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How to Get a Prescription Without going to a Doctor

Posted by Brooke Andrus

Unrecognizable male doctor with stethoscope working with virtual screen panel

When your patients are sick, the last thing they want to do is go anywhere. But if they need a prescription medication they have no choice but to drag themselves into your office, right?

Well, not always.

They may be able to obtain a prescription without leaving the comfort of their home — and it will take less time and be less stressful.

All they need is access your office via a secure telehealth platform — one that allows you to conduct a live, online video call with YOUR patients. That way, they skip the drive, the wait, and possibly exposing other patients to infection.

Here are three things to know before you get started.

1) The extent to which telehealth prescribing is permitted in your state.

The Center for Connected Health Policy is an excellent resource to learn more about telehealth and reimbursement laws within your state.

So, what makes a prescription valid? In the vast majority of cases, for a prescription to be considered valid, the practitioner issuing it must perform at least one medical evaluation of the patient. But, the rules governing the manner in which the doctor conducts that evaluation — that is, in person or via telemedicine — differ at the state level.

In other words, federal policy does not outright forbid medical providers from evaluating their patients using an online technology — but it doesn’t outright allow it, either. That means it’s on each individual state to define what constitutes permissible telemedicine practice within its borders.  

2) Your state’s requirements for the establishment of a patient-provider relationship.

Each state’s definition of the patient-provider relationship is different. As with the prescribing requirements, state legislatures and medical boards often have defined requirements that need to be met prior to a patient being seen at in a virtual care environment, let alone receive an e-prescription. Some states require an initial physical exam while others do not stipulate whether that relationship can be established via a telemedicine visit.

3) Know what state your patient is in before seeing and prescribing.

Most patients would much rather visit their own doctors — whether those visits occur in-person or online. But depending on the urgency of their medical situation — and the tool they use to seek telehealth services — they may not always receive the evaluation and prescription from their usual physician.

However, each state requires (with limited exceptions) that they receive medical treatment from a provider who is licensed to practice in that state specifically. Thus, you’ll need to make sure the patient is in a state in which you’re licensed to practice. 

The good news? Thanks to a legislative effort known as the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, it’s becoming easier for you to obtain licensure in multiple states — and that means better “access to health care for patients in underserved or rural areas” who can now “more easily connect with medical experts through the use of telemedicine technologies.” 

As you know, an online visit may not be enough for you to accurately diagnose a patient’s chief complaint, but many common conditions including urinary tract infections, flu, allergies, rashes, sore throats, and respiratory infections are good candidates for telehealth evaluation and prescription.

So, while you’re thinking about it request a demo of eVisit, speak with one of our virtual care consultants and learn how providing virtual care will delight your patients in the years to come.

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Brooke Andrus

About Brooke Andrus

Brooke Andrus is a blog contributor for eVisit. A journalist by trade, Brooke has more than three years of experience writing specifically about healthcare reform, technology, and best practices.

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