Healthcare providers have been offering remote services for years, which have allowed patients to receive healthcare from the comfort of their own homes.

However, following the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine services became a necessity and are now a common tool utilized by many patients and healthcare professionals.

Why? These phone and video calls help patients protect themselves and others as well as provide a host of other benefits (but more on this later!) 

In this article, we’ll discuss what telemedicine is, the types of telemedicine, and when patients should be using these services. Let’s dive in.

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to connect with patients without an in-person visit. Telemedicine services are provided primarily online or via smartphone through video chats or phone calls.

What is the Difference Between Telehealth and Telemedicine?

The terms “telemedicine” and “telehealth” are often used interchangeably, though the two have a few key differences: telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services and telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services. 

Telemedicine, as stated by the World Health Organization, is “healing from a distance.” You receive treatment without an appointment or visiting the office.

Telehealth uses electronic information to support long-distance clinical healthcare, education, and administrative activities. It improves patient care and physician education rather than providing a service. Telehealth involves scheduling appointments, medical education continuation, and training for physicians.

In short, all telemedicine is telehealth, but not all telehealth is telemedicine. 

Types of Telemedicine

Using telemedicine, you can discuss symptoms and medical issues, receive a diagnosis, learn treatment options, and get prescriptions. There are a few common types of telemedicine which include:

Real-Time or Interactive Medicine

Interactive telemedicine, also commonly referred to as real-time or live telemedicine,  involves a physician and patient communicating in real-time.  

Real-time telemedicine involves any two-way communications –such as video conferencing and phone calls – that let providers and patients talk and allows healthcare providers to offer medical care. 

Some common services provided via interactive telemedicine include assessments of medical history, basic visual examinations, psychiatric evaluations, and even ophthalmic tests.

Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring gives caregivers the ability to monitor patients who have medical equipment that collects information like blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and more.

Through technology, information is sent to healthcare professionals and allows them to provide care and keep an eye on patients without the patients needing to visit in person. 

Remote patient monitoring can result in benefits such as reducing the time a patient needs to be in the hospital, reducing a patient’s exposure to other illnesses present in a healthcare building, as well as giving the patient time to recover at home. 

Remote patient monitoring is especially effective for chronic conditions such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes.

Store and Forward Practices

In telemedicine, store and forward practices allow providers to share their patient’s information with other healthcare specialists and professionals.

The most significant advantage of these practices is that it doesn’t require the simultaneous attention of the delivering and receiving parties.

Many healthcare professionals—such as field technicians, caregivers, or specialists, for example—can collect the necessary data and upload it for use by other healthcare professionals.  

When Should You Use Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is for straightforward questions and issues, and any follow-up consults. It also can be helpful with psychotherapy and teledermatology. Some examples of straightforward issues include cold and flu symptoms, insect bites, diarrhea, pink eye, and sore throats.

Telemedicine has advanced our current health care options by offering several new benefits. It is making healthcare accessible for more patients, whether they live in a remote location, have a packed schedule, or any number of other reasons.

When Should You NOT Use Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is not for emergencies. For anything that requires urgent, primary care, you should go to a doctor in person. 

Benefits of Telemedicine

Telemedicine Saves Time

These services also help people avoid unnecessary hospital visits, which helps healthcare professionals give advice at a distance, save time, and reduce costs for both patients and doctors. Not only will it help avoid hospital visits when they aren’t necessary, but it will also give patients in the hospital the ability to discharge sooner by monitoring their vitals with telemedicine.

Telemedicine is Affordable

A recent study found that the average telemedicine visit is around $79, whereas an average doctor’s appointment is $149, and a trip to the emergency room costs, on average, $1,734. As telemedicine continues to grow, health insurance providers are offering coverage for telemedicine visits. Some states even require that health insurance plans reimburse patients for telemedicine visits.

Telemedicine is Accessible

Telemedicine offers a more accessible opportunity for healthcare and changes the way we visit the doctor. At Innovative HIA, we offer the most competitive limited benefit plans in the industry, including virtual health options! Check out our services for more information!

Read on for the pros and cons of telemedicine.

Amid a global pandemic, the implementation of telemedicine has risen significantly over the last two years. Telemedicine can be a great way to communicate with your doctor in the safety of your own home. There are, however, pros and cons of telemedicine. 


