7 Telehealth Myths Debunked
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth and virtual visits have increased in popularity. In addition to in-person visits, Ochsner Health has two options for patients. For urgent care needs, you can use Ochsner Connected Anywhere. For video visits with your provider, you can use MyOchsner Virtual Visits. While virtual visits are is growing rapidly in popularity, there are still myths and uncertainty surrounding these services.
Here are seven of the most common myths surrounding telehealth:
Myth #1: Telehealth is too new
Although telemedicine has become increasingly popular in recent years, it has actually been successfully used since the 1960s. In fact, it was proposed in “Science and Invention” Magazine in the 1920s! In practice, doctors have been able to check pacemakers over the phone, read MRIs and other radiology scans from distant locales. Telehealth can provide the highest level of care for their patients in ICU from remote locations.
Ochsner started using telehealth technology in the late 1990s for reading echocardiograms in children. We’ve been caring for patients through our telestroke program since 2009, teleICU since 2012, telepsychiatry since 2016. Each year we see a multitude of specialty care services adding telehealth services. Our doctors see over 200,000 patients at more than 40 facilities every year through CareConnect 360, our telehealth network. We provide cardiac care, high-risk women’s services, and advanced interpretation services – capabilities other local hospitals may not have. InnovationOchsner (iO) also offers digital medicine programs for monitoring hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure and pregnancy care. There are more uses for telemedicine than ever before!
Myth #2: Telehealth is only for people who do not live near a hospital
Telehealth is ideal for those without convenient access to medical care, but that is just one of the advantages. Our telehealth platform, Ochsner Connected Anywhere Care, offers unfettered access to our growing network of telehealth providers via virtual visits over your smartphone, tablet, or computer 24/7, 365 days a year! It is great if you need a second opinion, are on vacation, need a prescription refilled or are just too busy to get to the doctor.
Myth #3: Telehealth is just about urgent care
While it is true telehealth services can be a viable alternative to visiting an urgent care or the ER, patients agree that is not the only benefit. In a recent Harris Poll, 60% of those surveyed said they would like to see a doctor online to help manage their chronic conditions. Telehealth can enhance and increase access to longitudinal care in our health system for patients with chronic health conditions.
Myth #4: Doctors can not examine what they need to know over the phone
At one time, telehealth was often just a phone call with a healthcare provider. As technology has evolved so has telehealth. We have increased the ability to offer face-to-face audiovisual visits even with add-on peripheral tools to provide more data as needed, such as with our TytoHealth system. Telehealth allows today, more than ever a much more personal interaction between provider and patient. In times when a more thorough examination is required, you will be referred for an in-person visit
Myth #5: Telehealth costs too much
Even with insurance, the average cost of an Emergency Room visit can cost upwards of $1200 to even $1600. To contrast, according to a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, the average cost of a common urgent care visit was $155. Ochsner Connected Anywhere Care urgent care virtual visits are just $10* a visit. There are no hidden monthly or annual fees, and you may be able to submit the cost to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Myth #6: Telehealth devalues the doctor and patient relationship
Not true! Telehealth services are not supposed to replace visits to your doctor – they are meant to supplement your regular check-ups. Telehealth services are ideal for times when you cannot get an appointment with your primary care doctor or when your problem does not warrant a trip to the emergency room or urgent care.
Myth #7: Telehealth is not secure
Cyber security is a big topic these days, and when it comes to your private medical information, it is natural to wonder if your information might be compromised. We want you to know that telehealth is a safe and secure way to send medical information. We take your privacy seriously at Ochsner and do all we can to protect it..
*Urgent care price decreased to $10 per visit temporarily during the events of COVID-19 and is subject to change.