Multiple Sclerosis affects nearly a million people in the U.S., so many have had their MS healthcare treatments disrupted in some way since COVID overtook the nation. MS is an unpredictable, progressive disease affecting the central nervous system, where nerves are damaged or destroyed, corrupting the flow of information within the brain and body.
Like nearly everyone, MS patients have likely been forced to have some of their healthcare appointments via tele-health. There are positives and negatives when it comes to virtual care, but it's important to make the most of your appointments regardless.
If you haven't found your groove with telehealth yet, now is the time. While COVID is still ravaging the nation, it will eventually be gone, but telehealth is likely here to stay in a much larger way. It's good to see the healthcare industry embracing new technology and finding ways to provide greater access to care for all patients in every situation.
Multiple Sclerosis Tele-healthcare: Benefits For You
Multiple Sclerosis symptoms can make traveling more difficult, especially with flares that cause trouble with walking, tremors, weakness pain, fatigue or vision. With fears about the virus tacked on, tele-health for MS patients has more benefits than ever before. These visits eliminate the need to leave your home, and can save a lot of hardship.
Living with MS requires many visits to the doctor and it's imperative you stay up on your healthcare needs. When you can't get to the doctor in person to deal with symptoms, tele-health can be an extremely helpful resource.
A few ways doctors can help you virtually:
-- Tracking Symptoms
-- Medication management
-- Reviewing upcoming treatment
-- Analysis test result
-- Screening for complications
-- More access to specialists
-- Educational appointments
-- Mental health appointments
How to Prepare for a Tele-health Appointment
The first thing to do as you prepare for a tele-health appointment is check to make sure your insurance company covers tele-health visits for Multiple Sclerosis. Once that is confirmed, you can begin preparing for the appointment.
Telehealth is convenient, so it means you probably won't be waiting as long as you might in a doctor's office. Each office is different, but you will need a smartphone, computer or tablet booted up, charged and connected to the Internet. Many times, there are pre-appointment instructions, such as signing waivers or signing into a particular website. It's important to review all the instructions well in advance of your appointment, especially if it's your first time.
It's helpful to have good lighting and be in a place where sound quality is optimal. Using headphones can make the appointment go more smoothly.
The appointment can be a bit of a whirlwind, so be sure to have your questions written down in advance and be prepared to record, take notes, or have a friend or family member there to help you. Having a friend or family member there is especially important to patients newer to MS, as it can feel you get are getting a lot of information all at once.
Telehealth for MS Long-Term
Multiple Sclerosis is a long-term chronic illness requiring many doctor's appointments. Telehealth has been around for awhile, but in 2020, the usage has doubled. Health insurance coverage was extended in new ways and every healthcare profession began using it.
Because of the sudden boom, technology is innovating faster and the use of telemedicine will continue in much more significant ways than before even as the pandemic eventually dissipates. This can be extremely beneficial to MS patients who want to save time, money, pain and streamline their treatment plans in some way.
If you haven't yet set up a regular tele-health plan with your doctors, consider implementing it into your MS treatment plan today.
Want to hear from other patients? Check out some of our interviews with MS Warriors like this one!