Virtual visits can be used to detect symptoms of COVID-19, fevers, rashes, cold and flu symptoms, aches and pains, minor musculoskeletal injuries, small infections, and UTIs.


While this service can be an effective way to treat patients, there are pros and cons of telemedicine to consider.

Pros Associated with Telemedicine

Let’s discuss some of the pros associated with telemedicine.


According to a study, 74% of patients prefer easy access to healthcare services over in-person appointments. Not only does this provide convenience for all patients, but also it helps those who live in remote locations gain access to proper patient care.

Saves Time

Participating in a telehealth visit saves a patient time. Patients can participate in a telehealth visit from anywhere in the world using a mobile device, computer, tablet, or laptop.


Additionally, this service creates ease for those who would normally have to travel long distances for appointments. Moreover, a study found that patients wait an average of about 18 minutes in the waiting room. Telehealth helps to reduce wait times in the waiting room.

Cost-Effective Options 

These services significantly reduce healthcare service costs. Telehealth helps to:


  • Attract new patients
  • Reduce no-shows
  • And reduce overhead for physicians who decide to utilize telemedicine

Minimizes Unnecessary Visits for Patients

As a patient, it can be a waste of time and money to go to the doctor or ER for minor medical consultations. If your symptoms do not require an in-person visit, opt for a telemedicine appointment instead!

Improved Access to Care

Patients who face physical challenges to see a healthcare provider now have the ability to seek care through virtual visits. People with physical disabilities, the elderly, and those living in remote areas can face challenges reaching the doctor’s office. 


With the rise of health care shortages, in-person visits can be especially challenging to book. Virtual visits allow those who face physical challenges to speak to an expert without barriers.


Furthermore, virtual visits allow patients to speak with specialists who do not practice nearby. For example, a patient in San Francisco seeking a consultation from a provider in Los Angeles can schedule a virtual visit and receive the same quality of care with ease.

Telemedicine Can Lead to Improved Healthcare Quality 

When it is easier for providers to engage with patients and remotely track their health with monitoring systems, they can work to identify problems as they develop.


A study by the American Journal of Medical Care found that patients who participate in telemedicine visits experience lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, and have 38% fewer hospital admissions.

Cons Associated with Telemedicine

Now, let’s identify some of the cons associated with telemedicine.

In-Person Visits Can Be Necessary to Diagnose

Physical exams are impossible over the phone, which may be necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of a patient. For example, the COVID-19 test requires a nose and throat swab, so you must go to the doctor physically.

Security Concerns 

With the relaxation of telemedicine requirements due to the global pandemic, security concerns may arise. Cybercriminals can hack into telemedicine systems to steal personal healthcare information.

You May Not Know the Doctor Providing Your Care 

Utilizing virtual care services may mean you have a stranger on the other end of the call. These doctors will likely be unfamiliar with you and your unique medical history, which could affect the level of care they can provide.

Limited Technological Access

Not everyone has the same access to technology that makes telemedicine accessible. The elderly, minorities and those with lower socioeconomic status may not always have access to the technology needed for a virtual visit.

Training and Equipment Can Be Expensive 

Reorganizing IT staff to train and create effective equipment requires both time and money. To ensure an ROI from implementing telemedicine, staff, physicians, and medical staff needed to be trained properly.


Although there are a few things to work out within telemedicine technology, as you work to implement telemedicine into your benefits programs, the benefits of telemedicine can make a large impact.


At Innovative HIA, we believe in the power of telemedicine. That’s why we offer free telemedicine programs in all of our benefit programs. Learn more here.


Or, continue reading for five reasons you should use Telehealth.


elemedicine is now a popular alternative option for in-person visits.


Article originally published by SBMA Benefits.

Innovative HIA makes healthcare affordable by focusing on the insurance needs of people and trimming away the things most people don’t actually want. How do we do it? Let’s discuss.

Innovative HIA Provides Affordable Care Act Compliant Benefits

Any ACA-compliant benefit plan must cover these 10 health benefits:

  • “Ambulatory services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (before and after birth)
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services 
  • Preventative and wellness services and chronic disease management 
  • Pediatric services”

Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) is a classification of insurance plans that meet the Affordable Care Act requirements for health insurance coverage. Plans that meet MEC requirements include marketplace, job-based plans, Medicare, and Medicaid.

