Telehealth and Pain Management

Telehealth Continues to Help Patients Receive Healthcare During the Pandemic

Because of the current coronavirus pandemic, the world has had to adjust how it operates to protect its communities. Many industries across the world have been dramatically affected. The sports world completely shut down. Schools had to close early in the spring, with many moving to online education in the fall. Healthcare services prioritized emergencies to protect their staff, patients, and community.

However, as the pandemic progressed, healthcare experts needed to move fast to ensure that patients could still manage their healthcare needs. Earlier in 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “broadened their access to Medicare telehealth services so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.”

Since then, countless clinics across the country have moved many of their services online to continue to provide healthcare while keeping their patients safe. Telehealth has provided an opportunity for patients that are not dealing with a medical emergency to still “meet” with their doctor.

Texas Partners Healthcare Group wanted to continue to serve our community, so we also made the switch to telehealth services. Those dealing with chronic pain could still communicate with a pain management doctor from the comfort and safety of their homes. While it may not be the same, it still provides patients an opportunity to receive pain management treatment.

If you suffer from chronic pain and are curious about telehealth, give TXP a call today to learn more.

What is Telehealth? 

Telehealth (or telemedicine) has been a tool that many healthcare providers have been using for many years. Unfortunately, the current coronavirus pandemic has forced doctors to shift many of their services to telehealth. While not many pain management doctors were necessarily ready for the shift, they have made it work.

As time has passed, more and more providers have figured out ways that work best for them and their patients. When people first think about telehealth services, they imagine a meeting with a provider online using audio and video. During this appointment, they will discuss their symptoms and condition, and their provider will evaluate what steps to take moving forward, whether that be an in-office visit or an appointment with a specialist.

For existing patients, telehealth can also take the form of a brief virtual check-up, where you meet with your pain management doctor via telephone or video call to discuss whether to move forward with an in-office visit or to see how you are responding to treatment.

Additionally, patients can also use a patient portal for an e-visit, which is a non-face-to-face communication with their doctors.

All of these are different examples of telehealth. Telehealth includes any digital communications (whether by phone calls, video calls, or emails) between a doctor and a patient.

Through these visits, you can:

  • Regularly communicate with your pain management doctor
  • Receive evaluations from specialists; for example, you may virtually meet with an orthopedic surgeon for a post-surgery follow-up appointment
  • Engage in physical therapy sessions
  • Receive teletherapy sessions to help you manage how your chronic pain affects your mental health
  • And much more

What Conditions Can Telehealth Assist? 

As you can imagine, not many patients have much experience with virtual healthcare services. They are used to visiting pain management clinics in person. All patients looking for pain relief can still get help through telemedicine appointments.

Here are some chronic conditions pain management doctors can assist you with via telehealth:

These are just a handful of conditions the healthcare providers at our pain management clinic can help you with through telemedicine. During these initial meetings, we will go over your symptoms, your medical history, and more to get a better understanding of your chronic pain.

Then, our providers will decide what options to move forward with to treat your pain, whether that means an in-office visit or virtual treatments. Contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group to learn how we can help you.

Benefits of Telehealth

Telemedicine has been around for several years. Therapists and counselors have more experience with these services, but many healthcare providers have dabbled in them before COVID-19. There are plenty of reasons why telehealth has continued to grow in popularity in the years preceding the pandemic. Some benefits of telemedicine include:

  • Doctors can see more patients throughout the day, more conveniently.
  • Patients that are at-risk or live in rural communities far away from pain management clinics do not have to leave their homes. Doing so protects them from danger and is more convenient for patients.
  • Telehealth provides consistent care for patients that require long-term pain management.
  • It reduces avoidable emergency room visits by allowing patients to get an opinion quickly.
  • Telemedicine improves the availability of pain management doctors and specialists.
  • These appointments also bypass any functional disability or mobility issues patients face.
  • Patients can avoid certain economic limitations (such as cost of transportation, childcare, parking, and taking time off from work).
  • It allows patients to avoid the stigma related to seeking pain management treatment.

There is still not enough data to prove whether telehealth is as effective as in-person treatment. After all, some treatment methods cannot be done digitally (injections, discography, etc.).

However, telemedicine does improve accessibility and convenience for both patients and doctors. Patients can communicate with doctors easier, receive medical advice, and engage in teletherapy, while doctors can listen to patients’ concerns and make sure patients are following their treatments properly.

The Future of Telemedicine 

While the pandemic has forced the hands of the healthcare industry, telehealth appears to be here to stay. Already, it has highlighted the shortcomings in the medical system, namely when it comes to access. Even though chronic pain affects millions of Americans, not every American has access to treatment.

If used properly, telehealth can improve access to pain management while providing an effective alternative to in-office visits. It was already on its way to being one, but COVID-19 sped up the process.

If you or someone you love currently lives with chronic pain, give Texas Partners Healthcare Group a call today to let us help you find pain relief.