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How Does Telemedicine Work?

by | Dec 16, 2021 | Primary Care, Women's Services

North Texas Medical Center offers visits in person and by telemedicine. Appointments for telemedicine don’t require you to get dressed up and drive to the office to be seen by your doctor, and they can be an easy and efficient way to get follow-up care. With telemedicine, your doctors can treat you whenever and wherever you need them, using your computer or your smartphone.

Some of the situations in which telemedicine is the best way to get medical care are:

  • Diagnosing minor, common medical problems like sore throat, headache, digestive upset, and back pain.
  • Questions about home treatment for various medical conditions.
  • Follow-up treatment for chronic disease, especially when the main reason you need to see your healthcare provider is to discuss labs.
  • Faster filling of prescriptions you need.
  • Medical care after the clinic is closed, evenings, nights, weekends, or holidays.
  • Conditions prevent you from getting to the doctor’s office, such as bad weather.

It’s not hard to access telemedicine. Your clinic or your doctor’s assistant will set up an account for you with their service provider. If you are accessing telemedicine by your smartphone, usually you will be given a toll-free number to call. If you are accessing telemedicine on your computer, you will be sent a link to click when it is time for your appointment.

What are the benefits of telemedicine?

Telemedicine is becoming more and more popular every year because it offers significant benefits to both patients and doctors.


Telemedicine is extremely convenient for both patients and doctors. Not only do you not need come into the office, your doctor or nurse practitioner doesn’t, either. Telemedicine gives your doctor a way to serve patients when travel into the clinic is not possible.

There are two important restrictions on telemedicine visits.

If you are a resident of Texas, your doctor can write a prescription after a telehealth exam if (1) you have an established doctor-patient relationship and (2) your complaint is something that can be safely diagnosed and treated by telemedicine. If you are a resident of Oklahoma, similar rules apply, and, of course, your doctor or nurse practitioner must have a valid license to practice in Oklahoma.

When you are dealing with North Texas Medical Center, we take care of those details for you.

Cost reduction

Telemedicine saves both you and your doctor money. You don’t have the expense of gas, parking fees, and wear and tear on your vehicle when you have a doctor’s appointment by telemedicine. You don’t have to take as much time off work, and you will probably have a faster visit, resulting in a lower fee for the visit.

Telemedicine saves North Texas Medical Center money, too. There aren’t any of the expenses associated with canceled appointments. There is no need to go through the COVID-19 protocols for disinfecting the exam room after your visit, because the visit is conducted by telemedicine. And doing your visit by telemedicine lightens the load of reception staff and maintenance personnel.

Telemedicine is fast

It can be tempting to try a quick-care nurse practitioner in a pharmacy or a retail store when you feel sick. They are licensed to give good care, but they don’t know you. They don’t know to look for subtle symptoms that you may not think to mention, and they don’t know your health history to make sure they are giving you exactly the prescription you need.

Telemedicine is even faster than seeing a nurse practitioner in a retail store. And because you are being seen by your regular doctor, you are getting a whole different level of care. Your doctor at North Texas Medical Center knows you, not just your disease.

Frequently Asked Questions About Telemedicine

  1. Is telemedicine hard to use?  If you can use a computer or a smartphone, you can use telemedicine. Telemedicine apps are designed to be easy to use.
  2. Will my health insurance pay for a telemedicine visit?  If you are having a telemedicine visit with a doctor with whom you have already established care, the answer is yes. If you are a resident of Texas or Oklahoma, your insurance may not pay for a telemedicine visit with a provider in a different state.
  3. Do Medicare and Medicaid cover telemedicine visits?  Most of the time, yes. North Texas Medical Center will confirm this before your visit.
  4. Are telemedicine and telehealth the same thing?  Almost. Telemedicine is aimed at diagnosing and treating diseases, while telehealth also includes transmission of fitness data for improvement of athletic performance, health education on demand, and transmission of medical records.
  5. What happens if I can’t make my telemedicine appointment?  Texas permits “asynchronous store and forward technology coupled with synchronous audio interaction.” In other words, send your doctor a video of the problem, and then follow up with a phone call to discuss your symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

There are also situations in which a follow-up visit can be conducted entirely by phone, usually for a condition for which you have been treated by the same doctor for a long time.

  1. Are my conversations with my doctor during a telemedicine visit private?  The same HIPAA rules that apply to in-person visits also apply to telemedicine visits. North Texas Medical Center takes careful steps to make sure that every record of your visit is treated as confidential, and only disclosed to people you authorize.

Telemedicine is safe, convenient, private, and cost-effective. Ask about telemedicine the next time you need urgent care from North Texas Medical Center.

Contact North Texas Medical Center

North Texas Medical Center has all the staff you need for your safety and comfort 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are a level 4 trauma center, and we are also fully equipped for general surgery and weight loss surgery. Always call 911 for emergencies, but feel free to telephone the friendly staff at North Texas Medical Center at (940) 665-1751 or contact us online if you have general questions. North Texas Medical Center is located at 1900 Hospital Blvd, Gainesville, TX 76240.


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