MEC can be a cost-effective way to ensure that families are protected in times of need but employers aren’t overpaying for unnecessary services.

Why Do Employers Need to Offer Coverage?

Employers must offer at least Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to any benefit-eligible employee. Non-compliance will generally result in a penalty of $2,750 annually PER eligible employee


Innovative HIA provides benefits that will meet these requirements and keep employers from being penalized without making them pay for the services they don’t need. We offer affordable coverage for all clients, with a variety of options, including telehealth, vision, and dental voluntary benefits.

How Affordable Are Innovative HIA’s ACA Compliant Plans?

Many of Innovative HIA’s plans cost less than $100/month and include virtual health, worksite benefits, vision, dental, and ACA-compliant plans that are affordable for both employers and employees.

Innovative HIA plans also offer the bundling of medical and ancillary benefit options, making affordable healthcare options easy for employers. This is a significant contrast to many employers paying thousands of dollars a month for major medical coverage.

Let’s Talk Telehealth Services: Giving People Medical Care at the Right Place and Time

Telehealth services experienced a spike in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Why? Telehealth services allow patients to stay home and keep others safe as well as work around a collection of other challenges, such as:

  • Problems finding childcare
  • Issues driving to or navigating a hospital due to a disability
  • Difficulty getting time off work


Innovative HIA’s virtual health and telemedicine services offer plan participants 24/7 access to their doctor, at no cost to them. They can speak to a licensed physician as and when they need, by phone or video, and find the complete solution to their health care needs.


Learn more about telehealth services.

Innovative HIA Gives Users What They Want: Hassle-free, Basic Care

Innovative HIA knows what the users of its insurance want, need, and expect: they want to go to the doctor when they need a check-up, they want to be able to get their kids registered for school with all their shots, and they want doctor visits and prescriptions to be as efficient and hassle-free as possible. 

Learn more about Innovative HIA and our benefit plans.  

Frank Crivello: Meeting Real-World Insurance Needs to Make Healthcare Affordable For All   

Frank Crivello, CEO of SBMA believes that success is not a destination, but a journey. He defines success as the balance of achievement and satisfaction.

“If you don’t like what you’re doing but you have a ton of money, that’s not success. If you do like what you’re doing and don’t have any money, well, that’s not success either,” he says.

Meeting the real-world insurance needs of people

Despite not having gone to Harvard or pursued advanced degrees, Frank achieved success just by learning from everyone around him.

“I’ve absorbed incredible insights and lessons from business owners and co-workers, from janitors and motivational speakers. Innovative HIA is successful because we listen to the needs of our brokers and the companies we serve, and then exceed expectations,” he states.

When Frank first started out in the insurance industry, he noticed that all the third party administrators were offering all kinds of products that their employer groups didn’t want or need. So when he built Innovative HIA, it was specifically to meet the real-world needs of the people they served. 

Innovative HIA provides ACA compliant benefits administration for large employers all across the US. The company’s offices and customer care center are located in sunny San Diego, CA.

“Insurance is not a new industry and, to be honest, major medical is not a place where much innovation takes place. At Innovative HIA we saw the opportunity to innovate in the MEC space, and seized the chance to really make a difference,” states Frank.

He notes that SBMA provides affordable coverage for all of its clients, with a variety of options, including telehealth, vision, and dental voluntary benefits. Their revolutionary idea was to offer plan participants real-world benefits they can actually use.

Providing affordable healthcare options for all

Innovative HIA benefit plans provide a complete solution for employers who want to provide affordable benefits to their workers. The firm offers the most competitive limited medical plans in the industry, with seamless benefits that work like major medical, ensuring ACA compliance for the employer at a price they and their employees can afford.

Many of Innovative HIA’s plans cost less than $100/month, and include Virtual Health, Worksite Benefits, Vision, Dental, and ACA compliant plans that both employers and employees can afford.

Innovative HIA plans also offer the bundling benefits of medical and ancillary options, making affordable healthcare options easy for the employers. Frank points out that not everyone wants to pay out thousands of dollars a month for major medical.

“Our benefits provide coverage for those who value acute care, prescription coverage, and regular DR visits, but don’t want to pay for comprehensive major medical. We created healthcare that costs between $40 to $125/month, by carving out the big ticket items to build plans that give people benefits they actually use. Practical, useable, affordable, and ACA compliant benefits for everyday people! That’s our revolution!” he declares.

