Some doctors worry that the use of virtual visits may be exaggerated
If there is no need to see a doctor, please do a virtual consultation. This is the message that some companies and insurance companies are spreading through the new wave of services.
Amazon and several insurance companies have started or expanded their telemedicine plans, trying to get people to use it daily and even conduct annual check-ups. They hope to use the system that was prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic to make it easier for patients to consult.
Proponents of this new virtual consultation method say that the health of patients can be taken care of without expensive hospital visits. This makes insurance companies and insurance companies satisfied because it can afford most of the costs.
However, some doctors worry that the use of virtual visits may be exaggerated.
Andrew Carroll, a general practitioner in Arizona and a member of the American College of Family Physicians, said: “Without interpersonal contact, you will lose a lot, at least once.”
Telemedicine involves consulting at a distance through video calls. It has been around for many years and has been expanding before the pandemic. But it is difficult for patients to contact doctors who know them.
Now it’s about simplifying things.
There are many suggestions, but the basic idea is to enable people to contact a team of doctors who know the members of the plan. The team may include doctors, nurses or physician assistants, and they may differ from the patient’s condition. Patients can also send messages or emails, and make video calls.
Those who choose this system may have to see a doctor in person. They also need a multifunctional phone, tablet or computer, and a good internet connection.
The goal of the program that prioritizes virtual contact is to make patients feel healthier and reduce visits to Google searches or neighborhood clinics to solve minor problems.
Arielle Trzcinski, an analyst at Forrester, a company that works with insurance companies, said: “Even if they often have health insurance that pays for them, a large part of the population avoids seeing a doctor because they don’t have time or money.”
Amazon Care connects patients with a team of doctors. In some markets, if they need to consult in person, they will send nurses to provide on-site services. Amazon said it has designed the program for employees but will provide it to other companies.
Insurance companies such as Oscar Health, UnitedHealthcare, and Kaiser Permanente have launched or expanded virtual counseling service plans. Priority Health in Michigan began selling plans for people without job guarantee insurance after noticing that customers were not seeing doctors as often as expected.
Vice President Carrie Kincaid said Priority Health has discovered that many people do not miss the job of seeing a doctor. Retirees travel frequently and don’t have time to see a doctor in Michigan.
He said that the new plan had an immediate impact, with more than 5,000 signings on the first day.
He said: “When people have virtual consultations, they feel very happy.”
Wendy Katje accidentally joined the Priority Health virtual visit program, but said she plans to stick to it. She is 60 years old and suffers from multiple sclerosis. She said that the doctors of the plan helped her adjust her cholesterol medication and that she still keeps in touch with the neurologist who visits in person.
Katje said that virtual travel during the pandemic is very timely because she wants to avoid waiting rooms.
“This is not a personal contact when I go to the office, it’s what I need, and it fits perfectly,” said Carteye, who lives in Ossego, Michigan.
Walter Woodberry from Albuquerque, New Mexico participated in a program. After rehearsing several virtual consultations and getting to know them, he prioritized virtual tours through cooperation with ABF Freight Sort.
He said he didn’t have to leave work early to appoint doctors, and he liked the idea of talking to doctors who knew him.
He said: “I don’t have to organize my life around medical appointments.”
Carroll emphasized that face-to-face interviews are still necessary. He said that he recently had an in-person consultation with a patient and realized that he had a type of glaucoma not found in the virtual consultation. The man is in danger of losing his sight.
Doctors are still discussing which problems can be solved through virtual visits and which ones need to be visited in person. The new telemedicine-based plan includes in-person visits only in emergency situations or at the request of a doctor or patient.
Dr. Megan Mahony of Stanford University estimates that half of the routine visits can be done virtually.
He added that 30% to 40% of their consultations are virtual, and this pandemic has made people more open to telemedicine.
He said: “Our tendency to have virtual consultations with people is natural, but we see that 89-year-olds have virtual consultations every week without any problems,” he said.