I think we can all agree that 2020 isn’t the year we thought it was going to be. We had New Year’s resolutions, goals, hopes and dreams for the new decade; we were expecting 2020 to mimic the roaring 1920s not a repeat of The Great Depression. As much as the year has been problematic, it has also been productive in many ways. We are realizing what meetings can be conducted over email or a video conference call, and technology has become our best friend.

This year the medical field has advanced years within the first months of 2020 alone. With shelter-in-place orders forcing us to stay home, there was a huge push toward video visits with medical providers also known as telehealth. Lawmakers have been working overtime to pass legislation for insurances to cover payments for telehealth services.

You ask, what can telehealth offer me? Isn’t this just a phone call?

Telehealth is way more than a phone call. Your personal history, or what you tell your medical provider about your problem, is the most important information you offer whether in person or on a video visit. The physical signs of your health issue many times confirm what your health history alludes to.

However, your medical provider can observe body movements as well as have you test yourself or palpate body structures to give the medical provider more information on the call. Your primary care provider can gather enough information to offer treatment, medication or refer to other providers. Your physical therapist can show you ways to manage your problems independently with instructions on exercises for stretching, strengthening and education regarding postural changes or tips for your work at home set up.

Telehealth offers a way to continue receiving medical treatments, heal from injuries, diagnose conditions, and rule out serious conditions among many other things. We don’t have to halt our medical care.

When things get back to normal, telehealth will still be here for us. It will be an amazing option to connect conveniently with medical providers when getting a moment from our busy lives to stop at the clinic seems impossible. Let’s embrace technology for our health.

By Dr. Laurel Mines

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