Am I Taking the Right Medications?
Telemedicine provides a more efficient way for patients to access prescriptions with a greater amount of ease in comparison to having to visit a doctor or health care practitioner in person. In order for the prescription to be sent to the patient virtually, doctors may provide a quick consultation, typically ranging between fifteen to twenty minutes, which can take place from the patients’ home.
Through using a combination of technology which may include voice chat, messaging, and video call in combination with a patient’s previous prescriptions and the patients’ unique health records, these details ensure that the patient will be prescribed the correct medicine due to the thorough process an individual must go through in order to get their prescription virtually.
Why Should I Follow My Prescriptions?
Taking the medication properly as prescribed by the physician helps to minimize side effects as well as helping to treat the individual’s condition. In addition, it can also help prevent an individual’s condition from worsening which can not only result in the production of further conditions but can also result in an increase in the severity of their current symptoms which may require the patient to be hospitalised or even result in death in some circumstances.
By using the medication correctly as prescribed by the doctor, the patient can help themselves avoid excess medical expenses which can be caused as a result of not taking their prescription properly.
What are the Common Type of Medications Given in Online Prescriptions?
There is a range of medications that can be accessed via telemedicine consultations in order to help manage a patient’s health conditions.
Common classes of medications that are usually prescribed online are:
- Non-opioid painkillers
- Fever medications like paracetamol
- Hormonal contraception
- Emergency birth control
Online prescriptions may be useful if
- a patient requires new medication or a refill
- they do not have easy access to their initial primary provider
- are in the process of changing their doctor
- transitioning to a new insurance provider (which can make it hard to get a prescription via traditional means)
When is an Online Prescription not Practical, nor Allowed?
In some cases the online prescription may not be available to be dispensed. The most common reason for not being able to dispense an online prescription can depend on logistic factors, regulations, regional stock availability, lack of infrastructure, lack of knowledge about e-pharmacy guidelines and even doctor-patient preferences.
Inability to provide an Online Prescription may also occur for a variety of reasons such as;
- the physician not being able to confidently ascertain an individual’s condition using just a telemedicine visit (especially if it is their first professional encounter)
- the individual not providing a sufficient amount of personal health information (ePHI) which helps the physician to confirm the suitability of the medication.
- the medication administration route requires expert supervision (eg. IV opioids, chemotherapy, intrathecal administration)
- lack of a data privacy infrastructure to collect, analyse and store digital prescriptions as part of their electronic health records (EHR/EMR)
- lack of pharmaceutical stocks in the originating site of the patient (especially when dealing with cross-border telemedicine)
- the health insurer may not reimburse for certain online prescriptions
In these cases, the patient may be denied and be suggested to visit a primary health care physician in order for them to receive the appropriate level of attention and care in-person. Furthermore, online prescriptions similarly to in-person prescriptions are subject to a range of medicine-related laws which depend on the state the patient resides in as mentioned previously.
Will Controlled Substances be a Part of Online Prescriptions?
The DEA has a list of controlled substances which include medical substances such as anabolic steroids and codeine-containing products such as Tylenol. These substances have the potential to be abused, therefore prescriptions including this category of pharmaceuticals are intensely monitored and restricted in order to prevent abuse.
For these medications, patients will only receive a limited supply of the drug, with the quantity often not exceeding use for more than a month. Evidence of drug compliance may need to be assessed before the next online prescription is approved.
If a patient’s prescription requires a controlled substance such as high potency pain medications, they should contact a primary healthcare physician as they will be able to provide more than a 30-day prescription as well as helping the patient to manage and side effects associated with extended consumption of their respective medication.
What Details are Required on an Online Prescription?
Convenient access to digital prescriptions are especially important for patients who have chronic health conditions or are affected by rare medical conditions as they will require additional support, and their prescription may need to be adjusted by care specialists in regard to the individual’s response to their treatment plan.
When a prescription is prescribed to an individual virtually, it is essential that clear details are explicitly displayed for all parties to confirm.
The electronic document must have the following information;
- The patient to whom the medicine is prescribed (is it a new patient or a patient already on file), with all of their contact information
- the provider who is prescribing, with full credentials in plain sight
- the manner of the patient visit (whether this document follows an in-person or virtual visit)
- the instructions for how often the medication should be taken
- the strength of the medication
- the quantity of the medication
- location of approved pharmacies to pick up or deliver from
- and any medical insurance approval details if applicable
Can Telemedicine Help Me Understand My Medications?
The combined convenience of telemedicine and online prescriptions forms the unique value proposition of telehealth as a whole. Ongoing studies by the American Telehealth Association have shown great potential in allowing patients to form a closer bond to their provider, due to the ease of communication in times of need, compared to pre-pandemic office visits.
If the patient needs additional assistance after receiving their telemedicine prescription, such as not understanding the medication directions or if they experience a change in their health or any other medications they have been taking, the patient will be able to directly consult the doctor who will answer any queries as soon as possible, without the need for an in-person office visit.
