|Covid-19 has changed medicine’s face in this country, which can be seen with patients who have rheumatoid arthritis. Many patients with this auto-immune disease have been conducting medical visits by telehealth.
Telehealth cuts down on the chances of contracting the virus. Many patients, especially those with co-occurring disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, are afraid of sitting in crowded waiting rooms.
Doctors have been looking at new ways to accommodate those who don’t want to do in-person visits. Telehealth has become one of the top methods of communicating with your healthcare professional during the pandemic. Telemedicine is diagnosing and treating patients by way of telecommunications technology. This usually involves the phone and the Internet and allows doctors to do video conferences with patients. It can also include mobile health apps, wearable devices that collect data, online health education, and sharing health information between providers.
Before the pandemic, telehealth was mostly offered to patients in rural areas. Adopting telehealth as a practice was hindered by confidentiality concerns, licensing requirements, administrative costs, and insurers not covering telehealth visits. Federal health officials have been working since the pandemic to remove and alleviate some of these concerns, especially with licensing and insurance. Because of this, more rheumatologists are offering telehealth visits.
A Canadian survey found that 44 percent of adults with rheumatic diseases, half of which had rheumatoid arthritis, had attended a telehealth appointment during the pandemic. Another survey found about two-thirds of rheumatology patients had had an appointment via telehealth.
Telehealth for rheumatoid arthritis can be effective as in-person treatment. However, there are some caveats to this. It is most effective with those who have already been diagnosed and treated for the auto-immune disorder. Rheumatologists worry that not seeing the patient’s joints in person may affect their ability to analyze and treat. Seventy-one percent of the respondents in the Canadian survey were happy with their treatment. However, rheumatologists still feel that face-to-face visits are the most important in treating the disease.
If you need a new diagnosis for rheumatoid arthritis, it is essential to see the doctor face to face. However, if you are an established patient undergoing treatment, telehealth might be right for you. You’ll need some way to communicate with your doctor during the visit, and this can either be by phone, computer, or even tablet. Your doctor will usually email you a link. Be sure to check with your insurance company to make sure the visit will be covered. If your visit is not covered by your insurance you can visit Ourdoctor.com to see a Doctor. Insurance coverage is not required for this visit.