What is Telemedicine?

This post was written by Dr. Aditi Joshi, an ER physician and Medical Director of JeffConnect®. JeffConnect® On-Demand Video Visits ‘connect’ Jefferson emergency doctors to patients anytime  via phone, tablet or computer-to treat a variety of minor illnesses, answer medical questions, and prescribe medications when appropriate

Dr. Joshi conducts a JeffConnect On-Demand video visit.

Dr. Joshi conducts a JeffConnect On-Demand video visit.

One of the most common questions we get from patients, colleagues and friends is “what is telemedicine and how can you do a visit on video?”

This is a great question and not knowing the answer is why some people aren’t sure that a telemedicine visit is for them. Today, I wanted to answer some basic questions to help you understand when telemedicine is right for you or your family member.

How do you do a medical visit on video?
An on-demand video visit is similar to what you’re already used to. We ask about your current complaint, get your medical history and do an exam. We then make a plan for treatment and send a prescription to your pharmacy, if needed.

What can you possibly treat over video?
We can treat all sorts of mild illnesses – we commonly treat colds, flus, sore throats, rashes, seasonal allergies, sinus infections and urinary tract infections.

How do you do an exam to know what and how to treat me?
First, we get a lot of what we need by asking some basic questions: what are your symptoms? How long have they lasted? What was the course of your illness or injury? We also ask your medical history. We gather a lot of information this way.

Also, we are doing a physical exam, albeit different than you may be used to. Right away we can determine how you’re breathing, your skin tone (is it flushed, blue, pale?), how you’re speaking and or walking, or if you look like you’re in tremendous pain. We also tailor it to your specific complaint: we can look in your throat, have you move your ankle around, see if there is pain over parts of your face. If there is a family member nearby, we may also ask them for help and direct them how to do part of the exam.

Having you involved is valuable. We have the one-on-one time to really counsel you about your diagnosis, plan of care, symptoms to be wary of, and when to go in for a higher level of treatment.

What if I can’t be treated on video?
Of course, we cannot treat or diagnose everything on video. If that happens, we are able to direct you to the proper next step. It’s not always the ER; sometimes the best next step is an urgent care center or your doctor’s clinic, sparing you the expense and time of waiting in an ER.

We firmly believe telemedicine is a valuable medium to access care and keep JeffConnect® in mind for you or your family’s minor illnesses.

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