living center support

Telemedicine software has already proven to be useful in keeping residence of assisted living facilities out of the hospital. Problems often occur at night or on weekends, making hospitalization the only option even for less urgent problems. With telemedicine, on-call doctors can conduct a remote visit to determine if hospitalization is necessary.

Does Medicare or Medicaid pay for telemedicine?

For Medicare patients, national telehealth policy sets many restrictions on patient location, services provided over telemedicine and facilities at which patients receive these services.

However, the Medicare Chronic Care Management Program is a national policy that set no such restrictions on practicing telemedicine.

Medicaid reimbursement varies from state to state, resulting in a patchwork of different policies and reimbursement requirements.

GoodRx Care, powered by HeyDoctor offers affordable online medical services to patients across the U.S, regardless of whether they have insurance or not. Most visits are just $20 (visits that include lab tests cost a bit more).

The American Medical Association has created a new resource for doctors to turn to for advice on telehealth in the age of the coronavirus.

It recently launched the AMA Telemedicine Quick Reference Guide, aimed at helping clinicians figure out best practices for implementing the tech. The guidelines cover everything from policy and coding to implementation.

The association also kicked off a virtual panel discussion on telemedicine and COVID-19, where clinicians can give their input and share experiences.

The site includes a list of physicians deemed experts on using the technology in today’s climate. Doctors can post questions on the panel and can get answers from other doctors and the experts.

Another component to the association’s coronavirus efforts is a new resource on the code of ethics during the coronavirus pandemic.

Doctors can also tap into a collection of AMA Journal articles on related ethics.

WHY IT MATTERS

With thousands reported coronavirus cases, doctors are scrambling to meet the needs of the growing patient population.

Many in the healthcare industry are turning to telemedicine as a way to meet patient needs, while also keeping providers healthy, which is very important, indeed.

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References:

https://evisit.com/resources/what-is-telemedicine/

https://www.goodrx.com/blog/what-is-telemedicine/

https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/medicare-telemedicine-health-care-provider-fact-sheet

https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/ama-launches-telemedicine-quick-reference-guide-help-docs-implement-tech-during-covid-19

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/patients/new-telemedicine-strategies-help-hospitals-address-covid-19

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/3/26/21191702/coronavirus-lockdowns-stay-home-new-cases?ncid=newsltushpmgnews

 


27 Comments »

  1. Thank you for all of this, Phylis. There’s an added problem if you live alone and you’re feeling seriously ill right now – how to get to the hospital.

    They tell you not to drive yourself. Uber and Lyft don’t do ER runs. Ambulances are overworked as well as health workers. Do you want to risk your friends’ lives by asking for a ride?

    Wash your hands. Eat beans. Breathe in and out alternately.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by HoDo — March 30, 2020 @ 2:23 PM

  2. Boy, as for getting to the hospital, you’ve got me stumped.

    You’d probably have better luck with telemed. That’s what it’s there for.

    Screening, diagnosis and care.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 30, 2020 @ 2:54 PM

    • The site looks super, excellent credentials. I have passed the word to friends particularly at risk. Again, many thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by HoDo — March 31, 2020 @ 11:07 AM

  3. I might be the only Albertan that thinks that’s a good idea. During our covid crisis our Premier has announced a partnership with Telus (communications) and Babylon (Health) for virtual medical visits, prescriptions, referrals, etc. I know my neurologist treats remote patients this way, so why can’t other doctors? Some of our communities are not large enough to have a medical practice.
    While for the most part I don’t like our Premier (he reminds me of Trump) I think this is a good idea for people who can’t physically go to a clinic.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Marlyn — March 30, 2020 @ 8:02 PM

    • I haven’t tried it myself, but I know my niece tried it with great success.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 31, 2020 @ 10:20 AM

    • I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU MARLYN!! And “NO” YOUR NOT THE ONLY ALBERTAN WHO FEELS THAT WAY!!!!!!! My family doctor and pharmacist actually called and told me “DON’T LEAVE!!” And my pharmacist drops everything off on my doorknob (but calls prior to coming). However me being who I am (a bit of a “REBEL” sometimes) I MUST ADMIT I think even I am ready to start begging my OLD DOCTOR to come out of retirement because Alberta Health seems to be “backlogged”. I know here (in Alberta) we have to get online and fill something out and then maybe call a 1-800 number first!! I found it awful when I couldn’t even breath or get out of bed to find that out and I couldn’t handle the light of a computer!!!!!!! As for a neurologist I’m STILL WAITING FROM THE ONE I SEEN BEGINNING OF DECEMBER!! I simply lived off of a drink combination of “real lemon, ginger root, garlic, and honey” and then mint and sage tea with a cold/flu medication. But even now I STILL FEEL IT!! Or maybe that’s numbness and tire fast!! I was also instructed NOT TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL!! So I never bothered except I knew when my sodium levels were dropping!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — April 17, 2020 @ 11:30 PM

