Telemedicine lets a doctor or other healthcare provider care for you, even when you cannot see him or her in person. The doctor uses the Internet or other technology to:
- give you advice,
- give you an exam, or
- do a procedure through online communications.
Telemedicine can also be used to:
- get prescription refills,
- book an appointment, or
- let your doctor talk with other providers about your health problem or treatment.
Telemedicine is more than a phone call, an email, a fax, or an online questionnaire. Sometimes you may need to come to a healthcare facility to use their equipment (TV screen, camera, or Internet). A provider may use need to use technology tools or medical devices to check on your health remotely. If you agree, part of your health record may be sent to the telemedicine provider before your session.
You and your healthcare team must decide if your health problem can be helped with telemedicine. The team and others involved in your care (e.g., medical home or hospital teams) will make a plan for your care using telemedicine. This will also include a plan in case you have an emergency during the telemedicine session.
If the patient is a minor child, the telemedicine provider will explain to the parent how a telemedicine exam is different from an in-person exam. He or she will also explain if a complete exam of the child is possible.