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What Is Telemedicine?

If you like the idea of seeing your health care provider over a video conference on your laptop or smartphone, you are not alone. According to research by Software Advice, 75 percent of survey respondents are interested in trying telemedicine. Telemedicine has been used in a limited way for decades, but it is only now becoming more mainstream. This is because so many people have access to high-speed internet connections and the devices necessary to perform a video visit. The approach is popular with patients due to its many advantages. Here are a few:

Convenience —Visits can be performed from the comfort of your own home.

Access —Telemedicine provides greater availability for patients who might not otherwise be able to travel to our location to have access to one of our clinicians.

Quality —Greater access to your provider means more time spent on your care.

Telehealth is currently only available to patients in the D.C., Virginia, and Maryland area.

When Can Video Visits Replace In-Office Visits?

Medical Nutrition Management
Many of the services provided by a registered dietitian can be performed in a telemedicine visit. Follow-Up: Providers often recommend a follow-up visit after beginning a course of treatment. These visits are important to the ultimate resolution or management of the problem. Doing them remotely makes it easier for you to follow your health care provider’s recommendations.

Medication Management
Patients who are on a medication for a long time may enjoy the convenience of video visits for medication management.

Reviewing Test Results
A video visit is an excellent way for a provider to discuss laboratory or radiology results without requiring the patient to trek into the office.

Lifestyle Coaching
People working to lose weight or quit smoking can benefit from regular video coaching and treatment plan management.

However, there are still some types of visits that require an in-office appointment. These include: 

  • Urgent or sick visits 
  • Follow-up visits that require a physical examination 
  • Annual physical/wellness exams

Your clinician will help determine which type of visit is best for you.

Will My Insurance Cover Telemedicine?

Many state legislators recognize the advantages of telemedicine for patients and the health care system as a whole. In fact, 30 states, including Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, have passed laws requiring private insurance companies to reimburse providers for video visits. Many insurance companies also see the value of telehealth and pay for video visits even when they are not required to by law. Just like a regular office visit, you may be required to pay a co-pay for your video visit. We will help you determine if your policy will cover telemedicine. If you have an insurance that does not cover telemedicine, you have the option to pay out of pocket if you would like to use the service.

Medicare has a telemedicine coverage approach that is intentionally limited in scope. Its goal is to make sure that patients in remote and rural areas have access to a specialist that may not be available nearby. Therefore, patients must live in what is known as a Health Professional Shortage Area that is outside a metropolitan area.

For patients with Medicaid or a Medicaid HMO, there are also limitations based on access and individual plans. Certain kinds of visits are covered by certain carriers under specific circumstances, and these vary. We will help you determine if your specific plan will cover telemedicine visits.

Privacy and Security

You have every right to be concerned about the privacy and security of your confidential medical information. While today’s digital world offers a lot of convenience, there are risks. Our telemedicine platform (Chiron Health) has been designed specifically to protect your patient information and meet the strict standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA for short.

How To Schedule a Telemedicine Visit

Scheduling a telemedicine visit with our practice works the same way as scheduling an in-office visit. Simply call our office at 202-527-7500 and speak to our front desk staff.

If your clinician feels your care necessitates an in-office visit, we will communicate that to you.

Why Choose Telemedicine?

No transportation time or costs: When you see your health care provider on your mobile device or computer, you can save money on gas, parking, and public transportation. Even better, you don’t waste time traveling or risk running into a traffic jam that makes you late for your appointment, or worse, late getting back to work.

No need to take time off work: Speaking of work, video visits largely remove the need to take time off. You can be anywhere that offers sufficient privacy and a secure internet connection. You can comply with your health care provider’s follow-up instructions and maintain your health without missing a day of work or wasting your precious paid time off.

Eliminate child or elder care issues: Many of us have the responsibility for caring for children or older adults. Finding alternative care so that you can see a health care provider can be difficult and expensive. Bringing them along can be stressful or impractical. Fortunately, telemedicine solves this challenge by allowing you to see your health care provider while upholding your family responsibilities.