The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we work, shop, and even see the doctor - and while the focus has shifted, some are wondering if it’s even safe to schedule that medical visit.
Now, new high tech ways to schedule visits are allowing some patients to see their medical specialists without even leaving their home.
“In times like now with the coronavirus going on, if you want to see a physician and you don't want to go into a doctor's office, where there might be more likely to be germs being spread around, you can accomplish a lot of stuff from video chatting or even just emailing your physician,” said Consumer Reports investigative editor Joel Keehn.
Here are some ways to get healthcare at home. First, check with your primary care doctor - they may offer some form of telemedicine, including by video chat, phone or email.
You can also check with your insurance company as many offer access to at-home healthcare options. There are also telemedicine options if you’re uninsured.
“If you have no insurance at all, the walk-in clinics or urgent care clinics can be an affordable way to get care on a given day,” said Keehn.
Your local urgent care or walk-in retail clinic may offer video consults with a healthcare provider quickly for a flat fee. CVS’s Minute Clinics, for example, has video visits 24 hours a day, seven days a week for $59 in most states.
If you live in a major metropolitan area, a growing number of tech companies are moving into the healthcare space offering virtual care. Carbon Health, for example, accepts many insurance plans and also offers a virtual visit for a $49 flat fee.
Telemedicine can be helpful in deciding whether you need to go to the doctor’s office or to the ER. But, it’s important to remember though that if you suspect an emergency, call 911 right away.