Any expecting or new mother knows how difficult it can be to leave the house—particularly when they’re not feeling well. Plus, with COVID-19 no one wants to spend time in a waiting room especially with the immune system changes that come with pregnancy or with a vulnerable newborn.
Enter telehealth. The only requirements are a phone or a computer.
How Telehealth Works
A patient starts by registering, which entails responding to a short questionnaire about health history—just as they would during a regular visit to a physician. Then the patient can either schedule an appointment time or wait for the next available physician.
If a patient chooses the latter, the waiting time is not long—only around 15 minutes on average. The patient can choose whether to interact with the doctor online, via the telephone, or through a mobile app. If necessary, the physician will send a prescription order to the patient’s pharmacy.
Along with being able to stay home when ill, telehealth patients get another benefit: a lower cost. In the standard plan option and the FEP Blue Focus plan option, patients pay a $10 copay (but the first two visits are free). In the basic plan option, patients pay a $15 copay (but again, the first two visits are free).
The Telehealth care option offers a variety of non-emergency services:
Minor Illness and Injury Treatment
Patients can access care for various ailments. Injuries and illnesses that can be addressed virtually include strains and sprains, allergies, pinkeye, headaches, bronchitis, and cold and flu symptoms.
Care is available for patients experiencing issues such as eczema, psoriasis, moles, warts, rashes, or acne. In these cases, patients can upload photos to share with physicians and receive treatment within two days.
Behavioral Health Care
Additionally, adults 18 and older can make appointments to speak with behavioral health therapists for support with depression, anxiety, stress, grief, substance use disorder, and more. (These appointments are available seven days a week but must be scheduled 72 hours in advance.)
Finally, the service also offers registered dietitians who can offer resources such as diet plans, shopping guides, meal plans, and customized nutrition information. This service is particularly helpful for pregnant and nursing mothers, as they adjust to changing bodies and nutritional needs. These appointments are available seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Alabama BC/BS also offers a free program called Baby Yourself, geared specifically to expectant and new moms. Benefits include access to a nurse who can answer questions, information about breastfeeding, and a free pregnancy-tracking app. You can read more about that program here.
Praise for Telehealth
According to BlueCross BlueShield, patients appreciate both the quality of care and the convenience of Telehealth. Members praised everything from the physician’s listening skills to the speed of setting up an account. This mother’s testimonial is especially applicable:
“As an extremely busy, working mom, I am always putting my care last on the list. Telehealth saved me a couple of hours waiting at Urgent Care, and I am already feeling much better. Thank you for this wonderful service!”
Here’s a brief video with more information about the telehealth services: