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When to use telemedicine vs. in-person care

When to use telemedicine vs. in-person care

Life is busy. And it seems busiest when you need to fit in an appointment with your primary care doctor or clinician. But that’s where our telemedicine options like video visits and other virtual care offerings come in.

Get a quick overview of what telemedicine is, then learn what can be treated virtually through primary care (and how our virtual care tools help save you time during in-person visits). Start scrolling or use one of the links below to jump to the section you may be most interested in.

First, what is telemedicine?

When we say telemedicine, we mean using technology to provide health care remotely rather than in person. Virtual appointments like video visits and online visits are examples of telemedicine.

What are the benefits of telemedicine?

Telemedicine gives you more ways to get the health care you need. It can also make that health care easier to access and fit into your busy schedule. That’s because you can use a phone, computer or mobile device to get care at home, work or wherever is most convenient for you. Plus, you save travel time to and from an appointment.

Is telemedicine different from virtual care?

Telemedicine is a central part of virtual care at HealthPartners. But virtual care also includes tools and technologies that help us enhance your health care experience such as:

  • Mobile check-in allows you to confirm your appointment, pay your copay, update your medication list and more. This cuts down on the time you need to spend standing in line or filling out paperwork at the clinic, so you can get in and get on with your day. This also helps clinicians get through routine questions more quickly, which means you can get to the main purpose of your visit as soon as possible.
  • Quick schedule makes it easy for you to schedule follow-up appointments with a click of a button from your mobile smart phone.
  • myHP mobile app helps you schedule new and track upcoming appointments, view test results, manage your health plan and more.

Using telemedicine: When it makes sense to schedule a video visit

Easy to access. Safe to use. Convenient for your schedule. Learn when video visits can help you skip a trip to the clinic or when an in-person appointment may make the most sense.

Best for new cold, flu or sinus symptoms, mental health concerns, sleep issues, headaches, follow-up visits for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, nutrition, weight concerns, and more. Best for preventive care such as annual physicals and health screenings, immunizations, health monitoring, and more. In-person visits are also a good idea if testing or an examination may be needed to diagnose conditions like ear infections.

Best for behavioral, developmental or mental health concerns, headaches, skin conditions like diaper rash, hives, insect bites or stings, and more. Best for newborn and well-child checkups, childhood and adolescent immunizations, asthma, and more. Illnesses that require testing or an examination for an official diagnosis like strep throat or ear infections are also good reasons to make an in-person appointment.

Best for birth control questions and prescriptions, preconception counseling, infertility concerns, painful, irregular or heavy periods, prenatal or postpartum depression and anxiety concerns or questions, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), menopause symptoms, and more. Best for women’s preventive care such as annual physicals and cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, postpartum exams and C-section checkups, chronic bladder infections or UTIs, and more.

Best for cold, flu or sinus symptoms, eye infections like pink eye, insect bites or stings, digestive trouble, muscle pain and more. Best for strep throat, stitches, cuts, sprains, strains, asthma and abdominal pain.

Using telemedicine: When it makes sense to use Virtuwell

Fast, affordable online visits 24/7. That’s Virtuwell.

Maybe it’s the middle of the night and you think your child has the flu. Or perhaps you’re traveling and notice a new skin rash. You can get a diagnosis and treatment plan from a certified nurse practitioner in as little as an hour.

Virtuwell is also a great option for UTIs, common STIs and more.

What would you do with more time?

Simple, safe and convenient access to quality primary care is important for staying healthy and happy. That’s why we’ve invested in telemedicine options like video visits and online visits through Virtuwell. And it’s also why we continue to expand virtual care offerings like mobile check-in and quick schedule.