Delaying routine medical appointments or screenings carries risks for your health.
More than 31% of nearly 5,000 adults surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June 2020 reported delaying routine care because of concerns about the coronavirus. Such worries are understandable, but there are many reasons to continue preventive care, such as annual physicals and screenings, during the pandemic, including:
- Diseases don’t always have warning signs. Conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and breast cancer can develop without symptoms. Routine tests can detect these diseases early, allowing you and your physician to get a jumpstart on treating them.
- Healthcare facilities take plenty of precautions. Hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities follow expert recommendations to limit the spread of the coronavirus. If you have questions about the steps your healthcare provider’s office is taking, feel free to call and ask or check their website for protocols.
- Not all care has to happen in person. Some elements of routine care, including visits to discuss chronic disease management, can take place in the comfort of your home using telemedicine.
- Poorly controlled health conditions could make a COVID-19 infection worse. Your healthcare provider can help you manage chronic medical problems. Failing to do so can put you at risk for more severe illness if you’re later diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You need a regular status report on your health. You may not know you’re at risk for a chronic disease-or whether an existing one is under control-unless you check in with your healthcare provider at least annually.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Telemedicine
New to telemedicine? These tips can help you navigate a video health visit like a pro:
- Do prepare questions for your provider and gather important information, such as lists of allergies and medications, before your appointment.
- Don’t pick a high-traffic area of your home for your visit-opt for a quiet, private spot.
- Do follow instructions from your provider’s office for starting a video visit, such as downloading a videoconferencing app, if necessary.
- Don’t forget to check your tech before your visit begins. Ensure your internet connection is reliable and your device has a full charge or is plugged in.
- Do feel free to discuss any health-related issues with your provider, just as you would in a face-to-face appointment.
- Don’t end your telemedicine visit without a clear understanding of next steps, such as practicing home care, filling a prescription, getting an imaging test or seeing a specialist.
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