Telehealth: Fast, convenient care

By Regence
April 12, 2017

Dr. Mark Hiatt is an Executive Medical Director for Regence. Every week he takes to the air waves and delivers timely, relevant health information directly to consumers through his radio segment, Medical Moment. In this post, we share highlights from one of his recent segments on telehealth.

In today’s fast-paced environment, it can be difficult for people juggling work and family responsibilities to make it to the doctor’s office. More than ever, people need a convenient way to connect with a doctor that fits the way they live and work.

Telehealth is the industry’s answer to that need, and lets people connect by phone or chat in less than ten minutes—from the comfort of home, the office or even while traveling. 

When should people use telehealth?

Telehealth is primarily used for simple cases that could be resolved over the phone or video chat. This includes:

  • Cold, flu or nasal congestion
  • Sore throat, cough or bronchitis
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Ear infection
  • Pink eye
  • Rash or bite
  • Stomach pain

More than a nurse advice line, telehealth lets people:

  • Have a confidential appointment with a doctor, just like they would in person
  • Get a diagnosis and treatment instructions
  • Have a prescription sent to their local pharmacy

For whom is telehealth useful?

Telehealth is useful for anybody who needs or wants quality care, without having to leave their home.

It’s a great option for people who don’t have a driver’s license or who live in rural areas which are sometimes hours away from the nearest doctor. 

But these aren’t the only use cases. Telehealth can be helpful for anyone when:

  • They need medical attention, but not necessarily ER or urgent care
  • It’s after normal business hours, like an evening or holiday
  • It’s a weekday, but they can’t get to their doctor’s office
  • They’re traveling for work and need care on the road

In addition, telehealth often costs less than an in-person appointment. For people who need to receive care, but can’t afford the doctor, ER or urgent care visit, this can be extremely helpful.

Why is telehealth beneficial for employers?

Telehealth can be a great addition to any employee’s benefit package. The ability for employees to quickly and easily receive care is likely to make them more engaged in their own health care. As an employer, this kind of engagement is important.

In addition, if employees are using telehealth for themselves and their families, this will in turn reduce the amount of time they’re out of the office to go to the doctor. This can increase productivity over time.

How can people start using telehealth?

Regence offers telehealth to members, and employees will need to reach out to their provider to make sure they participate in the program. However, as telehealth is a relatively new way to receive care, many people don’t even know that it’s an option. If you’d like to learn more about how to access telehealth or educate, check out our telehealth resources.