What you should know about virtual care
Increasingly, people with chronic health issues are choosing to stay home and a growing number are taking advantage of services and technology that allow caretakers to monitor them remotely. Take note of these tips if you're considering taking the virtual plunge:
- Talk with your doctor to see if telehealth or home health monitoring is a viable option, and call your state home care association to see which licensed agencies offer these services.
- Insurance coverage is limited, so ask upfront about the fees for equipment and services. Find out what the service fee includes, such as regular review of vitals by a nurse and calls from a caretaker. Also ask if monitoring includes weekends.
- Insist that you and any caretakers are properly trained on operating the equipment, such as a telehealth unit that transmits your vitals, an automated system reminding you to take medication or a sensor system that detects falls. If it isn't easy to use, you're far less likely to benefit.
- Be proactive and ask if education in chronic disease management is included. Many medical professionals and patients say a critical component of daily monitoring is learning how simple choices, from diet to medication compliance, profoundly influence one's health.
- Although home monitoring can reduce the need for in-person visits, it's not meant to be a replacement for seeing your doctor. Continue to follow up face-to-face with physicians and specialists.