When you’re going through a fibromyalgia flare-up, leaving the house can seem impossible. There are times you might want the help of your doctor, but just can’t get to them! That’s why more and more fibromyalgia patients are turning to telemedicine. There are many benefits of telehealth for people with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia!
What Is Telehealth?
- 1 What Is Telehealth?
- 2 What Are the Benefits of Telehealth for People with Fibromyalgia?
- 3 With the Benefits of Telehealth Come the Drawbacks of Telehealth
Telehealth is a fairly old (but recently popularized) way for patients and doctors to meet using video or phone technology. While there are some situations that require an in-person meeting, you can handle more minor situations by consulting with your doctors online or on the phone.
For example, if your doctor knows your case extremely well, they might be able to perform check-ins with you over the phone. You can also leverage video technology to address one-off questions about a specific pain area because you can show your doctor through the screen.
What Are the Benefits of Telehealth for People with Fibromyalgia?
Once you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, much of your treatment journey will have to do with symptom management. Visiting your doctor’s office repeatedly can be a hassle! Instead, you can leverage the benefits of telehealth from your home.
You Can Have Quick Follow-Up Appointments From Home
Follow-up appointments typically come after a longer diagnostic or procedural appointment. They are quick check-ins that usually last just a few minutes. It’s easy to understand why most fibromyalgia patients would rather skip the commute and complete their follow-ups from home.
And it makes sense! With so many symptom treatments available to try, it often takes several attempts before landing on a regimen that works for you. Telehealth check-ins are easier to fit into your daily life and can get you on the best symptom-management plan sooner.
You Can Easily Access Specialists Across State Lines
When you’re struggling with fibromyalgia, you want the best physicians taking care of you! But the best medical providers are scattered across the country and are often far away from the patients who need them.
One of the benefits of telehealth is being able to reach the doctors of your choice no matter where they are in the world. Your treatment knows no barriers with telemedicine!
Your Online Doctor Can Spot Issues In Your Home
Have you ever considered how your environment plays a role in your well-being?
When you visit your doctor for a fibromyalgia consultation, you’re left to describe your home and your lifestyle. And you might be missing out on a few important details.
On the other hand, consulting via telehealth gives your physicians a chance to see inside of your home! They can often spot logistical issues that will trigger muscle tenderness. For example, perhaps you’re keeping your plates too high! Maybe your furniture is too hard or soft for your pain threshold. Those small environmental triggers can be fixed with the help of your doctor.
Your Doctor Can Quickly Confirm Prescription Refills
Visiting your doctor’s office for something as simple as a prescription refill is burdensome at best (and downright uncomfortable at its worst). It’s much faster and simpler to make a telehealth appointment so your doctor can phone in your refills.
Bonus tip: you can even have some prescriptions delivered straight to your door and avoid leaving the house altogether. It might not be necessary all the time! But sometimes staying home is a lifesaver when you have fibromyalgia.
You Can Reduce Your Exposure to Other Illnesses
While fibromyalgia is a chronic (all-the-time) illness that’s not contagious, loads of people visit their doctors for things that are. Protection from infectious disease is among the most appreciated benefits of telehealth.
The bottom line is that no medical mask or pair of gloves can protect you or your doctors as well as distance can. If you have fibromyalgia, the best way to keep up with your appointments and stay safe from germs is to leverage telemedicine.
With the Benefits of Telehealth Come the Drawbacks of Telehealth
Of course, there are downsides to consider with telehealth technology. It’s impossible (so far) to fully replicate an in-office experience from home through your phone, tablet, or computer. Take a look at three pitfalls to virtual doctors visits.
You May Have to Take Your Own Samples
Not everything is faster when you have a telehealth visit for fibromyalgia. Being distanced from your doctor means that the job of measuring or collecting data falls on you.
There are a few types of samples or tests you might find challenging to take care of at home:
- Blood pressure
- Circulation or reflex tests
And most tests (such as blood or urine tests) simply can’t be conducted on your own. If your doctor requires complicated data for your appointment, you’re better off dragging yourself into the office to take care of it.
Technology Can Be Unreliable or Difficult to Understand
Listen, there are days when technology is just not your friend. Don’t forget exhaustion and brain fog are key obstacles for fibromyalgia patients. So dealing with complicated sign-on instructions or technological glitches can be a hassle.
The benefits of telehealth can only shine through if your Internet and phone connections are strong. If your doctor can barely see or hear you, you’re better off taking the journey to see them in person.
Your Insurance May Not Cover Telehealth Appointments
Money plays an important role in any type of medical care. Telehealthcare is still developing, so not all insurance plans will cover it.
You need to check with your insurance provider before scheduling a telehealth visit to make sure you don’t end up in a financial bind. Doctors charge a lot of money for the important work they do! And you don’t want to end up paying out of pocket for straightforward care.
There are many advantages in telemedicine… especially for people with fibromyalgia! Treating fibromyalgia is a marathon—not a sprint. Consider leveraging the benefits of telehealth to simplify your long-term treatment.