COVID-19 has changed seniors’ attitudes toward telehealth. As healthcare facilities locked down, canceling non-essential services, doctors and patients suddenly needed a safe and effective way to connect without putting them in physical contact with others. Prior to 2020, most patients had never had a virtual medical visit or therapy session. Now consumers across the country, of all ages, see the value of having options to get health care on the phone or online.
Telehealth for seniors is now at an all-time high, and both patients and practitioners expect remote care to continue.
Telehealth Gives Seniors Simple, Sensible Options
In addition to covering online visits with members’ regular providers, Zing Health offers MDLIVE, a service that gives members access to a board-certified physician via phone or secure video from home 24/7, including nights, weekends, and holidays. MDLIVE can be especially helpful when a member’s own physician isn’t available, or they can’t get an appointment that works for them. Telehealth in rural areas resolved many issues with access, mobility, and transportation—and revealed that even city neighborhoods share these problems.
MDLIVE physicians can diagnose and treat more than 80 common conditions without the need for an in-person exam or tests, including sinusitis, sore throat, allergies, cold and flu, ear pain, headaches, rash, and urinary tract infections. They can also help manage many chronic conditions and provide members with temporary refills for medications.
Members who have limited access to technology or difficulty using it have the option of calling MDLIVE’s 24/7 customer service line. Experienced in-house health service specialists are trained to answer member questions, assist with registration and medical history, help members request and schedule visits, and offer many other valuable services.
Receiving care at home or on the go is considerably more convenient and oftentimes safer. For both provider and patient, telehealth offers a safe way to reduce the risk of infection during this pandemic, during flu season, or when patients are in vulnerable health. It can also be convenient when patients are travelling or when poor weather makes transportation to the doctor’s office difficult.
The Future of Telehealth: Timely Solutions for Patients, Practitioners
Of course, telehealth is not intended to replace the patient’s relationship with their primary care physician. “Telehealth won’t replace brick-and-mortar practices,” said Cynthia B.R Zelis, MD, MDLIVE’s Chief Medical Officer. “There are many aspects of a patient’s care that need to be done in person. However, if a patient can get care through telehealth when appropriate, it reduces the time they need to spend in a doctor’s office or other healthcare setting.”
Virtual visits can address a wide range of non-urgent conditions, including life changes and caregiver support, but they are not meant to handle serious situations. In a medical emergency or a behavioral health crisis, patients should instead call 911 immediately.
“Health care as an industry must continue to evolve its approach to be more consumer centric,” said Zing Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sydney Ross-Davis “We must meet patients where they are and deliver care in a timely, cost-effective manner while respecting their time and preferences. Telehealth is one of many proven ways to connect with patients and deliver a faster, lower-cost experience. Imagine a future where care options are not constrained by geography or physical access to resources.”