Frank points out that, prior to the pandemic, the majority of patients preferred in-person doctor visits over telehealth options. However, when a contagious airborne virus appeared, telehealth options expanded dramatically. Almost all health insurance providers now have new, simple-to-use options.

With a Virtual Health medical professional on the line at any time of day or night, nationwide telehealth services help avoid unnecessary doctor visits, and provide numerous financial benefits to both healthcare providers and patients.

Telehealth services can help reduce transportation costs and save money for both patients and providers. Virtual visits aid in increasing patient retention, streamlining time on task, improving appointment compliance, lowering overhead costs, and reducing in-person liability.

Innovative HIA’s virtual health and telemedicine services offer plan participants 24/7 access to their doctor, at no cost to them. They can speak to a licensed physician as and when they need, by phone or video, and find the complete solution to their health care needs.

Flipping the MEC model on its head

Minimum essential coverage (MEC) is an insurance plan that meets the Affordable Care Act requirements for health insurance coverage. Plans under MEC include marketplace, job-based plans, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, insurers would refuse to insure people with preexisting medical conditions. Those who had used too much of their medical coverage in the past were also at risk of losing it.

MEC ensures that all enrollees have access to insurance, regardless of their health status or the plan they choose. It can be a cost-effective way to ensure that families are protected in times of need. Frank points out that the MEC space has traditionally been filled by those providing minimum essential coverage paired with minimum service.

“We flipped the model on its head by providing gold standard service to accompany the government mandated MEC coverage that employers must offer to be ACA compliant,” he states.

Innovative HIA knows what the users of its insurance want, need, and expect. They want to go to the doctor when they need a check-up, they want to be able to get their kids registered for school with all their shots, and they want doctor visits and prescriptions to be as hassle-free as possible. 

Innovative HIA also knows what its employer groups want: Fast enrollment and off boarding, no hassle ID cards, no hassle claims, and coordinated technology that streamlines their experience. And finally, the firm makes brokers’ lives better by taking all the hand-holding off their plates. 

Brokers are able to provide employer groups not only with great rates and easy compliance with the ACA requirements, but they can also hand those employer groups off to Innovative HIA, knowing that there will be a gold standard support team handling every phase of their relationship, from the moment the group enrolls.

A respected leader who commands trust and faith

Frank defines his leadership style as casual, collaborative, and authoritative. “Don’t mistake that for authoritarian. I know what needs to be done, and am clear with everyone around me. I move fast, make decisions with certainty, and I pivot easily,” he points out.

As CEO, Frank ensures that Innovative HIA is on track to be the best in the industry. His relationships with the leading brokers keep his finger on the pulse of the industry, allowing Innovative HIA to be more agile, more responsive, and a better partner for its brokers, and employer groups, with the freedom to be the best ACA compliant MEC coverage provider in the industry.

Some of the people on Frank’s leadership team have been with him since the early days, which he feels is a testament to the strength of their trust and faith in him as a leader.

“Nobody gave me anything starting out,” Frank observes. “I had to earn everything from the ground up. That might make some people resentful, but not me. I’m grateful for all the hard work I put in to get here. The view from the top is amazing, especially if you took the stairs.”

Today, SBMA is the industry leader in providing MEC coverage. Over the past five years, the firm has grown to become the gold standard in customer service by building the technology to streamline all of its operations. “I see blue skies and market domination in our future. And, I’m just getting started!” states Frank.

As a father, Frank dotes on his two beautiful daughters who keep him grounded and balanced. “They’re everything to me. Watching them grow up, and creating a life for them where they see that hard work pays off, and that grit and determination is enough to succeed, gives me great satisfaction,” he says.

Frank’s parting advice to aspiring business leaders is to: LISTEN. Don’t let ego get in the way of learning. It’s easy to think you already know, or even to worry that someone will think you’re stupid if you don’t know the answer. Lose that perspective as fast as possible. If you can absorb everyone else’s knowledge and experience around you, you will accelerate your own trajectory to success.

Telehealth is a term used to describe the use of technology, such as computers and smartphones, to provide healthcare services remotely. This can include things like video consultations with doctors, remote monitoring of patients, and the use of mobile apps to manage chronic conditions. Telehealth has become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to make healthcare more accessible and convenient for patients.

