Why Dependency on Telehealth Can Be Dangerous

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People seem to love receiving their health care online, but it is truly health care?

Although, often looked at as one in the same, telehealth and telemedicine are two different types of online health care services. Telemedicine refers specifically to online doctor visits, while telehealth also includes health-related education services like diabetes management or nutrition courses and health-related training. For this article we will keep it simple and refer to it as telehealth.

What is Telehealth

Telehealth is a service that uses video calling to help you see your doctor or other health care provider from home instead of at a medical facility. This is done from the screen on your phone or computer.

According to the National Institute of Aging, (( Due to COVID-19, health care providers may increase their use of telehealth services to keep patients and health care providers safe. Recent policy changes during the COVID-19 pandemic have helped reduce barriers to telehealth access and have promoted the use of telehealth as a way to deliver acute, chronic, primary, and specialty care. ))

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Telehealth is Popular

It has become so popular that many states are expanding the service.
A lot of Doctors love it and that might be something you want to wonder about. What is the benefit to them from not seeing you in person?

There are a great number of people who are loving this whole online Doctor visit thing for several reasons. One being fear. According to the CDC more than 40% of patients avoided or delayed appointments in person and even skipped medical procedures out of fear of catching Covid in the office or hospital.

But is Fear the only reason?

They fail to mention that there are a number of patients who have avoided in-person visits because they cannot or will not wear a mask which is still the demand in nearly all hospitals and clinics, even now (April 2021.)

I have an upcoming appointment with a doctor whose office is within a hospital. I had a chat with them just to see how far they really go in forced mask wearing. Claustrophobic? Yep, you still wear a mask. Panic Attacks? Yes, slap that thing on anyway. On oxygen? -we think you can cover your mouth and nose anyway. And your disability and medical exemptions are worthless.

When Telehealth is Beneficial

Using an online portal to check your test results, request prescription refills, send your doctor a message, or schedule an appointment.

Using an online portal to check your test results, request prescription refills, send your doctor a message, or schedule an appointment.

Coordinating care between your primary care provider and any specialists you visit—including the sharing of exam notes and test results between medical offices in different locations.

Actual Telemedicine is a bit different: (a doctor visit) may be fine for minor issues. You might have some questions that can be answered without the need of an in-person visit.

But seriously: When have you ever went to a Doctor for anything where they did not need to take your vitals or look you over depending on your problem? Where they didn’t need to do something else?

Oh, but wait!.. You can buy some of your own equipment such as a blood pressure cuff and a pulse oximeter to read your oxygen levels and heart rate. This way you can take some of your own vitals and give them to the Doctor or Nurse during your telehealth visit. I hope they are giving you a financial break while your doing your own vitals.

Consider the reasons you go to a Doctor. Generally because something is wrong. Then ask yourself this question. Can they correctly assess and address your problem over a computer screen?

Telehealth is Not a good thing for many reasons.

It seems that we need a reminder that telehealth is not a replacement for in-person care as there are a lot of medical situations that can not be handled correctly thru telehealth. I would say most of them.

When I see my Cardio Doc for my annual checkup, not only vitals but an EKG is always part of the visit. Those things are impossible via Telehealth. Yet…. they have informed me we can do a visit via telehealth if I will not wear a mask. It is impossible for them to do an accurate assessment of my heart issue without seeing me in person. However, they do not seem to be the least bit concerned about it. Nor did they care about my medical exemption regarding other issues I face that prevent me from covering my nose and mouth.

My yearly check up was scheduled for November of 2020. I had a long conversation with them at that time and the appointment was canceled. Now its April of 2021. It does not take much for me to decide that they really do not care if they see me at all, either in person or via a screen.

Maybe you need to see your pulmonologist. They need to do the breathing test to decide where your at and if you need your oxygen and/or meds adjusted. You can’t do that via telehealth and no mask no in-person.

More Downsides to Telehealth

Some patients may be reluctant to download an app and maintain an additional login, while others may not be technology-literate and worry about connecting when it’s time for their virtual appointment.

You can’t do things like imaging tests. blood work, or routine and preventative screenings, such as a mammogram.

The security of personal health data transmitted electronically is a concern. And, while insurance companies are increasingly covering the cost of telehealth visits during covid, some services may not be fully covered, leading to out-of-pocket costs.

And simply – It’s impossible to conduct a physical exam virtually.

Even with all of this knowledge, Many Doctors and patients alike are relying on telehealth far more often than they should and that can be dangerous. The example of my Cardiologist (above) shows just how this can happen. A in-person visit, could very well prevent a serious situation from occurring.

PIN IT.. Thank you

With all of this being said there are some things we can do to fight back when it comes to these masks. I have done it and won my argument along with going mask free to an in-person visit. If that is something your interested in, I highly recommend checking out thehealthyamerican.org and scroll thru the Document section.

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