Feeling too ill to leave the house, or simply can’t schedule a routine doctor visit thanks to your busy schedule? We get it.
Thankfully, telemedicine services like Teladoc bring medical professionals to you, in an easy, convenient platform that allows you to take charge of your health, speak to healthcare providers, get prescriptions, and even get referrals to specialists on your own time, no matter where you are.
In this article, we’ll explore what it’s like to use Teladoc, and examine the pros and cons of switching to remote medical care in lieu of in-person care in a brick and mortar facility.
Your employer may offer Teladoc as part of your insurance package. Because Teladoc works with insurance companies to offer lower rates for care, your employer may offer you an incentive to use this service for minor illnesses instead of seeing your PCP (primary care physician).
With Teladoc’s acquisition of other medical companies, you can take advantage of even more benefits by using their service. While Teladoc seems to be most often used for diagnosing minor illnesses like colds, flu, and strep throat, we will focus on some of the other benefits Teladoc offers that make it a complete healthcare suite.
Mental Health Counseling
Mental health counseling is available from licensed therapists and psychiatrists, with appointments available seven days a week. Teladoc allows you to pick your own care provider and provides a detailed biography of each provider they have available.
Some medications prescribed for mental health are available through Teladoc’s mental health services, making it easy to connect to a professional and get a refill when you need one.
An underutilized facet of Teladoc’s platform is its dermatology services. Teladoc enables you to connect with a board-certified dermatologist seven days a week for skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and you can even work with a dermatologist to have skin spots identified.
Using Teladoc’s dermatology platform, you can easily upload pictures to the app to be reviewed prior to and during your appointment. Your dermatologist can make a diagnosis, refer you to an in-person specialist, or prescribe medication for you.
Chronic Care Management
A newer feature offered by Teladoc is their chronic care management. People suffering from long-term illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, certain heart conditions, and more can benefit from assisted care management through Teladoc.
Teladoc makes it easy for you to track and connect monitors, set reminders, and access a team of professionals like nutritionists and health coaches to ensure your condition is well-monitored.
Let’s face it, going in for your yearly STD test can be a little embarrassing. Teladoc makes taking charge of your sexual health easy and discreet by offering you access to doctors who can order lab tests, review results, and discuss your options with you, all from the privacy of your own home.
Your STD screening results will not be attached to your medical record, either. Teladoc only releases information to your PCP that you first authorize.
Expert Medical Opinion
Whether you’d like a second opinion, have questions about an upcoming surgery, or you just want some direction for your own or a family member’s ongoing care, Teladoc’s expert medical opinion option connects you to doctors and specialists who can provide some guidance.
Instead of driving to meet with a particular specialist who might be miles and miles away, you can easily connect online or over the phone to talk about deeper questions you may have about your current healthcare plan.
Teladoc works with a vast network of certified nutritionists and dieticians who can help you with a wide range of needs, from helping you plan a healthy everyday meal routine, to designing a diet specifically beneficial for pregnancy, diabetes, weight management, and other needs.
You can see your nutritionist as often as you like, and you can see the same nutritionist each time you make a visit. With a nutritionist, you can learn to make healthier choices and discuss dietary options and substitutions.
Neck and Back Care
Chronic neck and back pain is difficult to resolve, and surgery isn’t always the best option. Teladoc offers you access to neck and back pain coaches who specialize in treating you in a four to eight-week program that offers rehabilitation and occupational therapy guidelines to try and help you live as pain-free as possible.
Through this program, you will be guided with specific exercises, therapies, and techniques to help alleviate back and neck pain.
Teladoc’s back and neck pain platform does not connect you with a doctor, and does not offer prescription services.
Teladoc allows you to manage your healthcare on your own terms, but its design does allow you to be a more powerful arbiter of your own medical condition.
For instance, if you feel sick and make an appointment with a general practitioner via Teladoc, you’ll receive a brief consultation with a doctor who has reviewed the basic medical history you have on file. After a brief discussion of your symptoms, your Teladoc physician will make a recommendation and possibly prescribe you a medication.
Your Teladoc provider will suggest that you follow up if your symptoms persist, but whether or not you actually follow up is completely on your terms. Additionally, it is possible for a Teladoc provider to miss something in your workup, simply because they are not able to physically examine you.
Bottom line: You can trust that Teladoc is an expansive network of board-certified medical professionals who will do their best to give you premium care, but because you will not see a doctor in person, and because you may not always be the best moderator of your own healthcare, there is a possibility you may be misdiagnosed, or fail to get additional healthcare attention when you need it.
As an anonymous reviewer on Capterra says,
“The software itself is just fine. The only con is that it’s on the patient to know when to forgo the program and actually go see a doctor, and if that isn’t done with good judgement, the patient may have to be seen more than once. Not a fault of the program though. The program is very user friendly.”
Teladoc may be included with your insurance plan. Check with your employer or call your benefits hotline to verify whether you have Teladoc benefits.
Even with insurance, you may have a copay, although many employers offer Teladoc at no cost to you. Not all features of Teladoc are available for all employer-based healthcare plans. The most common features available are general medicine, mental health, and dermatology.
If you do not have insurance, you may still use Teladoc. The price for a visit with a general practitioner, mental healthcare provider, or dermatologist is $75.00. This price does not include lab work, prescriptions, or referrals to other specialists.
Is it possible to go virtual with your entire healthcare plan? According to Teladoc, it is… but some reviews seem to think otherwise.
While most Teladoc patients find the Teladoc app and medical professionals beneficial to their healthcare stack, they are frustrated by canceled appointments, length of appointments (either too long or too short), and the preferred method of contact for some practitioners.
Says one Capterra reviewer, “You will wait no less than 2 hours for an appointment, which the provider can then cancel with no explanation. The phone call appointments just don’t work if you have an iPhone apparently.”
In terms of getting quality, trustworthy medical care, patients seem satisfied.
“I didn’t have to take off work for a basic ailment because Teladoc had me scheduled the same day. The docs are professional and do the best they can within the setup,” says a reviewer.
Here’s what current and past Teladoc patients have rated as pros and cons of the services they offer.
Virtual health counseling with Teladoc is a reputable resource that is now used multinationally. Using virtual health you can access a wide range of healthcare providers that can treat your symptoms, prescribe medications, and help you manage long-term care.
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Bridget Reed is a Tampa-based content development manager, writer, and editor at GR0; specializing in content related to varying fields including medicine, health, and small businesses. Bridget went to St. Petersburg College and majored in Management and Organizational Leadership.