What is Telemedicine?

The legal definition of “telemedicine is when a health care practitioner uses HIPAA-compliant, interactive, real-time audio and video telecommunications (including web-based applications) or store and forward technology to deliver covered services that are within his or her scope of practice to a client at a site other than the site where the provider is located (WA HCA)”. It does NOT include the use of audio-only telephone, facsimile, or email. Now that the legal definition is out of the way, why choose virtual care?

Telemedicine makes excellent use of your time and resources. It provides medical care to those in remote areas, removing the need for travel. You can get a quick appointment, often without waiting. You don’t have to take time off from work to get a treatment for something simple, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI). Convenience at a price often less than your copay.

The common cold is a perfect example of what virtual medicine is all about. Most colds are viral and do not require a trip to the clinic. If you are ill and you go to the clinic you can expose others or be exposed yourself. Virtual care cuts down on exposure, and symptoms can be treated conveniently. Your provider will ask you screening questions to rule out more serious conditions, such as pneumonia. If the provider suspects pneumonia, you will be directed on what to do next. If they do not suspect anything worse, they can advise you how to treat your symptoms with over-the-counter (OTC) medications or prescribe you something.

Urinary tract infections are popular for virtual appointments, especially if you have had one before. The key is to stop the infection before it travels up to the kidney; treat it early. The trick to virtual appointments is being able to identify and describe your symptoms. The more answers you have the better able your provider will be to diagnose you.

Sore throat is another good case for virtual care. You can get in quickly, and the provider again will ask questions to determine if you need testing for strep. Treatment recommendations can be made virtually and without hassle.

Skin conditions can be virtual. You need to make sure your camera and lighting will allow the provider a good clear view of the area of skin in question. Maybe you already know you have a skin condition such as eczema, acne, or rosacea and you are having a flair or need a refill. Telemedicine makes care convenient. 

Migraine care online is helpful. If you suffer from migraines, the last thing you want is to wonder into a well-lit clinic with noises. You can be treated at home, without the need for getting a ride or worse yet driving yourself. I recommend using a dark screen if you have light sensitivity.

All the way around, you can see the benefits of virtual care. Telemedicine can be used to treat many problems like the ones discussed here. More personal issues can also be discussed; such as incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and vaginal complaints. Choose your time, choose your locations, and live your best life with telemedicine through Intimate Health.  

Visit our website for more information at www.intimatehealthtelehealth.com


  1. Washington Health Care Authority. Paying For and Delivering Telehealth in the Covid Era: Early Groundbreaking Work in WA Medicare. Accessed 02/09/2022. Microsoft Word – DRAFT Telehealth_VSSL Report_Final.docx (wa.gov)

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Sharon Zell NP