  4. I have my son now!! Yes we are finally home safe and sound as well. But I must admit I have never wished SO BADLY that “RIGS” WOULD SHUT DOWN!! Please make sure you have all the vitamins you need as well and if possible have extra on hand! He’s also been bumped up from an “ESSENTIAL WORKER” to a “CRITICAL WORKER” now. The last time he was home I secretly put in his bag extra gravol, cough and cold (non DM), Tylenol, and Himalayan salt so he doesn’t get dehydrated

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — March 30, 2020 @ 8:06 PM

  5. Ty for the information and the update

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Heather — March 31, 2020 @ 3:06 PM

  6. There has been a rain of offers of telemedicine this morning, but none with the backing or credentials of GoodRX. I’m thinking people are cobbling things together and hiring the retired and recent grads.
    Also brings in cash. I feel both hopeful and skeptical.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — March 31, 2020 @ 3:27 PM

    • I’m more hopeful myself.

      If you look at the actual facetime pictures, some of them are around “our” age. (Or maybe retired, which isn’t a bad thing. At least they have lots of experience.)

      But yes, I agree. Telemedicine would be a good place to start if you didn’t have a hospital affiliation.

      However, if you trust GoodRX, go with your gut. They seem to be at the forefront of this whole thing, according to my research.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 31, 2020 @ 4:04 PM

  7. And in the news this morning, word that telemedicine sites are overwhelmed.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — April 1, 2020 @ 3:07 PM

  8. The corona virus scare triggering national & local state of emergency, public authorities declaring & restricting the population to “shelter in place”, shutting down businesses, curtailing public transportation & making it difficult to see my Neurologist for previously scheduled appointment at the hospital today, it was just pleasing to get a call from the Neurologist at the very same scheduled time of the appointment & making it possible & convinient to adjust my prescriptions drugs over the phone & mail my seizure prescriptions to my home, without having to deal with the transportation ordeal & face the risk of getting infected with corona virus at the hospital.
    Thanks to my caring Neurologist, she made my day a whole lot more pleasant than I anticipated, lifting & heavy load of concerns & difficulties.
    Therefore, in the advanced era of technological miracles, I believe Doctors should be encouraged to provide medical services on line & help their patients in desperate need of medical services.
    Gerrie

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — April 2, 2020 @ 6:37 AM

    • Some doctors actually have a portal (like mine) where you can speak to them directly and get the care you need.

      But I agree, telemedicine’s time has come.

      Sometimes desperation leads to innovation.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — April 2, 2020 @ 10:16 AM

      • It has been said, necessity is the mother of invention.
        Therefore, considering the need for medical remedy in the era of global pandemic spreading like wildfire all over the world, it’s obviously becoming urgently necessary to seek & have access to medical treatment by any means necessary.
        Therefore, it won’t be too long before hospitals in mass joining Telemedicine providing health services online, making it convinient to cure for patients in need of immediate medical advice & assistance.
        Thanks to the global panic over corona virus forcing global populations to stay at home & shelter in place, it’s looking like the time is right for Telemedicine.
        Gerrie

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — April 2, 2020 @ 6:02 PM

  9. As I said to HoDo, I wish I had bought some of GoodRx Care stock! 🙂

    The future is here NOW.

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — April 2, 2020 @ 6:06 PM

    • I believe it’s still a private company, so no regrets.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by HoDo — April 2, 2020 @ 6:25 PM

      • Nope. A friend of mine bought stock when it was $20 a share. Now, it’s going through the roof.

        He’s a smart guy. And a good guy. It’s nice to see good things happen to good people.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — April 2, 2020 @ 6:30 PM

      • Sigh!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by HoDo — April 2, 2020 @ 6:45 PM

  10. The American Academy of Neurology has COVID-19 tips for people with neurological disorders in their online magazine, brainandlife.org.

    Staying hydrated is a lot easier when you’re stuck indoors.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — April 4, 2020 @ 3:10 PM

    • HoDo, the source of all great resources.

      Once again, thank you.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — April 4, 2020 @ 3:45 PM

      • The magazine was a freebie in the neurologist’s office, and a hard copy subscription is free. They cover a wide range of neurological conditions.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by HoDo — April 4, 2020 @ 3:59 PM


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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