In today’s world, technology allows people to extend control of various facets of life at the tip of their fingertips. Like social networking and banking, the health care industry is utilizing online tools to give members an opportunity to manage their health care and receive wellness guidance in a quick, convenient way. During the 2019 open enrollment period and beyond, consider ways to save time and utilize digital health care tools.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is a broad term that refers to health care services that utilize telecommunications technology. It can provide general wellness guidance, tips on preventive care and can cater to specific health goals. Telemedicine may substitute for an in-person encounter between a patient and the healthcare provider when using the appropriate technology. For some, this may seem complex; however, the onboarding process is simple and can yield positive results. Here are some quick tips to make the most of convenient, budget-friendly digital health care tools:
- How to Enroll Online
Those looking to enroll in a health care plan can get started by visiting HealthCare.gov on a computer, tablet or mobile device. Many health insurers also offer free mobile apps, which can be downloaded through a smart devices’ app store and will walk a potential member through the process step-by-step.
- How to Find a Doctor
Telehealth has become a resource for health insurers to assist members in finding a fitting health care team. One example of this is the Find-A-Doctor tool, which gives individuals the opportunity to get to know their health care options, see which providers are in-network, find or change their primary care physician and view cost estimates for services, to compare and potentially save. Members can review a doctor’s experience, specialty and location.
- How to Manage an Account
After enrolling in an insurance plan, members can view records, schedule appointments and make payments with the click of a button through an online account. All it takes is verifying name, birthdate and enrollee ID to access personal account information.
- How to Use Digital Tools to Treat Minor Illnesses
Colds, flus, seasonal allergies, sore throats and sprains can all potentially be addressed using mobile apps, online tools or remote doctor communications. Many patients are unaware that many health questions and concerns can be addressed 24 hours a day, seven days a week over the phone through a nurse line. If you need more after-hours advice than can be provided by the nurse line, consider connecting with a doctor or certified nurse practitioner through an online visit.
About the author: Dr. S. George Kipa, MD, is the deputy chief medical officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
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