Why Clinics Need Telehealth STD Testing

Telehealth STD Testing

Get Fast, Private Care With Telehealth STD Testing

Telehealth appeals to clinics and patients for more reasons than they could count. A lot of that has to do with virtual treatment’s flexibility and affordability. But beyond this, it offers a secure space where patients can discuss sensitive topics on their terms. And this is especially useful when it comes to telehealth STD testing. 

Telehealth STD testing is fast, safe, and private. Despite that, some patients and clinicians have reservations about their effectiveness. So, to clear up any misconceptions, Beam is here to outline the basics of remote STD tests. After breaking down virtual screenings, we’ll see why they’re the future of sexual health. 

How Remote Screenings Work

Telehealth enhances certain parts of the testing process while replacing others entirely. Providers start by taking a patient’s recent sexual history, symptoms, and underlying conditions. On this front, virtual platforms give an extra layer of privacy. Instead of explaining to a clinician’s face, clients can type out or discuss this information over the phone [1].

Next, the clinic will decide what conditions to test for. One disadvantage of telehealth STD testing is the range of screenings on offer. Telehealth provides tests for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, two of the most common STIs. Some providers go a step further by tackling HIV tests, as well. 

Home telehealth kits contain all the tools needed for a test. Unlike most home kits, STI kits may only contain the materials for screenings.  Cotton swabs, sample containers, and finger pricks come with instructions on how to use them. And depending on their design, kits can store samples or provide immediate results. 

When lab you need lab equipment for a test, the process is identical to a walk-in. Cotton swabs and bottles go to a lab for testing. After the results come through, providers will tell the patient their results. While at-home STI tests may take time to adjust to, they pay off in added convenience and speed. 

Who Should Offer Telehealth STD Testing

Because telehealth STD tests are fast and inexpensive, they’re gaining popularity. While sexual health clinics are branching out into remote tests, they aren’t the only ones to look out for. Other practices can offer their patients a valuable service with sexual health screenings. 

First, primary care providers should all offer remote STD tests. A patient’s sexual health always bears on their general wellbeing. This is because clients feel more comfortable asking for a test from a trusted clinician. When providers already have access to the necessary labs, the drawbacks of remote STD tests are nonexistent. 

Additionally, any practice that focuses on long-term diseases should consider telehealth STD testing. Incurable conditions such as HIV have a huge effect on a patient’s overall health [2]. Even infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea can exacerbate symptoms of other health issues. As such, specialists in chronic conditions should make telehealth STD testing available. 

How Does Telehealth STD Testing Compare

While the benefits of remote tests are appealing, some patients and clinics have reservations. All providers know that sexual health is integral to the wellbeing of every patient. As a result, practices want to ensure that at-home testing is 100% reliable. Thankfully, there’s a lot of evidence pointing to their accuracy and effectiveness. 

First, some patients worry that virtual screenings are inaccurate. Keeping this in mind, Planned Parenthood researched appointment times to make a clear comparison [3]. Going to a clinic indeed takes more time when you factor in travel and wait times. But in-person and remote interactions with a clinician both average at 40 minutes. 

Other telehealth users worry that virtual test results aren’t as accurate. Home telehealth kits contain the same tools used at walk-in clinics. Patients do have to be careful about providing a reliable sample. But with a clinician on call to help, they have all the assistance they could need. 

When it comes to cost, telehealth STD testing is more affordable. Most insurance providers cover virtual checkups the same way they would a walk-in. On top of that, telehealth prices are lower thanks to fewer overhead costs. And if that wasn’t good enough, services like Planned Parenthood may offer reduced prices for uninsured patients. 

Finally, if something goes wrong with a test, providers can make accommodations. Home kits that get lost in the mail can be quickly replaced with a new sample. Practices may also send a follow-up test when a patient’s results are inconclusive. Even if a client loses or damages their kit, some clinics offer a replacement for free. 

Telehealth STD testing improves access to sexual health services across the board. And by improving privacy at no extra cost, virtual care sets the standard for screenings going forward. So, to empower more clinics with the tools they need, Beam is here to help. We offer qualifying providers one year of free access to our all-in-one platform. Click here to learn more.

Sources:

[1] https://www.bedsider.org/features/1505-how-to-get-tested-and-treated-for-stis-without-leaving-your-house

[2] https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/implications-of-hiv-as-a-longterm-chronic-disease

[3] https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/d3/1f/d31fb7df-b5ec-4c28-ade4-862e6a63ac8e/telehealthfaqs.pdf

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