When to utilize an online doctor visit via telemedicine
The simple answer is, an online doctor visit is equivalent to a typical face-to-face visit with your primary care or an urgent care physician. GuruMD Urgent Telemedicine can be utilized just about anywhere at anytime. There are so many benefits to the future of medicine… telemedicine. More specifically, online doctors are capable of diagnosing and treating most common illnesses including the flu, strep throat, and the common cold. But is that it? No, not at all, online doctors are able to treat so much more…
GuruMD’s online doctors also see patients for allergies, sinus infections, acne, gout, anxiety, asthma, nausea, skin infections, UTIs, erectile dysfunction, insomnia, and the list goes on. In fact, it may be easier to point out what the online doctors at GuruMD don’t treat. What telemedicine does not treat are emergent issues. True emergencies that require hands on service where time is a consideration between life and death. Our doctors have ER experience and will direct patients to the emergency room when necessary.
Visit www.GuruMD.net to get more information about what can be treated through Telemedicine.
But what about blood work, x-rays, imaging, and other orders? Online doctors can’t do that, right? Wrong!
Not all online physicians are created equal! GuruMD is leading the charge to include every aspect of medical care. If you need blood drawn, our online doctors will send you directly to the nearest lab facility. The future is here. The patient is now able to skip the typical doctor visit, even for longer-term management for diabetes and other ailments
where blood work and testing is more necessary.
Yes, GuruMD is also able to provide orders for just about any ailment. However, for true emergent (live & death) issues, please seek Emergency care or call 911.
For any non-emergent problem or ailment, visit the online doctors at GuruMD via our app which allows patients to visit face-to-face via video chat anywhere in Texas and New Mexico! Or start a visit from our website at www.GuruMD.net. You can always give GuruMD a phone call!! That’s right, day or night, call 888-348-7863 (888-3-GURUMD).
This service must be expensive. I mean healthcare is expensive!
As for the cost of a GuruMD visit. We accept most major health insurances, Heath Savings accounts and Credit cards for self-pay (cash) visits. We offer competitive rates for cash pay visits starting at $99 per visit. And yes, you read correctly. For patients with insurance, the charge is the same as your office visit copay (even after-hours). That’s right, you can save time and money by skipping the high urgent care and emergency room copays. Visit an online doctor for the cost of your office visit copay!
In addition, GuruMD often provides discounts on prescriptions, lab work, and imaging orders including CT Scans and X-rays. Healthcare is already expensive, so we work hard to keep money in your pocket any way we can. Our goal is to save you money while providing the best medical care available.
The Use Case – Teachers Testing Telemedicine
While utilization rates remain low for most school districts, some teachers are leading the way, utilizing telemedicine with their insurance (even those insurance plans that do not offer the benefit). Teachers and other staff members, along with society in general, have been slow to adopt telemedicine. However, as education increases, so do the number of Texas Teachers benefiting from the cost savings and convenience provided by an online doctor.
As school districts across Texas search for ways to provide meaningful benefits to their employees, telemedicine is becoming more of a necessity. Recognizing that health insurance costs continue to rise year over year, many districts are looking for a supplemental benefit that their employees can turn to… telemedicine…
While many school districts in Texas provide telemedicine benefits to their employees many districts do not currently offer (or are unable to offer) telemedicine to their employees. For those school districts that do not offer a telemedicine option, there is still hope. Lorene Babyak, an employee at Round Rock ISD, is a Kindergarten Teacher whose district does not offer a telemedicine solution.
Mrs. Babyak said:
“I heard about GuruMD Telemedicine through a friend and found that they accept my insurance. I simply downloaded the app, entered my insurance and then saw a Doctor. My first visit was after-hours from my car as my husband drove. The doctor sent my prescription to my pharmacy and I picked it up on my way home. I was sold. Teachers can’t easily schedule an appointment and take the morning or afternoon off without finding a substitute.
Since then, I’ve used GuruMD from my classroom while on my lunch break and even on the weekend when my kids were sick. I saved money and didn’t have to sit in the waiting room with my kids. It’s really no question.
Most recently, I’ve signed up for a Family plan with GuruMD. The service is only $18 per month and my family can see a doctor anytime as often as we need. Super convenient and I save money doing it.”
Some online doctors have contracted directly with health insurance companies and provide patient visits for the cost of an office visit copay. Recent legislation requires health insurance providers to pay for telemedicine visits as they would a face-to-face encounter.
Another option for employees and employers is a direct care model. Dr. Clinton Osborn of GuruMD says, “School districts can offer a monthly family telemedicine subscription plan (with no copay) to their staff for as little as $6 per month. The idea is to keep school district employees healthy and in the school. That is one reason we include the entire family in our medical plans. Often, employees miss work when their kids are sick so, we thought it is important to include immediate family in the benefit as well.”
When Telemedicine Doesn’t Work?
Some school districts across the state have insurance plans that include telemedicine visits as a part of their health plan. Bastrop ISD employee Christina Phillips, First Grade Teacher, is one such employee.
Bastrop ISD offers Teladoc as a part of their insurance plan.
Ms. Phillips stated, “I saw that telemedicine was an option for me, although it is more expensive than a normal Doctor visit. I didn’t have time to schedule an appointment. I called Teladoc and answered their diagnosis questions. I was ultimately disappointed after they directed me to visit the Emergency Room, since it was on a weekend. I called to get rid of an ongoing cough related to allergies. I found another telemedicine company based in Austin that was able to take my insurance. In fact, they were cheaper than Teladoc. They only charged my office visit copay.”
