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Benefits of Telehealth

From Dr. Zsolt Kulcsar, medical director of Lee Virtual Health

Telehealth is a vital tool in health care and one that’s becoming more and more popular as patients realize the benefits to receiving care from the comfort of their home.

Through a phone, tablet or computer, getting certain medical services remotely has never been easier or more accessible.

In this week’s Healthy Living column, we are answering some of the most frequently asked questions related to telehealth.

What is telehealth? 

Telehealth is the ability to receive care through mobile or web technology via audio, video or messaging features. Telehealth allows patients to be seen by medical professionals right at home, just like in the early days of medicine. 

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits to telehealth, but the main one is access. Telehealth makes care more accessible to everyone, including those with unreliable transportation, no childcare or busy work schedules. There are also benefits in the features it offers, such as the ability to complete paperwork, check lab results and message care providers online. All you need is a mobile device or a computer to receive your health care online. 

What telehealth services does Lee Health offer?

Lee Health offers three main types of telehealth: 

  • MyChart is a secure, online way to access your medical records. Established patients can schedule video visits with their physician on MyChart. You can also request in-person or online appointments, refill prescriptions, get your test results, message your care provider on MyChart and more 
  • Lee Telehealth is a virtual urgent care that allows you to connect with a doctor 24/7. This service is available at a reduced rate of $20 (usually $49) to anyone experiencing a non-emergency situation. 
  • Remote patient monitoring is a telemedicine service providers can enroll their patients in if they have chronic illnesses or diseases such as hypertension, COPD or CHF. These patients are sent a kit with tools that help providers monitor a patient's vitals and overall condition and alerts the provider to step in when necessary. In the future, we hope to expand this service to more departments and offer it to a wider variety of patients.

Lee Health also uses telemedicine inside our hospitals for a variety of services, including “virtual rounds” on patients with suspected or positive COVID-19, connecting patients with their loved ones through an iPad for virtual visits while in the hospital, and allowing long distance loved ones to visit with NICU babies virtually through the NicView Program, which offers a secure, live-stream video of the infant.

As both medicine and technology progress, the possibilities of telehealth continue to grow. You can learn more about the telehealth services Lee Health offers at www.leehealth.org.