Scheduling doctor’s appointments, especially if it’s urgent, can be challenging. In the case of an ear infection, you may be in considerable pain. If an infection goes untreated, there is the risk of complications including hearing loss. You need to seek treatment as quickly as possible, but scheduling the time can take a big chunk out of your day. When it comes to children, telemedicine is a great alternative to putting an uncomfortable child in the car and then making them wait in a germy doctor’s office with other sick children.
As long as you have a computer, iPad, or Smartphone, you can video chat with licensed and certified physicians in just a few minutes. Download an app or register online to select from a list of common illnesses being treated before choosing what type of session – video or telephone – and the time you prefer. The response time may range from a few minutes to 24 hours depending on the type of symptoms you are dealing with and the availability of a doctor that best suits your needs.
Investigate consultation services to be sure they fit your healthcare criteria and choose plans that are available if you have a chronic condition and need frequent virtual visits. Each service needs a little health background, just like any other doctor would, and you will need to mention your insurance information if you have it, but it is not required. These services conducted online or by phone are also subject to strict regulations to meet the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) laws and use encryption methods of storing patient information the same as any doctor’s office or medical facility.
Consider making a list of your symptoms as well as your current temperature, any vomiting, sore throat, stiffness, headache, or hearing loss. Note any allergies to medications and questions you want to ask. This helps you and the doctor to get the most out of your session. Your chat should be quick and convenient so you can get on with the rest of your day as planned.
A video appointment begins at the pre-arranged time with questions about symptoms designed to evaluate all the information along with your physical appearance, just like a regular doctor visit. Since the doctor cannot physically look into the ear, they may have you tug gently on it, especially if the patient is a child, to determine pain sensitivity. Telemedicine doctors will email a copy of the diagnosis and instructions for treatment to be sure you understood correctly.
The doctor will treat the ear infection with over the counter medicine or order prescription ear drops or antibiotics depending on the outcome of the video session and symptoms described. The treatment is the doctor’s decision, just as it would be in a regular office setting. Telemedicine doctors are not able to prescribe narcotics or controlled substances for pain, according to state guidelines, which will vary from state to state even for prescription antibiotics. When a prescription drug is necessary, you or your pharmacy will receive it electronically.
Follow up by completing the doctor’s instructions. If the physician feels unsure about the diagnosis, they may ask you to schedule an office visit with your primary care physician or schedule laboratory testing. Always seek additional medical attention immediately if your situation worsens. Go to the nearest urgent care center or local hospital emergency room.
Your exam will be thorough and lead to a diagnosis, a plan of treatment, and instructions. While ear infections can be painful, they usually are not serious and are easily treated. Always completely finish your prescription as directed, to avoid recurrence of infection. You will have up to seven days for follow-up questions, depending on the specific company guidelines.
Telemedicine has expanded from being used in hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices and is more popular than ever for treating common ailments. It’s faster, easier, and usually, costs less overall than other appointment methods today. While it cannot take the place of a hands-on doctor for a serious injury or emergency, results are valuable in many other situations when you are unable to leave your home, office or travel location and are experiencing symptoms of flu, skin rashes and acne, urinary tract infections, eye and sinus infections, mental health therapy, stomach ache, diarrhea, or mild asthma.
It is certainly worth giving a try for the treatment of an ear infection.
Urgent Care, A HealthNetwork Company, 2016 What Kind of Results Can I Expect? http://www.urgentcare.com/news/use-telemedicine-service/
Urgent Care, A HealthNetwork Company, 2016. How Telemedicine Services Can Treat an Ear Infection, http://www.urgentcare.com/news/telemedicine-services-can-treat-ear-infection/