Requesting “Feel-Good” stories from clients, during these extraordinary times, does not seem right to me. So many things have changed recently but I believe common courtesy should not. This is a time for giving and not for asking. As a result, this month I am going to provide my own story which involves personal experiences with a tremendously touted service during this crisis: Tele-Medicine.
I have utilized this service over the past year approximately 7 times. Each conversation with a doctor on the phone was professional, addressed the circumstances of the call, and ended with proper guidance to either my pharmacy and/or primary care doctor. What has caught my attention with these calls, however, is the demeanor of the doctors I have spoken with. Each doctor seems to appreciate the facetime capabilities, availability of time, and the opportunity to be thorough with their questions. Their “patience” is making this “patient” feel great that I made the call. The doctor’s desire to embrace this new phenomenon comes across in their voice and their upbeat desire to be helpful.
My latest Tele-Medicine experience involved my concern about COVID-19. I was informed that a good friend, who I had seen a few weeks ago, had tested positive for the virus. Upon speaking with him, he provided symptoms during his bout with COVID-19, which were eerily similar to some pains I was dealing with at the time. I decided it was time to act, so I hit the TelaDoc app on my phone, entered information about my circumstances, and within 5 minutes received a call from a doctor in Texas. She went through everything with me, determined it made sense to get tested, and requested I call my state department to get into their queue. Not to my surprise, I received a phone call from a nurse at TelaDoc the next day to see how I was feeling and to confirm I moved forward on establishing the test. The results are in, the test was negative, but the ability for my tele-medicine service to be compassionate, to follow up, and to be quick with their response time, left me feeling very positive!
My latest Tele-Health experience involved a dermatologist’s assessment for a growth on my index finger that pained me. It appeared the growth was infected, and antibiotics would be the appropriate course of action, but this was not a diagnosis I could make. I reached out to my local dermatologist and the office receptionist recommended facetiming an appointment. Due to our pandemic, I was certainly on board with that. The call was scheduled that day for 3:00pm. The phone rang at exactly 3:00pm and it turned out my self-diagnosis was correct. The doctor called in a prescription, CVS texted me within a half-hour, and my first dose of antibiotics was taken within the hour. Three days later the growth was gone, and I was pain-free and enjoying life again.
In case you are wondering, Tele-Medicine is the service used to get a doctor who participates in the network used by TelaDoc. Tele-Health is when I reach out to a specific doctor in the network of my own health plan. Regardless of the service used, this is all about avoiding the office experience these days. As a reminder, one would have to sign in at the front desk, fill out paperwork, sit around ill patients in the waiting room, wait at least a half-hour before entering the “room”, have vitals taken and provide preliminary information to the physician’s assistant before even seeing the doctor at least another 15 minutes later. Then, pay my co-pay, wait for any RX to be called in, and finally bid my farewell to the office staff for a wonderful 1 ½ to 2-hour visit. No thank you – now, where is my cell phone!
Tele-Medicine and Tele-Health offers convenience, expedience, and thoroughness of any routine illness. The doctors come across as enjoying their conversations which often leaves the patient with a satisfying overall experience. And the best part of all is that modern technology has been prepared for this methodology for many years with computers, I-pads, and cell phone capabilities all “at the ready” for this service. Like Mikey said, “Try it – you’ll like it!”