At Carolina ENT, we remain committed to the health and safety of our patients and employees as the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread. We are taking aggressive steps to minimize person-to-person interaction, one of which is the introduction of virtual doctor visits.
How Does Telemedicine Work?
Though it’s always great to meet your healthcare professional in person, many patient visits do not need to occur face to face in order for an evaluation, diagnosis or treatment recommendation to be made.
Telemedicine connects patients with providers through a variety of methods.
Video visits allow you to see a medical professional from the comfort of your own home, and occur using a private video chat portal. These are becoming increasingly commonplace and even allow patients to show their medical provider visual symptoms via their phone or computer’s camera.
Phone appointments are ideal for follow-up visits with your medical provider. They are just as effective as an in-person visit and can make it possible to speak to a healthcare professional even if you do not have an internet connection or video-supported device.
Remote health services allow many medical practitioners to carry out the same duties they would during an in office visit, even when those duties traditionally required hands on care.
Some of today’s new hearing devices allow for remote programming adjustments. Depending on the model of your hearing aid, adjustments to sensitivity, range, and other settings may be carried out by your doctor during an e visit. Contact your medical provider to find out of if your hearing aid model supports this feature.
Curbside Drop Off
If you have a hearing device that is not equipped with remote programming or you need a simple repair, we may still be able to help. Contact our office ahead of time and arrange a time to drop your hearing aids off. We will call to discuss your programming needs, make any necessary adjustments and arrange for your pickup.
For minor repairs, we will make every attempt to service them on-site while you wait in your car.
Most ENT, allergy and audiology patients can utilize our telemedicine services.
Current patients are able to continue receiving follow-up care while new patients can complete their initial visit and begin seeking treatment. Many assessments can be performed during a virtual doctor visit.
If you or your provider feel you need an evaluation in person, that can be scheduled for a later date.
Benefits of Telemedicine
In addition to providing you with uninterrupted care, telemedicine offers a number of additional benefits, including:
- Eliminating transportation cost
- Decreasing need to take time off work
- Improving access to specialists
- Reducing the chance of catching illnesses
- Shortening waiting room times
What Do Patients Think of Telemedicine?
Patients and providers agree on the benefits of virtual care.
According to the Deloitte 2018 Surveys of US Health Care Consumers and Physicians, the top three benefits of telemedicine are:
- Improved patient access to care
- Improved patient satisfaction
- Staying connected with patients and their caregivers
In one recent study of hearing loss patients with dementia at the University of South Dakota Speech, Language, and Hearing Department, researchers found that teleaudiology can be even more effective than regular audiologic care.
Monitored and cared for remotely via real-time video calls, text and voice chat services, providers rated patients’ “general comprehension” as 4.5 on average on a 5-point scale in the teleaudiology period, compared to 2.7 when they weren’t using the remote service, adding that the remote service both decreased patients’ stress and improved their “alertness” and “awareness.”
How Much Does a Telehealth Visit Cost?
Your regular insurance will be billed for these visits and normal copays/deductibles will apply.
Does Medicare cover Telemedicine?
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has broadened access to Medicare telehealth services so that patients can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.
A range of providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers, will be able to offer telehealth to their patients. Additionally, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is providing flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid by federal healthcare programs.
There are three main types of virtual services physicians and other professionals can provide to Medicare beneficiaries:
- Medicare telehealth visits
- Virtual check-ins
We are here to support you during these difficult times. Contact us at (828) 322-2183 today to learn more about what telehealth services we offer or to schedule an appointment.