You may have been curious about ways to use the internet to find cheaper and faster healthcare. Most people would jump at the chance to avoid waiting hours at the doctor’s office or clinic just to be charged a fortune for even he most minor medical issues. Fortunately, the internet has opened up a whole new world of convenience for people looking for medicine, medical consultation, and resources. It can be hard to know where to begin when it comes to sorting through your options for telemedicine and telehealth services. The first step is obviously assessing your needs – what are you looking for, and how much of a solution to your problem can you find online? There are a few different categories of sites you can choose from.
1. Federal and State Resources
Websites for federal organizations like the FCC and Medicare and Medicaid have sections dealing with telemedicine. This can help you get started with knowing what the largest, most legitimate sources of telemedicine are which can help treat your particular ailment. It can also help if you have federal insurance, at least partial coverage, and you need to know exactly which kinds of telemedicine are covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Other sites can inform you of federal law changes and research on telemedicine, so you can find out the most up-to-date ways it is being dispensed.
2. National and International Organizations
Sites for the American Telemedicine Association and the International Society for Telemedicine can serve many of the same purposes as the federal government’s resources. They also provide product and service directories so you can find what you’re looking for and find out how to reach doctors who are licensed in your area. These organizations also have information on telemedicine law, so you know how to protect your rights when dealing with medical services online.
3. Online Pharmacies
Probably the most common form of telemedicine, a good online pharmacy will require you to fax or mail your prescription so you can order your medicine straight to your door, usually for a discounted price plus a shipping fee. There are a wide variety of legitimate, licensed pharmacies online, and as long as you make sure they are properly licensed and accredited, you can use them to fill almost anything. An online pharmacy shouldn’t prescribe drugs, though – be wary if they offer you a prescription without a real consultation with a doctor.
4. Consultation Websites
If you have a medical question that’s not serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor – or you want to know whether it is – there are a number of sites where you can pay a fee to consult with a doctor, either by phone or video chat. If you find a site that can provide a doctor who is licensed in your home state, they may even be able to offer you a more in-depth consultation and prescribe you medicine, as long as you make sure they’re aware of your medical history. The success of online consultation can depend on how you use the service and misdiagnosing can always happen, so take the medical advice with a grain of salt unless you’ve gone really in-depth with an individual licensed care provider.
Whatever kind of site you’re looking for, it is helpful to search for user reviews and the experience that other patients have had with the particular medical service. When you are extra diligent, you can easily avoid scams, and that’s a good thing because telemedicine really does have the potential to save many lives. By making it easier to get care, people are more likely to look for help when something doesn’t feel normal – and that means that serious medical issues can be detected with one click.
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