Addressing pain control during a medical visit, including determining the patient’s pain scale, diagnosing the type of pain, and prescribing the appropriate treatment, can be tricky if done electronically. How Nurse Practitioner proceed with these concerns, especially if they have no previous relationship with the patient, is a tough challenge for telemedicine providers, often because many states have federal and state laws that control prescriptions. Many of those laws today still require an in-person visit prior to prescription for controlled dangerous substances (CDS) or narcotic prescriptions.
In keeping up with these changes, telemedicine providers have to balance proper prescription practices with state and federal laws. For patients, this means that receiving care electronically means assessing their pain responsibly. To understand how telemedicine works for pain management, we’re here to look at what medicine can do currently for patients with both acute and chronic pain.
How Telemedicine is Used For Pain Management
Telemedicine often uses video-based conferencing and other means of mobile communication to establish symptoms, diagnose diseases, and prescribe treatment. This avenue has allowed many patients to meet with their providers virtually and has given providers a unique advantage that improves access to care and meets healthcare standards. However, most patients aren’t provided a clearer image of what medicine can provide in terms of pain management. Its expansion has led to questions regarding its appropriateness for chronic pain, and many researchers have looked into how telemedicine can be utilized beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, ultimately finding that for chronic pain, there are certain avenues that treatment isn’t appropriate due to its complexity, constant misuse, and the patient’s ever-evolving symptoms.
As a general rule, however, telemedicine has been determined to be appropriate for the following situations:
- Referrals To Physical Therapy: Patients who have previous exams and symptoms of chronic pain can help establish coordination and referrals to occupational and physical therapy.
- Mental Health Treatment: Overall, telemedicine has been used extensively for the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders and can help further diagnose signs of chronic pain.
- Imaging and Result Discussions: For patients wishing to explore and clarify test results, telemedicine appointments can provide that clarity and help guide the patient on the next steps.
- Non-Controlled Medication Management: Patients taking medications that are not classified as a CDS can benefit from telehealth visits in managing their pain and reoccurring prescriptions.
- Post-Procedure Care Visit: Patients recovering from surgical or non-surgical procedures can help establish future treatments, coordinate in-person visits, and have better follow-ups with their providers.
Speak To Your Provider To Determine If Telehealth Treatment Is Right For You
In cases where chronic pain needs more consistent management, many telehealth providers often use remote pain monitoring through wearable technology to help patients get a more accurate diagnosis. However, patients with cancer, receiving opioid therapy, patients wanting medical cannabis certification, and other chronic pain issues may need a combination of both telehealth and in-person services to gain its benefits fully. Overall, telemedicine has its limits when reaching out to patients but does provide patients with a better tool for improved access to better pain management.