This year, people have increasingly turned to FaceTime and other video apps to catch up with family, friends, work colleagues — and physicians.
Even before COVID-19, the intersection of people’s busy lifestyles and fast-improving technology made so-called “virtual” meetings and conversations an increasingly viable option. Mix in a global pandemic and newly distanced relationships and video meetings and conversations are even more necessary.
The City of Houston Benefits division’s “Be Better” campaign is exploring new ways to engage employees with healthcare options so they can be better, address health issues and be healthier.
And virtual doctor visits are a vital part of that.
Telemedicine and virtual care options are a huge leap in lining up unanticipated doctor visits. Before telemedicine, if you became ill or something unexpected happened, you called your doctor and kept your fingers crossed. Now, with a good internet connection and a few clicks, you can connect with a board-certified doctor whenever and where ever you need — from home, the office, anyplace, anytime.
Virtual visits are good for a wide range of routine conditions, such as sore throat, cold or flu, allergies, headaches, stomachaches, and more.
“Just the convenience of it: It has created a sense of relief to have more options,” said Sonyia Graham, Benefits administrative coordinator. “It’s really nice to not have to go in for every appointment or to discuss prescriptions.
“They can see you for a lot of things. It really saves you a lot of time and a lot of anxiety,” Graham said. Virtual care is simple, too.
Employees in the Cigna Open Access and Consumer Driven health plans can use Cigna Telehealth Connection to set up doctor visits easier and faster than ever by using a smartphone or a computer with internet connection.
Employees in the Limited Network Plan may have options through the provider group they use for a copay.
Typically, telehealth visits cost less than going to an urgent care clinic and significantly less than going to the emergency room. And the cost of a phone or online visit is the same or less than with your primary care provider.
All COH health plans have virtual care options for quick, easy and convenient doctor visits any time day or night.
For more information on your telecare options, visit cityofhoustonbenefits.org.