Telehealth services: An overview of HealthTap's benefits

Reviewed by:
Dr. Robert Kwok
Director of Health Informatics
Last updated on September 13, 2023 UTC

Telehealth may have gotten much more attention and publicity since the coronavirus pandemic, but “telemedicine” has been around for far longer. Historically, healthcare providers first discussed the benefits of providing care in the home nearly 150 years ago, in 1879. 

As technology has advanced from the radio to the invention of the telephone and the hand-held mobile devices, so have the ways medical care teams can meet the needs of their patients without requiring them to take a trip to a physical doctor’s office. 

Do healthcare providers need special certification to offer their services virtually?

Doctors need no additional certifications to provide virtual care as long as they are licensed to practice medicine in their state. The ability to provide virtual health care across state lines is called cross-state licensing. 

For more information, visit the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) — a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with resources on how telehealth works and how they are working to improve cost, effectiveness, and health outcomes.

What medical services can be performed during a telehealth appointment?

Telehealth companies are no different than in-person medical offices — each offers different types of medical care that differ depending on the various certifications and licenses of the doctors they hire. 

For example, some telehealth companies focus only on acute care visits — offering care for patients with coughs, colds, and other similar, non-emergent complaints (especially symptoms outside of standard healthcare hours). 

Others branch out into specialty healthcare (including women’s health or travel medicine) or function as a patient’s primary care provider, allowing them to access annual preventive care and have certain chronic conditions managed by a medical professional. 

Essentially, the medical services that can be performed during a telehealth appointment don’t require hands-on or emergent care — which rules out medical concerns like broken bones, heart attacks, seizures, and similar issues. Patients with these symptoms should seek immediate attention at an in-person medical facility (preferably an emergency room).

Are telehealth services as “good” as in-person care?

One of the most frequently asked questions our HealthTap patients ask is if they will get the same quality of care from telehealth services as they would get from physically seeing a doctor in an office setting. 

In fact, telehealth is better than in-person visits in some quality measures

Our patients can feel secure that they will get the same effective, thorough care with a telemedicine visit as they would in person. Our doctors are trained to know what is safe to treat virtually, so they can be upfront about being unable to manage any conditions or health issues that require in-person care.

Telehealth services also give patients the unique ability to interview their possible providers before accepting their care, increasing the likelihood that they will “match” — a crucial part of developing a trusting relationship between a patient and their doctor.

Can telehealth services be billed to insurance?

Every telehealth company is different, so patients must do their research. For example, HealthTap allows patients to utilize out-of-network benefits for their telehealth services. 

For those who subscribe to HealthTap, the out-of-pocket cost is often not much more than an in-person office copay (and far less than the cost of a visit before a patient has met their annual deductible. 

HealthTap has no relationship with public health insurance (like Medicaid or Medicare), so administrative or regulatory issues may be associated with caring for patients with this coverage. 

However, because telehealth services continue to evolve, the way that insurance companies pay for them also changes frequently. 

Can patients use telehealth services as their primary care provider?

Primary care (also called family practice) isn’t just a service that needs to be in person. As telehealth has continued to evolve and grow, more and more patients choose to use these virtual services instead of taking a trip to their local doctor’s office. 

For example, HealthTap’s telehealth providers can manage many chronic conditions, including asthma and allergies, certain gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Telehealth services allow people with less traditional schedules or availability to have access to quality healthcare and management of many conditions in a timeframe that works for them. 

What telehealth services does HealthTap offer?

Unlike other telehealth companies that focus on a single branch of medicine, HealthTap offers a diverse selection of medical services, including mental health, men’s, women’s, and children's health, sexual health, and travel medicine services. 

A brief list of the health concerns and conditions that HealthTap’s telehealth providers can treat or manage include:

However, that isn’t a comprehensive list of the medical services that HealthTap offers. The telehealth company also provides urgent care services, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

HealthTap’s services are designed to assist patients with health issues who can’t wait for regular office hours but aren’t critical enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. An example of a health concern suitable for an urgent care telehealth visit would be a urinary tract infection (UTI) — doctors can assess symptoms, order outside lab tests, and prescribe antibiotics if appropriate.

All medical care at HealthTap also includes the ability for patients to ask their telehealth doctor follow-up questions via text message or email after their appointment. This focus on open communication can help improve medical outcomes while giving patients greater trust in their doctors and their care. 

Telehealth services that HealthTap cannot offer include prescribing controlled substances (like ADHD medications, hormone therapy, or steroids), managing substance use disorder, or treating emergent concerns like burns, chest pain, seizures, or stroke. 


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