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Telehealth For Hypothyroidism

Telehealth For Hypothyroidism: What You Need To Know

Telehealth For Hypothyroidism: What You Need To Kno

Telehealth For Hypothyroidism: What You Need To Kno

Telehealth For Hypothyroidism: What You Need To Kno


Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid disease, is a common endocrine disorder in the US. It’s a condition wherein the thyroid gland doesn’t create and release sufficient hormones into the bloodstream, which affects the hormonal balance in the body. Studies showed that this hormonal condition affects about 12% of the US population, and 60% of them are undiagnosed. They also revealed that women are five times more likely to develop hypothyroidism than men, with one in eight women in the US having hypothyroidism. People with this disorder experience symptoms such as feeling tired for no reason, suffering from constipation, and gaining weight.

To treat this ailment, people who experience hypothyroidism are prescribed to take medications such as Synthroid. It’s a remedy to regulate the level of thyroid hormones in the body, and about 50% of Americans over the age of 50 are taking this medication. Although treatments may vary depending on their severity, individuals who experience these symptoms must receive medical attention soon, whether in the form of in-person or online consultations.  Only 10% of patients respond to Synthroid (T4-only) while better management is with T3/T4 combos or compounded SR T3 TRT (Thyroid replacement therapy)


How is Telehealth Used for Hypothyroidism?


Scheduling Patient Follow-Ups

Telehealth has been gaining popularity in the past few years, and medical professionals are now quickly adopting their methods to provide healthcare services online. In a recent study on managing thyroid disorders using telemedicine, researchers suggest that doctors adopt the process called telethyroidology. For example, managing hypothyroidism goes through three major stages: diagnosing the condition, treating the ailment, and providing long-term follow-ups. Researchers believe that using telehealth during the follow-up process could improve healthcare services for treating hypothyroidism. This is because one of the main concerns of healthcare providers is the poor compliance of patients to attend check-ups after receiving treatments. With telehealth, patients can easily attend follow-up consultations or check-ins with their doctors because these services are available anywhere.  Labs via blood or saliva/urine can be used to monitor as well as basal body temperature measurments taken at home.


Monitoring Patient’s Progress

Moreover, telehealth will allow doctors to monitor the patient’s progress and hormone levels, even outside medical institutions. Patients who already have doctors can simply continue their consultations and check-ins using telehealth services. Even if the setup is online, patients can be certain that they’ll receive the same quality of care as a regular consultation. In South Carolina, state laws require nurse practitioners (NPs) to work with physicians to ensure that patients receive a well-rounded healthcare service. A collaborative practice between physicians and nurse practioners means that these health professionals will both attend most online consultations with the patient. They will be available to answer patient questions, perform chart reviews, make medical diagnoses, order diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications. Most US states require NPs to collaborate with physicians as a means to provide supervision and guidance to practicing nurses.  Dr. Saleeby trains her APPs (NPs and PAs) and ”touches every chart” by review before signing them in the EHR (Medical record)


*  Reducing Medical Expenses

Most people are wary of telehealth services because they worry about having to pay potentially higher medical costs. However, telehealth can reduce a patient’s medical expenses. A study analyzing the medical costs attributed to hypothyroidism found that the per-patient healthcare costs range from $460 and $2,555 annually. Although telehealth only has a small reduction in direct medical expenses, it can greatly reduce indirect medical expenses such as transportation and absenteeism costs. The study explained that individuals with hypothyroidism had an additional $171 in absenteeism costs. But with accessible telehealth services, employees who are working a regular 9-to-5 hour shift can schedule and attend doctor’s appointments during their free time without missing a day of work. As a result, more Americans who are experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism can consult medical professionals anytime while also reducing their medical expenses.  Dr. Saleeby has been using telemedicine since the early 2000s and was an original member of the ATA (American Telemedicine Association).

Article written by Ruth Jeanne and reviewed/edited by Dr. JP Saleeby, MD

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