Telehealth: Safe, Secure and Convenient
July 16, 2021 | By Baltimore County Public Library
Telehealth got a big boost during the pandemic—and now it’s here to stay. Telehealth is the delivery of health care services using technology. According to the Maryland Health Care Commission, telehealth “expands your options to receive medical care and manage your health using technology (smartphone applications, video, email, telephone, text, etc.) allowing you to communicate with a health care provider who is in a different geographic location.” Read below to learn what that means for you as a consumer of health services.
Benefits to Telehealth
- Safe: Reduce your exposure to illness (and keep your own germs away from others) by avoiding the waiting room.
- Convenient: Appointments can be scheduled with greater flexibility. Communication by email or through your provider’s website is available anytime.
- Secure: HIPAA laws regarding health communications still apply. Personal identifying information is protected and only authorized staff can view your health records.
- No travel needed: Visit with your physician in the comfort of your home or see a specialist outside your own community.
- Efficient: Issues like routine care or care for chronic conditions, counseling, non-emergency issues, prescription refills and viewing test results can be handled quickly.
How to Participate
If you have a smartphone, a tablet or a computer with an internet connection, you are on your way to being able to video chat with your medical providers. Outside of standard office hours, you can communicate with your provider by chat, email and text messaging. Check with both your health insurance company and your medical provider’s office to find out how you can interact with them via telehealth. If you're concerned that you don’t have the devices or skills to take advantage of telehealth, you can check out laptops and internet hotspots from the library using your library card—our staff is ready to teach you how to use the equipment.
Visit the Maryland Health Care Commission’s Telehealth page. It offers a telehealth resource guide for consumers that includes educational podcasts from AARP and Johns Hopkins Medicine, answers to frequently asked questions about telehealth and telemedicine, and informational material you can print out and share.