The concept of telehealth, or telemedicine, has been around for years. It began as a way for doctors to care for their patients in remote areas where it isn’t practical or possible for regular face-to-face visits.
Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has become increasingly popular as a means to keep physicians and patients connected and safe. Basically, telehealth is a virtual appointment that takes place by private phone or video chat.
Here at Medinet Family Care Clinic in Houston and Sugarland, Texas, Dr. Bharat Gandhi and Dr. Priya Gandhi embrace the telehealth concept, knowing it’s an excellent way to extend our care for patients who can’t (or shouldn’t) come into the office.
Although there are many instances where there’s simply no substitute for an in-person visit — especially emergencies and critical care — a growing number of conditions can be easily diagnosed and treated remotely. Here are five of them.
Upper respiratory infections like the common cold, sinusitis, and even COVID-19 can often be diagnosed remotely. When you discuss your symptoms with our team, we can differentiate among flu, cold, COVID-19, and other similar conditions and either prescribe a medication or let you know how to alleviate your symptoms at home.
From mild cuts and scrapes to burns and rashes, our team can learn a lot by talking to you about how it happened and how it feels. What’s more, a video chat enables us to get a good look at your injury or rash and determine whether you need urgent care, stitches, or an X-ray, or if you can treat it at home with OTC pain medication, ice, and rest.
One of the most common problems we treat is the urinary tract infection (UTI). Although anyone can get one, they’re more prevalent among women between the ages of 20-40. Up to 40% of women will experience at least one in their lifetime, accounting for 6 million doctor visits every year in the US. We can often differentiate between a UTI and a yeast infection and prescribe the appropriate treatment without the need to see you in person.
Another popular reason for seeing a doctor is a sports injury. Twisted ankles, hyperextended elbows, and pulled muscles are common occurrences and can be quite painful. It’s always best to have your injury evaluated by a licensed medical professional to make sure you know what you’re dealing with.
We can do this via a telehealth appointment where we talk about your pain level, the nature of the accident, and of course, get a good visual of your injury. That information allows us to guide you through at-home care, set up physical therapy, prescribe pain medication (if necessary), or let you know if you need to be seen in person.
If you have heartburn, gas, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, or nausea, these may be symptoms of a temporary problem or signs of a chronic condition. Often, these complaints can be resolved through simple lifestyle changes or OTC medication.
However, our focused questions give us key information and insight so that we can schedule an in-person appointment or send you for specific tests, if necessary. But unless there’s a clear need for further investigation, there’s no reason to come in for these common symptoms.
Telehealth allows us to screen you first and determine whether an in-person appointment is required, saving you time and allowing you to remain a safe distance from others.
And if you have a chronic condition that needs regular monitoring, such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure, we can stay in touch with you through telehealth appointments and keep track of your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and overall health.
To learn more about the many benefits of telehealth and how you can take advantage of it, contact us by phone or online at either of our two Texas locations in Sugarland or Houston, today.