Telemedicine and Virtual Primary Care have been gaining popularity for a number of years now with technical improvements in medical delivery systems. Telemedicine refers to the practice of caring for patients remotely when the provider and patient are not physically present with each other.
Modern technology has enabled doctors to consult patients with the use of telephone-based and video-conferencing tools (Virtual Primary Care) .
This is in contrast to EPO (Exclusive Provider Organization) medical insurance plans, which would not cover any medical services for out-of-network provider visits at all. But similar to PPO plans, EPO plans do not require referrals to specialist doctors, and will pay as long as the doctor is on the EPO network list.
The advantage is clear for those needing care at times when doctors are not available, or those living in rural areas where the physical distance to medical clinics may be long.
And then with the recent onset and expansion of the virus outbreak, the additional advantages to this type of medical delivery is clear. Most tele-medicine programs also allow a physician to write a prescription for their patients for non-controlled prescription drugs.
Telemedicine and virtual primary care seem to work best when included with or packaged alongside a traditional medical plan, as this type of care alone may not be sufficient for many insured patients. These types of physician visits may be good for basic medical concerns, but most certainly will not replace having adequate coverage for major medical needs, such as emergency room visits, hospital stays , surgeries, etc.
Or even for basic medical care there are times when it is best to visit a physician in person if at all possible. Especially if lab tests or certain exams need to be done that telemedicine simply cannot provide for.