Many insurance plans now offer telemedicine, however, as is the case with Bastrop ISD, the cost of an online doctor visit using insurance is more expensive than a third-party telemedicine provider. Meaningful benefits take into consideration both the school district as well as their employees. When selecting a telemedicine product, school districts should consider utilization as a primary driver of selection. If employees don’t find their telemedicine benefit to be helpful, then it will not be utilized.
Symptoms of an under-utilized telemedicine benefit.
It’s not surprising that telemedicine is gaining traction across the United States and beyond. There are so many wonderful uses and, compared to a waiting room, the convenience is unmatched. So, why aren’t individuals with access to telemedicine taking advantage of the benefits?
Did you know:
The average usage for a telemedicine benefit is between 2% and 7%. In other words, for example, if a company has 1000 employees and 10% of those employees get sick each month, between 2 and 7 employees actual utilize the service (according to a study). Again, the question arises, why aren’t individuals with access to telemedicine taking advantage of the benefits?
The Key is Education
According to Kassey Osborn, FNP-C of GuruMD, “Education is one of the largest issues surrounding telemedicine today. Many people who have access to telemedicine don’t fully understand what can be treated or when they should begin an online doctor visit.” By utilizing an education plan for both employer and employee telemedicine utilization rates begin to rise to a point of making a significant impact. In other words, once educated on telemedicine, both employers and employees can receive the full benefit.
Studies show that when a company’s Human Resources department provides education to their employees, utilization of telemedicine increases, often in excess of 40%. However, when a company’s Human Resources department teams up with their telemedicine provider, utilization can increase to above 60%, often reaching 85% employee utilization. As employees use their provided telemedicine service, they begin to realize the true benefits, including the cost savings as well as the many conveniences.
Why Utilization is Important
When a telemedicine service is utilized above the industry average (2% – 7%) employees begin to enjoy and understand the convenience an online doctor provides. However, one aspect that is often overlooked by employers is the potential benefit to the company. What many employers don’t consider when selecting a telemedicine provider are the claims against their health insurance.
Telemedicine can reduce costs for both the employee as well as the employer. For instance, when a provider is directly contracted with a company, claims do not count against their health insurance. Essentially, along with the reduction in claims comes a reduction in health insurance rates.
“In working with insurance brokers here in Texas, I understand the reduction in health insurance premiums can range between 10% and 20%. That can be a significant savings for school districts.” says Dr. Osborn. He goes on to say, “As a telemedicine service, GuruMD is focused on benefiting both employees and employers. We work with HR departments to increase utilization and provide a solution that makes sense for everyone involved, it shouldn’t be a one-sided solution.”
Patients have been open to online healthcare for years, and healthcare organizations are finally starting to meet the demand. Today, telemedicine is quite possibly the fastest growing way to receive healthcare in the US. Restrictions on telemedicine continue to relax in Texas and other states, and the unprecedented growth of remote healthcare shows no signs of stopping.
Online Physicians are in Demand
The definition of telemedicine is providing healthcare consultations, diagnoses, and care remotely through the use of technology. You can think of it as doctors on demand. While an online doctor is not always the answer, it can certainly be a beneficial and even life changing addition to your options when seeking care. Once you learn how to use telemedicine to your advantage, you can get immediate medical care at any time from the comfort of your home by connecting with healthcare professionals online.
Immediate Care with Telemedicine
The key advantage that telemedicine offers over traditional medicine is that patients have access to immediate care. Telemedicine provides healthcare 24/7, exactly when you need it, so you don’t always have to schedule an appointment in advance or deal with a nagging illness or discomfort until your doctor is available. Instead of waiting for an appointment slot to open, waiting in traffic, and waiting in a lobby reading old magazines, you can just hop on a computer or smartphone and get the attention you need.
In addition to the convenience, you may also find yourself saving money through immediate care. Imagine being able to check in with a healthcare professional on the fly to make sure you’re taking the right amount of medication for your condition. Consider the benefits of getting medical advice and treatment for a health problem without waiting for an appointment while your condition worsens. In situations like these, a short visit online or through an app can mitigate symptoms and complications before your healthcare costs balloon out of control.
Many of the early innovations in telemedicine were developed to address the needs of patients living in remote or rural areas. If you aren’t located near your healthcare provider, being able to meet online for a quick answer or checkup is a godsend. Of course, even if you don’t live out in the boonies, online care can still make your life a whole lot easier when you want to receive care without leaving your home.
For patients with chronic conditions that require frequent care, telemedicine is a game changer. Spending a significant portion of your time at healthcare facilities, not to mention handling transportation and constantly scheduling appointments, can be grueling. With telemedicine, you can save the in-person doctor’s visits for when you truly need them and handle everything else instantly. Then you can spend the time that would have gone down the drain doing something that you actually enjoy!
As you can see, telemedicine is already a key part of comprehensive access to healthcare, and it will only grow in importance as patients familiarize themselves with its unique advantages. While in-person visits are sometimes necessary, communicating with doctors online without having to fight traffic or wait in a lobby is one of the most valuable perks of having technology at our fingertips.
Visit GuruMD.net to learn more about telemedicine and get connected to immediate medical care today.
Picking the right provider is a primary step to increase utilization rates. When district employees look at their benefit offerings, they should be able to utilize those benefits in a way that makes a meaningful difference in their lives. Family telemedicine plans offer the best overall benefit, especially when it is associated with a low monthly fee that will reduce costs for employees as well as the district. As studies suggest, a provider that will work with your Human Resources department is critical to creating a true employee benefit. School districts across Texas need to ensure employees understand the use cases for telemedicine so that they (as well as their families) can garner the greatest benefit.
To get started visit us at www.gurumd.net, download the GuruMD app (Google Play or the App Store) or call us directly at 888-348-7863!
We look forward to serving you soon.