Want to avoid doctors’ waiting rooms? Telemedicine in increasing demand

Medical professionals available 24/7 on your screen

Telemedicine is gaining an audience amid concerns about the new coronavirus.

“Telemedicine as an option has been around a while, but this is sort of bringing it to the forefront,” said Jeremy Gabrysch, founder and CEO of Austin-based Remedy.

The doctor is in and he’s on your tablet, smartphone or laptop.

To control the fast spread of COVID-19, people have been told the keep their distance, stay home if they’re ill and avoid contact with sick people. So, Gabrysch said his company is seeing a noticeable increase in the number of people calling in.

“It’s not so much because people are concerned they have COVID-19, but whatever they were going to seek medical care in the first place,” he said. “They much prefer telemedicine.”

Virtual visits have been on the rise in recent years and consumers have a growing number of options.

To find access to telemedicine, check with your personal doctor or insurance company. Retail clinics and urgent cares are adding the technology, too.

There are obvious limitations to visiting with virtual medicines, but doctors and physician’s assistants are able to evaluate symptoms and health histories, among other factors, to see if a person is to seek in-person care at a hospital or can be treated at home, Gabrysch said.

“We can tell a lot by looking at person,” he said.

Remedy also makes house calls in the Austin area.

In light of the new virus outbreak, the CDC is encouraging the use of virtual medicine. Gabrysch said his company recommends someone with flu-like or upper respiratory symptoms access a virtual encounter first.

In the weeks ahead, he said they are anticipating a spike in the use of virtual care.

“It’s better for us as a community for sick people to stay at home and not be out infecting others or well people to not be in waiting rooms with other sick people,” he said.

Many insurance companies cover virtual doctor’s visits. Out of pocket costs are typically around $50 to $60.

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