Telehealth on Hepatitis C Treatment
My medical team used telehealth while I was on hepatitis C treatment. The whole medical team agreed that it was best. Not only was I working, but I also lived 2 hours from my clinic. It just made sense to do as much as possible using remote communications.
I was on treatment several years ago, where I took interferon shots, so weekly labs were important. Technology has come even further since then. Let’s learn more about the ways you can stay in touch with your doctor’s office while you’re on treatment.
How does telehealth work?
Telemedicine and telehealth are really part of ehealth, which is becoming more and more common. All I needed was a smart phone, and access to a computer. My doctor was happy to work with me. We stayed in touch and talked about everything from my lab results to my viral load. Because I was battling ascites, they even used telemedicine to tweak my diet and medications for liver disease if my sodium levels were too high.
Telemedicine describes the way my doctor, and his staff, were trained about prescribing the newest treatments. They went to online meetings, and had trainings with colleagues. In addition, they learned from the pharmaceutical companies by having conference calls. It gave me confidence to know that in even the heartland of America, a doctor could join with other specialists around the country to stay current on the newer hepatitis C drugs.
Telehealth is what the clinic used to stay in contact with me. They were nervous at first, because I had liver damage from years of hep C. Using telehealth, we exchanged phone numbers so we could text each other with updates and instructions about my hepatitis C treatment. A typical week would have me getting a lab done at a nearby hospital on Friday during my lunch hour. Within a few hours, my reports were emailed to me, and my medical team. If I needed to tweak anything, I got a text or call telling me what to do next.
The older treatment lasted almost a year. This was a great way for me to continue working and not have to waste time and money by driving long distances. I went in to the office once a month.
Things have become even more high tech since then. Today, you can:
- Log in into a website to check your lab results
- Check email for messages from your clinic
- Watch videos to learn more about your condition
- Have a live conference via phone or online with your medical provider
- Use a patient portal to tell your doctor what you’re concerned about
- Schedule in person, or online appointment with a nurse or doctor
Telehealth during treatment
When working with your doctor via computer, using email, phone calls, or even video conferencing, it’s important to be compliant. My doctor knew that I would contact the office if I missed a pill, had severe nausea, or any other side effects from treatment. It’s important to keep the communication lines open when using telehealth on hepatitis C treatment.
I remember looking forward to the text or call telling me if I was having a sustained viral response. Today’s treatments are even easier to take and have a higher cure rate. If your doctor wants to communicate using telehealth, you have many options.