Pricing, Transparency and Access to Care

Telemedicine is a great way to provide affordable, convenient, and reliable care to more people throughout the world. A patient who has access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet, can receive care from a licensed physician anywhere, anytime. 

The expansion of telehealth services has allowed patients to call in for urgent care check-ins, primary care appointments, behavioral health appointments, and comprehensive chronic condition care. Many people are still wary about returning to the physical doctor’s office, which is where telehealth shines. But once the pandemic subsides, we will still likely see ongoing telehealth usage.

While telehealth helps ease the anxiety of personal contact amidst the ongoing pandemic, it can also be extremely helpful beyond our current global situation. Telehealth services reduce the downtime between appointments. With virtual appointments, you schedule a time to speak with your doctor without the waiting room, or a 4-6 week scheduling delay. 

Another positive aspect of telemedicine is the upfront, transparent pricing. Patients are given their rate before the appointment and they are billed that rate. No more surprise bills! 

Easy access to a video call with a physician can save patients thousands of dollars in unnecessary emergency room visits. Telehealth appointments are extremely effective in diagnosing fevers, rashes, cold and flu symptoms, aches and pains, minor musculoskeletal injuries, small infections, and UTIs.

Behavior Health Appointments

One area that has thrived with telemedicine usage is behavioral health appointments. Easy access to therapists and mental health professionals makes it simple for patients who may not have such access. 

Another aspect of virtual mental health services that most people have not considered is the benefit of providing care in the comfort of a patient’s home. Sometimes going into a physical office space can feel uncomfortable and vulnerable for patients. When they are in the comfort of their own home they are more likely to openly share their pain points. This helps therapists come to a quicker resolution and treatment. 

Having to take three hours out of your day to commute to the doctor’s office, have your appointment, and then commute back can be troublesome. Hopping on Zoom or Facetime provides a solution to this issue. Instead of a three-hour-long investment, the patient only needs to allocate a 1-hour window to be off the clock. 

Drawbacks of Telehealth

One of the major drawbacks of telehealth is that in some cases, in-person medical care is necessary. Physical exams are impossible to complete over the phone, which may be necessary for some diagnoses or treatments. 

Another aspect of telemedicine that can be concerning is the potential of a cybersecurity threat. While platforms are doing everything in their power to prevent cybersecurity hacks, sometimes breaches occur. As with anything on the internet, there’s a chance that patients’ personal health information will land in the wrong hands.

Lastly, patients may not always personally know the doctor they are communicating with. While doctors have done a great job so far establishing relationships virtually, it can still be challenging to create a personal connection without meeting patients in-person. Their lack of familiarity with you and your medical history may in turn play a role in their ability to provide a diagnosis.

Telehealth Will Not Be the Only Option

It is safe to say that telehealth services will not be completely taking over the healthcare industry. While we will likely see a continued expansion of usage and platforms, in-person visits will never completely disappear. As previously stated, there are some things that cannot be diagnosed virtually. Broken bones, chronic diseases, and blood testing are among some services that cannot possibly be done virtually. 

Telehealth is Here to Stay

As most have seen over the past few months, telemedicine is an extremely convenient, affordable, and reliable option for patients. As its widespread usage continues, we can expect to see the telemedicine trend continue post-pandemic. Telemedicine and in-person physician visits when partnered together create a holistic healthcare experience that ensures patients are getting the best care they need. 

Connect with Innovative HIA

If you still have questions regarding telehealth, reach out to us!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth services, such as Zoom diagnoses, became a necessity. These phone and video calls help patients protect themselves and others by quarantining and remaining safely in their homes.

However, after years of visiting healthcare professionals in person, many patients can’t help but ask the question: Can a doctor really diagnose over Zoom?

The short answer: Yes, doctors can absolutely provide accurate diagnoses and medical assistance over a video call. Telemedicine services help patients receive the care they deserve at the right time and place.

Read on to learn more about how to utilize telehealth services. Let’s start with a definition.

First, What Are Telehealth Services?

Telehealth, also commonly referred to as common medicine, allows healthcare providers to connect with patients without an in-person visit. Telehealth services are provided primarily online or via smartphone through video chats or phone calls.

Why is the American Medical Association Maximizing Telemedicine Service Options?

