Telehealth

How Technology is Improving Access to Health Care

Access to health care services has changed dramatically with the introduction of telehealth. Also known as telemedicine, it is the delivery of health care from a distance using electronic information and technology such as computers, cameras, video conferencing, the internet, satellite and wireless communications. Telehealth makes it easier, faster and more convenient to get the medical attention patients need.

Along with primary care services, some oncology appointments are now being offered via telehealth technology. To take advantage of it, you will need a device such as a smartphone, tablet or computer and an internet connection. Typically, you will receive instructions on how to prepare for the appointment in advance as well as a link and a password to join the appointment with your health care provider.

A significant benefit of telehealth is convenience. A “virtual” appointment allows you to connect with your provider from the comfort of your home. It is also a valuable solution if you are experiencing any of these barriers to care:

  • You may be hesitant to leave your home because of an increased risk of infection.
  • You may not have transportation.
  • It may be difficult physically for you to leave your home to get to an appointment.
  • You live in a rural area that is not close to a medical facility.

Telehealth services commonly use patient portals, which allow patients and doctors to share health messages, information, test results and education. These provide a secure way to share private medical information with your doctor or nurse. You can request prescription refills, review test results, schedule appointments or request appointment reminders.

Ask your health care team if telehealth is an option for you. And don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself to be tech-savvy. Your nurse will provide easy-to-understand resources to help you get the most from your health care services.

 



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