10 Telemedicine Myths Busted that Proves Access To Healthcare is Easy in Albuquerque

Well Life ABQ

September 2, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M -- Getting sick nowadays poses bigger challenges. Other than medical costs, you face exposure to COVID-19 when you go to a medical facility. Your time and effort visiting a medical practitioner add to the hassle.

What can save your time, effort, and money? Accessing healthcare through telemedicine provides a practical solution.  It’s healthcare delivery with the use of technology. 

You won’t have to visit a medical practitioner personally. Instead, it allows you to interact with a medical representative whenever and wherever you need it.

Let’s bust some telemedicine myths to help you understand how it benefits you:

  • Myth 1: Telemedicine is a new technology brought about by the pandemic.
  • Myth 2: It’s the last healthcare option.
  • Myth 3: It’s risky because it lacks a physical exam.
  • Myth 4: It’s just for acute care.
  • Myth 5: It’s only for people residing in far-flung rural areas.
  • Myth 6: People don’t use telemedicine because it’s a waste of time.
  • Myth 7: It’s too complicated.
  • Myth 8: Telemedicine isn’t secure and threatens your privacy.
  • Myth 9: It’s not cost-effective. 
  • Myth 10: It ruins the medical practitioner-client relationship.

Myth 1: Telemedicine is a new technology brought about by the pandemic.

Reality: Telemedicine serves as a viable option. But it’s not the last resort for people seeking healthcare. Primary care and follow-up care use Telemedicine. It can be a good or bad option depending on the circumstance.

Telemedicine is not an innovation due to the pandemic. A form of telemedicine started way back in the 1960s. A decade later, it was labeled “telemedicine,” which means “healing at a distance.” 

The use of telehealth and telemedicine, though, surged during the pandemic. Healthcare facilities adapted telemedicine for inpatient and outpatient services. CDC reports a 154% increase in telehealth in March 2020 compared to 2019.

The state government of New Mexico (NM) recognized telemedicine’s emergence during the pandemic. As a result, in March 2020, the Office of Superintendent of Insurance released Bulletin 2020-005. It allowed the use and reimbursement of telemedicine for COVID-19 emergencies. 

Myth 2: It’s the last healthcare option.

Reality: Telemedicine serves as a viable option. But it’s not the last resort for people seeking healthcare. Primary care and follow-up care use Telemedicine. It can be a good or bad option depending on the circumstance.

Telemedicine allows medical practitioners to see and hear you. For example, they can listen to you when you cough. Or they can see when you have rashes on your skin. 

However, some health conditions require face-to-face interaction. For instance, they won’t be able to listen to your heartbeat. Or they won’t feel your skin through telemedicine.

You can still benefit from telemedicine for non-urgent health issues. Telemedicine is helpful when you have a chronic disease that needs follow-up care or monitoring. You get to discuss and receive medical advice through telemedicine.

Telemedicine benefits you in many ways, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Myth 3: It’s risky because it lacks a physical exam. 

Reality: Telemedicine myths include an inevitable disadvantage. It can never replace face-to-face interaction with a medical practitioner. You won’t get the proper physical examination or proceed with labs if needed. 

 You won’t receive a compromised quality of care. Again, it depends on the medical condition. There are times when a physical exam is not required, like minor or non-urgent cases. A medical history and current symptoms often suffice to make a diagnosis. In addition, telemedicine can be safe for post-surgery and follow-up medical care. 
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) supports telemedicine. AAFP says it’s an “appropriate and effective means of improving health when conducted within the context of appropriate standards of care.”

Myth 4: It’s just for acute care.

Reality: Telemedicine is a good alternative to acute care. You won’t have to rush to the ER, which can be costly and time-consuming. Plus, you can be at greater risk of catching viruses. Finally, telehealth use doubled during the pandemic based on its 2020 online survey among 2,081 US adults.

A 2019 study suggests telehealth as more effective in specific cases. For one, emergency medical services access to telehealth reduced deaths due to heart attacks. 

However, a 2021 study reveals that telemedicine for acute respiratory infections led to more follow-up visits. 

Regardless of the medical condition, people are willing to use telehealth. According to a 2019 Harris Poll survey, 66% of Americans wanted to seek medical help online for their chronic disease. 

The online survey further reveals telehealth usage depends on the age group. Millennials want it for their mental health care. In comparison, middle-aged adults want it for acute care. Older adults wish to it for chronic disease management and prescription refills.

Myth 5: It’s only for people residing in far-flung rural areas.

Reality: Its original function adds to the telemedicine myths. Telemedicine served as a healthcare tool for people living in remote or rural areas. As the internet became accessible to many people, telemedicine usage also increased.