The American Medical Association is working to maximize telemedicine service options to revolutionize healthcare. While the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus drove this change, telehealth can help patients facing other medical issues or illnesses as well as those who may struggle to get to the doctor in person.

How Can Telehealth Help Patients Who Struggle Going to the Doctor?

Patients may struggle to attend in-person visits to the doctor for many reasons. For example, many patients may have difficulty getting time off work or may be responsible for watching children at home and find it challenging to find a sitter.

Additionally, telemedicine services can also help those who have had non-urgent medical care postponed due to the pandemic or patients whose medical resources are greatly limited in their area.

Patients should not have to receive less than the medical care they deserve because of these difficulties. Telehealth services allow patients to easily hop on a video visit and get the same results as going to the doctor.

So, How Exactly Does Telemedicine Work?

Drs. Francavilla Brown and Boyd told AMA that telemedicine “is easier than people think it is to incorporate into a practice.”

With technological advancements typically come progress and challenges. Physicians who have tried implementing telemedicine have identified these challenges, and have come up with a few solutions.

One challenge is patients may not have a good signal to support their doctor’s visit. The trouble with a weak signal may make the appointment longer, or impossible for someone who really needs it. Another challenge physicians have identified is booking appointments to be a televisit for doctor’s offices. The patient must call the office to ensure their appointment is virtual.

What Medical Issues Can Telehealth Services Best Help Patients With?

While telehealth services may not be the best option for detecting major issues, it has been great for reassessing and monitoring patients who have known problems. It can also be used to adjust medications, answer questions, and share information.

These services also help people avoid unnecessary hospital visits, which helps to give advice at a distance, save time, and reduce costs for both patients and doctors. Not only will it help avoid hospital visits when they aren’t necessary, but it will also give patients in the hospital the ability to discharge sooner by monitoring their vitals with telemedicine.

Looking for Telehealth Services?

Virtual visits with your doctor may begin to become the new normal in a post-COVID world. At Innovative HIA, we offer telemedicine services at competitive prices. Learn more about our services.

Infographic of "Can a Doctor Really Diagnose Over Zoom?"

Read on for the pros and cons of telemedicine.

Telehealth, a once overlooked method of healthcare services, has significantly grown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual visits are now part of everyday medical services. Its booming growth in the medical industry helps grant easier access to patient care for those in remote areas, or those seeking services that don’t necessitate in-person visits. But that’s not all. Let’s discuss the top five reasons you should use telehealth services. 

1. Save Time on your Appointments 

Telehealth visits cut down the time you spend before, during, and after your appointments. Participating in a virtual visit allows you to speak with your healthcare provider at a time and place that is convenient for you- likely in the comfort of your own home. It eliminates the time you spend getting ready, driving to the doctor’s office, waiting in the waiting room, waiting for any delays, and more. 

Research found that telemedicine visits average about 13-15 minutes while in-person visits average about 2 hours. 

Time is valuable, and you want to spend less time in the waiting room, and more time healing. 

2. Consult With a Healthcare Professional if You Need to Go in Person 

Not all appointments require you to physically be in the healthcare provider’s office. Virtual visits are best used in cases of:

  • New patient onboarding 
  • Sharing test results 
  • Chronic disease management 
  • Medication management 
  • Consultation visits 
  • Lifestyle / health coaching

Skip the waiting room and use telemedicine to your advantage when seeking out services that do not require an in-person visit. 

Not all injuries or illnesses can be satisfied with a virtual telehealth visit. A benefit to taking advantage of telehealth services is by first making a telehealth appointment to speak with your health care team to see if you should in fact go physically into the office. In these instances, telemedicine visits help you and your physician determine if you should seek treatment in-person or if the condition can be treated or discussed virtually. 

Seeking the counsel of a professional through a telemedicine visit can save you time by first determining if you need to actually go into the office or not. If you don’t it saves you a visit, and at least 2 hours in the doctor’s office. 


3. Cost-Effective

Telehealth is more cost-effective than an in-person office visit. Why? The main reason is that the cost of a telehealth visit is typically less than the cost of an in-person visit. 

Standard telehealth visits cost, on average, about $50. A standard in-office visit, however, can cost upwards of $176. While these estimates may vary based on insurance co-pays etc. the fact remains the same, that the overall cost of telehealth services is dramatically more affordable. 

It also saves on the expenses of transportation to the office itself. 

