Here at We ❤ Health Literacy headquarters, we are huge fans of both preventive health care and preventing the spread of COVID-19. So these days, dear readers, I really ❤ telehealth. According to CDC, 4 in 10 American Adults Have Avoided Medical Care Due to COVID-19 Concerns. That is, well, disturbing! People need routine medical care, pandemic or not, and telehealth allows them to get it without anxiety. what’s more receiving COVID on your visit.
As health communicators, we can teach our audience about telehealth and encourage them to give it a try. Start with a simple definition for newbies: Telehealth, sometimes called telemedicine or virtual visit, is basically remote healthcare. If you’re using a computer, phone, or tablet to visit the doctor, that’s telehealth.
And while telehealth certainly cannot replace all Visits in person, it is an excellent option for things like:
- Annual checkups with your primary care doctor
- Dermatology visits
- Mental health counseling
- Nutritional counseling
- Follow-up visits to share test results
Once you’ve covered the basics, highlight some key benefits of telehealth:
- It is more secure. Right now, the main selling point of telehealth is that it allows people to stay connected to care without the risk of contracting COVID in a doctor’s office or hospital. Think of it as social distancing, but with your doctor.
- It is faster. When the trip is cut short, the waiting room, the second waiting room (er, exam room), the visit becomes much shorter and much easier to fit into a busy schedule. And who ever said, “I’d like to spend more time sitting in waiting rooms”? That’s how it is. No one!
- Increase access. Telehealth is particularly useful for people who need to see a specialist but don’t live close to one, and it removes the barrier to transportation in general. Many telehealth providers also offer appointments outside of traditional doctor’s office hours, making it easier for people to find times that work for them.
So, encourage your audience to ask if their doctors offer telehealth and to check with their insurance companies to make sure you’re covered.
And finally, while COVID safety won’t be a big deal down the road (we sure hope so!), 2 of the 3 benefits above will remain in place long after the pandemic ends. So while it’s an excellent tool for keeping people connected to care during COVID, we believe telehealth is here to stay.
The bottom line: Encourage your audience to explore telehealth, during COVID-19 and beyond.
Tweet about it: #Telehealth is a safe and effective way to get routine medical care, during the pandemic and beyond. @CommunicateHlth has tips for explaining the benefits of telehealth to your audiences: https://bit.ly/3sAuk6F #communicateCOVID
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