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Telehealth or In-Person Care?

Health care providers are using telehealth (or, as it is sometimes referred to, “telemedicine”) as an alternative to in-person visits to treat a variety of medical conditions and concerns. But for some appointments, an in-person office visit is still the right choice. How do you decide between them? Here are a few guidelines to help.

When telehealth makes sense

Telehealth is ideal when you need to talk your provider about a health concern, have questions about symptoms and treatment, or need to discuss other items such as:

  • Lab or X-ray results
  • Prescription refills
  • Annual Wellness Visit
  • Exercise or diet
  • Mental health concerns like stress, depression, or anxiety
  • Skin rash, infection, or other conditions with physical signs that can be seen in a photo or video

When to see a doctor in person

The biggest advantage of an in-person visit is that the doctor can physically examine you. Here are examples of other services that need to be provided in a medical office:

  • Vaccines
  • Allergy shots
  • Annual physical (if possible)
  • Procedures such as excising skin lesions, taking swabs and smears, applying stitches, or giving injections
  • Hearing and vision tests
  • Collecting body fluids for lab work, such as blood and urine tests
  • X-rays and other diagnostic imaging

Staying safe at the doctor’s office

Even with the number of people being vaccinated increasing, it’s still important to take basic safety precautions when seeing your health care provider in person. You can limit your risk of contracting COVID-19 at the doctor’s office by:

  • Wearing a face mask
  • Keeping social distance from others
  • Avoiding contact with high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs and elevator buttons as much as possible
  • Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer before and after your visit