4. Receive Equivalent Quality of Care 

The quality of care you receive with a telehealth visit is equivalent to the quality of care in an in-office visit. You still have access to a dedicated team of healthcare professionals equipped with the same resources you need in the provider’s office. Your healthcare provider is still actively seeking ways to improve your health no matter if they see you physically or through a screen. 

Reports conducted by American Well and Massachusetts General Hospital found the following regarding patient’s experiences with telehealth:

  • “Patients reported that telemedicine visits resolved their concerns 85% of the time, versus just 64% of the time for brick-and-mortar appointments
  • Patients believe telehealth services can meet their needs as effectively as in-person visits.
  • Telemedicine users are very satisfied with the service. 
  • 79% of respondents perceived telemedicine as more convenient in terms of scheduling
  • 83% felt that the care was as good or better than an in-person visit, and 66% felt personally connected to their telehealth practitioner”

Furthermore, the American Journal of Accountable Care found that telemedicine has created a space for better long-term care management and patient satisfaction. It provides a new way to find health information and allows practitioners a more streamlined method of communicating with patients (such as video conferences, e-mail, and interactive chats). 

5. Decreased Risk of Exposure to Viruses and Bacteria 

An in-person office visit exposes you to other people who could be fending off viruses or bacterial infections. Virtual visits decrease your exposure to others who have an illness that could be passed to you. Additionally, if you have an easily transmissible illness, a virtual visit keeps those around you, and your healthcare team safe. 

For more information about telemedicine, review the difference between mHealth, eHealth, Telemedicine, and Telehealth here

Telehealth is a tool to use to your advantage

Article originally published on SBMA Benefits.



Article originally published on SBMA Benefits

The digital health world has seen massive growth over the last year. eHealth, mHealth, telehealth, and telemedicine are used to describe the use of mobile and desktop technology for patient management. These terms are used interchangeably at times, however, they each represent a different aspect of technology and healthcare. 

Learn about the difference between eHealth, mHealth telehealth, and telemedicine below, and why it’s important to know the difference. 

The Difference Between mHealth and eHealth

Both mHealth and eHealth play a role in supporting healthcare with electronics. They perform similar functions, however, the means by which the information is provided is the primary difference. 

What is mHealth?

mHealth is an abbreviation for mobile health, and utilizes mobile devices, such as a cellphone or a tablet, to support healthcare practices. With mHealth services, patients are able to log, store, and monitor their health records on their personal mobile devices. These applications are helpful in improving the efficiency of the delivery of healthcare information. mHealth applications can be helpful in research, and practitioner and patient use. 

Health tracking apps on mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular during everyday use. There are over 318,000 health apps on the market to choose from. Popular health app examples of mHealth include:

  • Fitbit
  • GoogleFit
  • Apple Heart Study

mHealth has the ability for healthcare professionals to track the recovery of patients. 

As hospitals and healthcare become more technologically reliant, more and more hospitals and health facilities are using the resources apps provide to access records, make appointments, and ask questions from mobile devices. 

What is eHealth?

On the other hand, eHealth consists of a much broader understanding of healthcare practices supported by electronic processes. The technology used to improve healthcare practices with eHealth include electronic health records, patient administration systems, lab systems, and other records that cannot be stored within mobile health applications. 

According to the Journal of Medical Internal Research, there are 10 “e’s” in eHealth 

  • Efficiency- avoid unnecessary duplication and streamline the health care service between patient and provider. 
  • Enhancing quality- providers have access to each other’s notes to avoid duplicating any previous exams or studies. 
  • Evidence based- there should still be scientific evidence on the basis of all information provided in eHealth. 
  • Empowerment- it should empower patients to be a part of the medical process. 
  • Encouragement- improving the relationship between healthcare provider and patient to work together in a partnership. 
  • Education- healthcare providers and patients have increased educational resources to learn and implement.
  • Enabling- allowing easy communication between healthcare providers and patients across the board. 
  • Extending- allowing healthcare services and assistance across the globe instead of relying on your set geographical location. 
  • Ethics- maintain the same values of professional practice, informed consent, privacy and equity. 
  • Equity- make healthcare more equitable for users. 

Furthermore, it should be easy-to-use, entertaining, and exciting.

Pros and Cons of mHealth and eHealth

Like everything else, there are pros and cons to using the digital capabilities of mHealth and eHealth.  


