As the country gradually reopens, many health care providers are once again scheduling routine services under strict safety guidelines. Ask your doctor about the preventive care your family needs to help guard against illnesses or diseases and how you can safely get it. For example, you’ll want to be sure your child remains up-to-date on immunizations.
Not just for kids
There are many preventive services all adults should be getting regularly as well. According to the American Public Health Association, the most common ones fall under three categories: cancer screenings, cardiovascular disease screenings, and immunizations. Talk to your doctor about which services you need and when.
The same goes for regular treatment of chronic conditions if you or a family member have one, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and asthma. Stay in touch with your PCP – as well as any specialists who treat you – for ongoing support with medications, treatment options, lifestyle adjustments, and other things to manage the condition.
Connecting to your doctor virtually
The pandemic has seen a tremendous surge in doctors connecting with their patients virtually. Telehealth (also known as telemedicine) makes it possible to have appointments over the internet, or by phone, email, or other digital media. Many providers offer telehealth services, so ask your doctor if he or she does and whether it’s appropriate for your health care needs.
Tufts Health Plan is waiving out-of-pocket costs for telehealth visits with network providers until further notice.
Not only does telehealth keep you in touch with your doctor, but it also enables you to get virtual care for a wide variety of needs, in a safe and secure environment. Examples may include: wellness visits; prescriptions for medicine; eye exams; nutrition counseling; and treatment of conditions, such as sinus infections, back pain, urinary tract infections, and much more. Note: if you have a telehealth visit with a health care professional other than your PCP, be sure to share the results with him or her.
Another care option available to our Commercial members (not including Direct) is our telehealth solution powered by Teladoc®: teladoc.com/tuftshealthplan. Members can access Teladoc’s network of U.S.-based, board-certified providers for general medical needs and diagnoses from anywhere in the world and for $0 copay for plans issued or renewed in 2020. Teladoc doctors are on call 24/7 if members are concerned about possible coronavirus symptoms or have questions about the disease.
Until further notice, there will be no member cost for this service for our members, including members of self-funded groups that have elected this benefit and have not opted-out of cost sharing modifications.
Besides general medical needs (such as upper respiratory infections, cold and flu, and allergies), Teladoc also provides care for behavioral health issues like anxiety, depression, and addiction. And Teladoc dermatologists can treat skin conditions like rash or infection, acne, eczema, and more.
How to prepare for a telehealth visit
If your visit will include video, just charge up your smartphone or a device that has an internet connection and audio-video capabilities, like a tablet or computer. Then you’ll want to keep some things in mind to have the best possible experience:
- Bring the right information. Have all your medications in case they need to be reviewed. Ask your provider ahead of time if you’ll need to be ready to discuss other information, such as home blood-pressure readings or glucometer results.
- Make necessary arrangements. If a family member will be joining and they’ll be in a different location, tell your provider ahead of time so a three-way visit can be set up.
- Prepare your space. Look for a quiet location with as much light as possible. Make yourself comfortable so you can stay focused throughout the visit.
- Wear loose clothing. If you need to show the doctor your skin or another part of your body, make sure you can do so easily.
- Tee up the technology. If you’re using your smartphone, make sure the camera is steady by propping it up on a desk or table. Close other applications because they can affect the quality of the connection and can be distracting. And to make sure you’re all set to go, sign on ahead of time and test your device.
We want you and your family to stay safe during this difficult time. Take advantage of telehealth from the comfort of home to stay connected with your doctor, receive sound medical advice, and get the regular care you need to stay healthy. It’s more important than ever.