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virtual wellness visit

The Rise in Online Wellness Offerings

virtual wellness visit

While telehealth has been around for more than a century, online wellness—its more technologically advanced successor—exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic. And the offerings and opportunities available for this type of healthcare have exploded along with it.

Pre-pandemic, there were an estimated 5 million people who used virtual wellness offerings. This number skyrocketed to 53 million during the pandemic, with no signs of slowing down. What started out as a necessity turned into a new way of thinking about healthcare for many—and for good reason.

The benefits of virtual wellness

When it comes to online wellness, there's no shortage of providers or services. Aside from variety and convenience, it offers multiple benefits to providers and patients alike.

Expanded opportunities

Just a few short years ago, many of us were Googling "doctors near me" to find specialists in our area. But today, it's now possible to see a doctor in another part of the country—or in another country entirely.

There are numerous portals offering specialists in a variety of areas, many of which offer a more customized approach. Teladoc is a popular one-stop shop for connecting with a variety of specialists virtually, while platforms like Nurx allow you to customize your unique plan and fill prescriptions from the comfort of your own home.

So why does this matter? Let's say you have a rare condition or mystery illness, and no one in your geographic area offers a service that aligns with your needs. You can expand exponentially to find highly trained specialists who can help.

Expanded flexibility

With a virtual appointment, you're no longer required to drive to get there. As long as you have reliable internet access, you can chat with your provider on your phone or via a Zoom call. It may take some getting used to, but most of the specifics are the same. You can explain your issues or point out a physical concern on camera, and it's just as private as it would be if you were in an office setting.

Expanded privacy

Speaking of privacy, many of us have hangups about our health issues, and sitting in a doctor's office waiting room surrounded by strangers doesn't help. Being able to talk privately with a healthcare provider in the comfort of your own home can bring a calmness that's harder to find in a physical setting.

Many virtual wellness providers also use a secure online portal, where all of your health history is centrally located.

Expanded hours

For those with aging parents or young children, the opportunity to talk with a healthcare provider and discuss treatment at all hours of the night is beyond helpful. With online wellness, there's more of an opportunity to get advice and treatment exactly when you need it.

Expanded access

Testing doesn't have to happen at the doctor's office. You can walk into any of the thousands of labs across the country that process all types of tests, which can then be sent directly to your healthcare provider for analysis. And you often don't need a referral to see a specialist online.

In terms of cost, many online wellness providers offer flexible payment plans or are covered at least partially by insurance. Healthcare spending accounts and flex spending accounts through your employer also may help cover these costs.

With new technologies like fitness trackers and glucose monitors, it's also easier than ever to track certain aspects of wellness from anywhere. And with an online appointment, you get your specialist's undivided attention for 15 to 30 minutes long instead of the 5 to 10 minutes you likely get in an office..

Expanded mental wellness

Talking to a therapist online has its benefits. In fact, it's often just as effective as in-person treatment. And because the appointments are virtual, you're more likely to find a better fit for your needs than if you were to rely solely on local providers.

The bottom line

There are certainly times when a virtual wellness visit just won't do—and that's OK! Many providers these days offer both options, and virtual visits don't always replace in-person visits. It's still worth checking out some of the top telehealth providers to see if one's the right fit for you.


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