Las Vegas Review-Journal : 2019-02-11

HEALTH : 20 : 8B

HEALTH

HEALTH Is telemedicine the next frontier in health care? The Associated Press W ALMART workers can now see a doctor for only $4. The catch? It has to be a virtual visit. The retail giant recently rolled back the $40 price on telemedicine, becoming the latest big company to nudge employees toward a high-tech way to get diagnosed and treated remotely. The Associated Press But patients have been slow to embrace virtual care. Eighty percent of midsize and large U.S. companies offered telemedicine services to their workers last year, up from 18 percent in 2014, according to the consultant Mercer. Only 8 percent of eligible employees used telemedicine at least once in 2017, most recent figures show. “There’s an awful lot of effort right now focused on educating the consumer that there’s a better way,” said Jason Gorevic, CEO Wof telemedicine provider Teladoc Health. Widespread smartphone use, looser regulations and employer enthusiasm are helping to expand access to telemedicine, where patients interact with doctors and nurses from afar, often through a secure video connection. Supporters say virtual visits make it easier for patients to see a therapist or quickly find help for ailments that aren’t emergencies. But many still fall back to going to the doctor’s office when they’re sick. Health care experts have long said that changing behavior can be hard. In telemedicine’s case, patients might learn about it from their employer and then forget about it by the time they need care a few months later. Plus emotions can complicate health care decisions, said Mercer’s Beth Umland. “My little kid is sick, I want them to have the best of care right away, and for some people that might not register as a telemedicine call,” she said. Tom Hill is among that crowd. The 66-year-old from Mooresville, Indiana, said he’s never used telemedicine and has no plans to. “I believe in a handshake and looking a guy in the eye,” said Hill during a recent shopping break at a downtown Indianapolis mall. “I don’t buy anything online either.” But the practice does gain fans once patients try it. Julie Guerrero-goetsch has opened her Mdlive telemedicine app several times since first using it about a year ago to get help for a sinus infection. The Fallon, Nevada, resident was skeptical, but she didn’t have time to go in person. Mdlive connected her to a doctor soon after she opened the app. She said he started asking questions about symptoms “just as if I was sitting in a doctor’s office” and prescribed an antibiotic. Getty Images ‘ As a student, I don’t really have time to spend three hours waiting to see a doctor, and this was so easy. No more waiting rooms Caitlin Powers tried telemedicine recently after hearing about it through a friend. The Columbia University graduate student was feeling stuffed up and worried she might be coming down with the flu. She said her appointment started on time, lasted 10 minutes, and she spoke by video with a doctor in Florida while never leaving her Brooklyn apartment. “As a student, I don’t really have time to spend three hours waiting to see a doctor, and this ’ Caitlin Powers Columbia University graduate student Some patients, especially older ones, also just prefer an inperson visit. “Going to the doctor’s office is a big event in their life and something they look forward to,” said Geoffrey Boyce, CEO of Insight Telepsychiatry, which provides virtual mental health services. TELEMEDICINE See 7B 16 16 Programmable Channels Mild to moderate hearing loss You are going to our Hearing Aids! RECHARGEABLE! Never Buy Batteries Again!† Receive a: CORPORATE LOCATION • FREE Charging Station!(1) • FREE Remote Control!(1) Henderson When you buy a pair of rechargeable hearing aids. Manufacturer Direct Pricing! 999 Premier Business Centers 1489 W. Warm Springs Rd. Suite 110 Henderson, NV 89014 $ Manufacturer Direct Price Originally $2999 per aid* SAVE Call today for a Hearing Exam! Appointments are limited. FREE $2000 20 SPECIAL OFFER! (702) 479-7463 $ www.zoundshearing.com Monthly Payments As Low As per month SPECIAL Financing Options available! *Offer valid on purchase of Vizara 16 hearing aid. Financing option on approved credit with 30% down payment and 48 month financing terms at $20 per month. (1) One Remote Control and One Charging Station per person with the purchase of a pair (2) of rechargeable hearing aids. †All rechargeable models. Zounds will replace rechargeable batteries for the life of the aid. Present this ad at participating Zounds Hearing Center. Not valid with other offers. Void where prohibited. © 2019 Zounds Hearing, Inc. per aid*

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