Thanks to an explosion of new technologies and mobile apps, the day has come when doctors can make virtual house calls, and smartphones can double as a great resource for health and fitness. It’s a revolution in technology, and it’s already here.
One of the most exciting trends in the medical field is telemedicine—the use of telecommunications technology to provide, enhance, or expedite health care services, by accessing offsite databases, linking clinics or physicians' offices to central hospitals, or transmitting x-rays or other diagnostic images for examination at another site.
At the same time, mobile apps and in-home devices allow many doctors to examine, diagnose, make treatment decisions and track progress—all without an office visit.
These advancements provide an extra level of convenience for patients in many less serious situations (of course they don’t replace the old-fashioned in-person visit for people who are acutely sick).
Patients themselves overwhelmingly approve. In a recent survey, 94 percent of patients who used telemedicine found at least one benefit to virtual appointments.1 They cited the quality of care, a desire to avoid travel when sick, shorter wait times and lower cost as top reasons they liked their telemedicine experience.
Florida Blue will begin offering telemedicine services in late 2015 on a very limited basis. We will keep you informed as to when it is offered more widely.