Pros of mHealth and eHealth

  • Education 
  • Convenience 
  • Encourages healthy behavior 


These three elements make mHealth and eHealth valuable tools for users. It’s a form of education for users to understand medical terminology easily, learn more about anatomy, prescription medication, and provide the ability to research using medical literature. 


We live in a world of convenience. Having technology on easily accessible smartphones keeps information at the tip of a finger, wherever users are. It can provide reminders about appointments or medications and much more by streamlining the communication processes. Health care providers have easier digital access to records and information instead of relying on paper documents. 


Finally, these digital services act as a platform to encourage healthy behavior through reminders or even encouragement from doctors.   


Cons of mHealth and eHealth

  • Privacy of information 
  • Less regulation 
  • Inaccurate spread of information 


Like all digital information, the material presented in apps is susceptible to data breaches and hackers. There is also the potential that an app could share personal and private user information. 


Additionally, these apps contain information that is less regulated than the information published in medical journals. Using them to test for the blood pressure may also lead to inaccurate results. 


Consider the pros and cons when using mHealth to support healthcare practices. 

The Difference Between Telehealth and Telemedicine 

These terms are confused with one another and used interchangeably. However, like eHealth and mHealth one term serves a broader purpose. The broader term in this comparison is telehealth. Telehealth refers to both clinical and remote non-clinical services, including providing training and continued medical education for practitioners. 

Telemedicine is solely referring to remote clinical services. The concept of telemedicine was started to treat patients who are located in remote areas. Throughout the last year with more and more services relying more on virtual resources, it has served a greater purpose – providing people access to care without putting themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19. As more people gain access to these services, expectations around waiting room times, access to care, and convenience of care are changing. 

Understanding the ways the terms work together to create the big picture of virtual healthcare is crucial to understanding your access to care. The aim of all of these services is to provide greater quality, efficiency, and cost of care to both practitioners and patients. Each plays a unique role in crafting a well-rounded digital healthcare plan for patients. 

Pros and Cons of Telehealth and Telemedicine 

Like mHealth and eHealth, the usage of telehealth and telemedicine can have positive and negative effects. Let’s uncover what they are.  

Pros of Telehealth and Telemedicine


  • Expands the number of specialists and healthcare professional access 
  • Simplifies patient visits which increase patient engagement
  • Is a cost-efficient opportunity 


Technological expansions now allow patients access to a wider net of specialists and healthcare professionals. Traveling to a provider is less of a concern with video capabilities. This helps patients who live in a different location see a wider range of healthcare professionals, or help patients see a provider for visits that do not require an in-person exam. 


Patient engagement is crucial for the success of their treatment plan. Telehealth and telemedicine services give patients quick access to providers and supporting staff in case treatment plans need alteration. It also helps practitioners to check in with patients conveniently and encourages the continuation of care plans. 


Overall, telehealth and telemedicine services are more cost-effective for patients and health care professionals. It saves time traveling and time in the waiting room. Additionally, virtual payment methods are quick, easy and reduce paper billing processes.  

Cons of Telehealth and Telemedicine


  • Technical challenges 
  • Limitation to physical exams 
  • Industry regulations


On the flip side, technology itself poses challenges. Hardware, software, and wireless connection aren’t foolproof. They can malfunction without notice or in the middle of a virtual exam. Some users may even find switching to technology a more difficult barrier to overcome. 


While video conferencing an appointment with a healthcare provider works for certain visits, they may not in all instances. There are times when seeing a provider in person will help find the answers needed for a treatment plan. 


Each state has different rules and regulations when it comes to telehealth and telemedicine practices. It may become muddled to decipher waivers and procedures needed during a growing virtual era. As we rely heavily on technology, there are rising concerns regarding how safe and protected information is from hackers and data breaches. 


Overall, telemedicine and telehealth have pros and cons, similar to mHealth and eHealth pros and cons. Weighing the benefits and the drawbacks of both help make better, well-informed decisions. 


At Innovative HIA, we believe in providing our clients with the most affordable, efficient benefits that are tailored to the needs of their employees. Telemedicine services integrate seamlessly into your benefits package to ensure your employees remain healthy and happy. 


To learn more about telehealth and why it’s here to stay, read our article here


know the difference betwee mhealth, ehealth, telehealth and telemedicine and how they all work together.