Which Conditions Can Be Treated Through Telehealth?

Jul 12, 2023
Which Conditions Can Be Treated Through Telehealth?
With concerns about spreading COVID-19 and other contagious diseases during the pandemic shutdown, telehealth has come into its own over the last few years. But what conditions can be treated through a virtual platform? We have the answer for you here.

According to Merriam-Webster Online, telehealth is defined as “health care provided remotely to a patient in a separate location using two-way voice and visual communication (as by computer or cellphone).”

Although many people use the words telehealth and telemedicine interchangeably, they’re actually two different aspects of the same idea. Telehealth covers a broader scope of services than just the virtual appointment itself (telemedicine), including maintaining patient records, encouraging patient education, and providing public health and health administration.

Board-certified family physician Dr. Richard Pedroza at AGP Family Health Clinic offers telemedicine and telehealth services for his patients in the Tomball, Texas, area who need medical care but don’t want (or aren’t able) to come into the office. What can we treat through telehealth? Keep reading. 

Telehealth, in brief

Telehealth isn’t a new concept. The first major foray into the field came in the 1940s, when doctors in Pennsylvania sent radiology images 24 miles across a town over a telephone line. A decade later, a Canadian physician built the technology into a teleradiology system used in and around Montreal.

At that time, modern film technology was growing by leaps and bounds, and doctors started planning a version of video medicine using that technology. The first such communication took place at the University of Nebraska in 1959, when the university established a two-way television link to send information to medical students across campus. Just five years later, it linked to a state hospital, performing video consultations with the idea of giving underserved populations access to medical care.

Government agencies jumped on the bandwagon in the 1960s and 1970s, and soon, not just rural populations had access — even astronauts in orbit could share medical data with a physician back on Earth.

Benefits of telehealth

Despite its many benefits, telehealth languished for a bit, but it got a huge boost in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and doctors and patients needed to practice social distancing. It soon became apparent that telehealth could routinely provide a number of different, important services, including:

  • Assessing if a patient needs in-person treatment
  • Providing certain kinds of medical care, including mental health treatment, assessments for minor infections, and visual inspection of a rash or growth
  • Evaluating and treating sore throats, cold and flu symptoms, or ear infections
  • Writing or renewing prescriptions
  • Chronic disease management
  • Discussion of blood work or other lab results
  • Referrals to specialists
  • Providing different types of therapy, including speech and physical therapy

It also became apparent that telehealth provides a number of other benefits, including:

  • Lower costs: Telehealth patients spend less on child care and gas for appointments and spend less time in hospitals.
  • Improved access to care: people with disabilities, older adults, and incarcerated populations
  • Preventive care: Easy access to medical care improves long-term health.
  • Convenience: done in the comfort and privacy of your own home
  • Reduced spread of infection: eliminates risks from sick patients at the doctor’s office, especially important for immunocompromised individuals
  • Patient satisfaction: Minus the hassles of commuting, parking, or running late, more patients are satisfied with care.

During your telehealth appointment, you can ask the doctor any questions and discuss any unusual symptoms without having to leave a message and wait for a call back.

Do you need to see a doctor but don’t have time to come into the office? At AGP Family Health Clinic, that’s no problem! Give our office a call at 832-684-3909, or book your telehealth appointment online with us today.