Hospitals located anywhere now provide an emergency response through telemedicine. At the same time, the NM government allows in-state telemedicine. Direct primary care providers like Well Life Family Practice are licensed to offer telemedicine in Albuquerque.

In 2019, the NM government enacted SB 354 or “Health Coverage for Telemedicine.” This bill prevents site restrictions and limited coverage. It allows reimbursements, too.  So, regardless of your location in NM, you can access telemedicine. 

Myth 6: People don’t use telemedicine because it’s a waste of time.

Reality: People don’t like waiting for things because they value their time. It can be in a supermarket or a clinic. 

A traditional setup starts with scheduling an appointment. The 2017 Merritt Hawkins Survey reveals getting an appointment takes about 24 days. This appointment waiting time has increased by 30% since 2014.

To be more specific, a study found registration time took about 15 minutes. Once you get to the clinic, you have to wait for an average of 41 minutes. The study further reveals actual consultation with the medical practitioner was 18.21 minutes. You also have to consider the travel time to get to the clinic.  

Telemedicine is faster than traditional clinic visits in three ways. First, you delete your travel time and waiting time from the equation.

Second, it quickly responds to ER cases. A study shows telemedicine reduced wait times in ER hospitals by six minutes than those not using it. In remote areas, telemedicine delivered medical services 14 minutes earlier than local providers.

Third, it works for dental and visual health issues, too. About 78% of participants in a study said they are likely to use teledentistry within five years. Another study found that 70% are interested in virtual eye care consults.

Myth 7: It’s too complicated.

One of the apparent telemedicine myths is its usability. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use telemedicine. It’s simple, like using Skype or FaceTime. All you need is your internet-connected smartphone or any device with audio and video. It’s a platform where you can share images or videos with someone on a screen.

Telemedicine providers have different platforms. But they instruct and help you on how to use their system. Video calls are better since a medical practitioner sees your health concern. For example, you get to show your rashes, sore eyes, or a lump. These visuals result in better diagnosis. 

However, some people still find it overwhelming. There’s always an option to make a phone call during clinic hours.

Myth 8: Telemedicine is not secure and threatens your privacy.

Anything online poses a risk to privacy and security. But telemedicine platforms are designed to be secure. They comply with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations with high-grade security settings. In addition, most, if not all, platforms are encrypted from end to end.

Your medical information and conversations are kept safe. The data protection act ensures it. Well Life Family Practice protects any information about you.  And without your consent, no one shares it with anyone. You can ask us more about the telemedicine platform to ease your doubts.

You can also prevent leaking information at your end. In the office or home, you can find a private spot. You can do a video/audio call there without anyone hearing or interrupting you.

Well Life Family Practice pegs its membership fee at $75 a month. It covers other services with telemedicine.

Myth 9: It’s not cost-effective. 

Reality: Cost-effectiveness is one of the telemedicine myths debatable today. Researchers conducted a review on the cost-utility and cost-effectiveness of telemedicine from 2000-2013. They found telemedicine for specific conditions can reduce costs, but not all.

Telemedicine is the least expensive compared to other forms of healthcare delivery. For example, on-site care cost $1,166 per person in a year based on a study. In contrast, routine care amounts to $585. Telemedicine, though, is more cost-effective at $335.

From a practical point of view, it saves money for you. You won’t spend on gas or transport to visit the medical facility. Using telemedicine won’t compromise your productive time at work. Likewise, as an employer, you won’t worry about lost productivity for absent employees. 

Myth 10: It ruins the healthcare provider/client relationship

Reality: Telemedicine doesn’t intend to replace clinic visits. It serves as a viable option for minor health issues and chronic disease management. It’s advantageous when you can’t physically visit the clinic due to extraordinary cases.

Examples are during the COVID-19 pandemic and critical life-threatening emergencies. It also includes living remotely or being very busy at work.

At the same time, telemedicine can’t replace face-to-face consultation with a medical practitioner. But telemedicine can still deliver health care when it’s needed. You can still talk to a medical practitioner as if you’re in a clinic.

The importance lies in the quality of the conversation between you and the medical practitioner. Moreover, the healthcare team can assist you should you need to visit the clinic.

Takeaway

It’s an innovative healthcare tool with its benefits and downsides. Unfortunately, telemedicine myths can affect your decision to use them. But, based on reality, it works well for non-critical acute care and chronic disease monitoring.

Telemedicine saves your time and effort. At the same time, it’s cost-effective in delivering healthcare. Well Life Family Practice offers telemedicine with a fixed monthly fee. So, you can access it all year round, anytime and anywhere in Albuquerque.

Grab the $75 monthly fee for 24/7 telemedicine INCLUSIVE of other healthcare services at the Well Life Family Practice.

Telemedicine Myths Well Life ABQ Direct Primary Care Infographic
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