Seeing Your Doctor Without Leaving Home

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You have an endocrinologist appointment but are in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. What do you do?  Especially as medical experts are urging the type 1 diabetes (T1D) community to keep their regular appointments?

Today, you may have the option of having a remote doctor visit—for either regular appointments or a new health concern by using telehealth or telemedicine.

“Telehealth is convenient as it allows you to see your healthcare provider using your computer, smartphone, or tablet device,” Julia Blanchette, Ph.D., RN, CDCES, said in a piece she wrote for our colleagues at Beyond Type One.

“Many healthcare providers, including diabetes providers, are now able to discuss your health data, lab results and care management plan from the comfort of your own home. What better way to still take care of your own health during a pandemic?”

Watch a video from a T1D who recently used Telehealth .

But how does telehealth actually work?

You can set up a doctor’s appointment and over the phone, internet, or even by text message, the doctor can hear, see, and discuss any symptoms with you and offer solutions. He or she can diagnose many common ailments and order prescriptions for you. And, many telehealth services are available 24/7

How do I access telehealth?

First, check with your own doctor. An increasing number of health care practitioners are doing so to ensure they can continue to care for their patients.

If your doctor does not offer telehealth, or you have an ailment that does not require your own doctor, you should check with your insurance plan to see what established telehealth companies are covered. This list includes Teladoc, Doctor On Demand, PlushCare, Amwell and LiveHealth Online.

How do I maximize my visit?

Dr. Blanchette offers the following list of tips:

  • Ask your clinic and insurance plan about the cost. There may be a fee associated with your visit, or the cost may be waived.
  • If using a virtual visit app, log in at least 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment to make sure there are no issues.
  • Use your time wisely. The visit may shut down after 15, 20 or 30 minutes (or whatever time slot you have). Plan your questions ahead to best utilize your time.
  • If you are participating in a diabetes visit, try to download your data and send it to your provider in advance. If you are unsure of how to download your data from home, find out ahead of time by going to your data platform website for instructions, or calling your provider for assistance.
  • Know that you may have to wait (patients may be “ahead of you in line”) for on-demand services.
New Coverage for Medicare

Medicare just announced that they would expand coverage for telemedicine nationwide to help seniors with health problems stay home to avoid the coronavirus.