SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, people who feel sick are encouraged to utilize Telehealth options instead of just showing up at the hospital or a doctor's office.

Western Mass News wanted to find out how that's working.

It's a way to virtually speak with a doctor without having to leave the comfort of your home.

With the spread of the coronavirus, many doctors and patients have been turning to Telehealth.

Western Mass News spoke with James Beem, a managing director of Global Health Care Intelligence, a company that analyzes Telehealth services around the country.

"A patient would meet with a provider over a virtual video screen as a post to be in the full involvement at the doctor's office," Beem explained.

He told Western Mass News it helps doctors and their facilities stay safe, even if someone does have the coronavirus.

It also puts less strain on doctors' resources.

"Someone does have a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 they can consult with their physician via a virtual video rather than a face and face and counter where there could be infected areas between the patient and the healthcare professional," Beem noted.

But how does a virtual diagnosis work?

Beem said doctors ask patients about their symptoms and then if further action is needed...

"I can help coordinate the care of the patient who would neither temperature is taken or would need some sort of examination and direct those patients the most appropriate care in this case during COVID-19 we can assume at some point over the next couple of weeks Telehealth could be used to direct people to where they could get tested outside at the hospital so a retail pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens," Beem explained.

Beem said more than 50% of Americans struggle with how to get in contact with a Telehealth provider but that is on the rise.

"I would say in most cases that what we have been seeing nationally is that health insurance carriers are trying to promote Telehealth services during this COVID-19 crisis," Beem explained.

Beem said to check with your health insurance provider to see if you are covered for Telehealth services.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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