Many healthcare insurers insist on proper due diligence and prior authorisation when it comes to online prescriptions and remote delivery of medications. This is why there are available channels for patients to refer back to their provider network for any issues with their online prescriptions. In private care models, such avenues also exist in their mobile applications for a follow-up visit in order to clarify any doubts about their user’s clinical management.
Future of Telehealth
Telemedicine + Remote Patient Monitoring + Online Prescriptions?
The seamless merger between various tough points of digital health is no longer a dream of futurists, it is a real and practical tool in modern telehealth. In many health systems in the world such as in the United States, Northern Europe, United Arab Emirates, Japan and China, the healthtech infrastructure is a key delivery point for high quality accessible telehealth for their citizens.
The concept of ‘home health networks’ is a feasible endeavor amongst many healthtech startups in liaisons with major healthcare insurers, technology giants and public health sectors
In the Post-Pandemic narrative of digital health, it is a possible reality for patients with non-emergency health issues to consult their primary providers online, who have received secure health data from remote patient health monitoring devices (RPMs), to create customised care plans with online prescriptions already authorised, billed and shipped to the patients’ homes.
Though such forms of telehealth exist in some form or another, with varying levels of success, not all stakeholders are able to fully leverage the true potential of personalised medicine to the quality and sustainability according to their own unique health needs.
Though telemedicine and online prescription delivery platforms have indeed increased access and convenience for many patients, true patient satisfaction remains to be adequately assessed. It is not enough to simply provide a quick meet and prescribe for acute (non-emergency) cases, there is still a great deal of effort required to provide the right value to chronic disease sufferers.
Patients with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other long-term complex health issues need a personalised guided therapy that transcends just an online prescription of their daily medications.
Such patients have questions regarding their medication doses, regimen, questions about side effects and other queries that can affect overall treatment compliance. Often there is no easy way to ask for a follow up meeting just to discuss the details of their online prescriots, either due to scheduling issues with their primary provider or not being approved by their insurer.
How Will VIOS Telemedicine Providers Help Me with My Chronic Illness Management?
VIOS provides tertiary-level global telemedicine infrastructure that helps connect chronic disease patients to board-certified healthcare specialists. We enable direct pay access to people in need of specific healthcare guidance, that is best suited for their own unique healthcare needs, in a secure and optimised global digital health network, made up of specialists with decades of clinical experience treating complex illnesses.
Using the simple hassle-free VIOS Virtual Clinic, patients may choose the provider who is best suited for their own unique requirements, based on the provider’s skills, availability and other values that we bring to the global population.
Whereas many primary care providers may not always be able to comply with each and every query or request from their patients, our concierge medicine style of digital health is the perfect solution for a calm and secure virtual care experience to let patients talk for as long as needed.
Take for example, Chrostopher from South Africa, his son was recently diagnosed with a complex illness which requires expensive medical treatments. As any concerned parent, Christopher wanted to know of the diagnosis was correct and if his local healthcare provider was prescribing the right medication regimen according to the confirmed guidelines. Have a look at his video testimonial here.
This infographic will show you how patients can clear their doubts, ask for an expert consultation, inquire about second opinions and possible alternative treatment options, from our exclusive network of dedicated specialists.
What Kind of Questions can I Ask a VIOS Provider about My Prescriptions?
The VIOS network allows patients from around the world to seek their preferred provider based on a convenient virtual setting that is convenient for both parties. Our direct pay options are a suitable choice for patients who value the time spent with a compassionate specialist, uniquely suited to provide practical tips and guidance.
Check out our helpful introductory video here.
Patients may have their personal experiences with their health issues, but the majority of queries can be related to:
- Is this [the prescription] the right treatment for me?
- What does this medicine actually do?
- Are there any side effects?
- How often should I really be taking these drugs?
- How long should I be on these medications?
- Will these medications cure me?
- What other drugs should I be on?
- What medications do you usually give to your patients?
….and so on
As simple and mundane these questions may be for most healthcare providers, patients from all walks of life always have the same queries, but with nobody taking the time to listen and provide a simple (non-medical jargon) feedback to help them adhere to their regimen.
Our VIOS Providers are motivated to provide a sympathetic ear to help educate you on your health journey, together.
With decades of clinical experience and an optimised schedule that caters only to the patient who has specifically chosen them to guide them to better care, thousands of miles away but connected to you in a private and secure format.
View this free infographic to see why VIOS is your solution to easy and hassle-free specialist conuslts, from the comfort of your home.
Let's have a chat with your Specialist
Dr. Ismail Sayeed
Dr. Sayeed is the Medical Director of ViOS, Inc. He is a deeply committed physician entrepreneur & medical blog writer. While building the global infrastructure of the VIOS Clinic, he is dedicated to educate people on the potential of specialist telemedicine for managing chronic diseases.
Read more about him in his author bio