Medically reviewed on October 25, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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We shop online, book travel online, and even date and fall in love online—so why wouldn’t we receive medical care online? From checking in with your primary care provider about a spate of new symptoms to receiving test results from a recent screening, telehealth lets you receive care from the comfort and security of your home. 
If you’re new to telehealth, though, virtual healthcare visits may seem strange and maybe even daunting. You may be asking: how do I do a virtual visit with my provider? And is it really as effective as a physical appointment? How can I treat an STD without going to a healthcare provider's office?
In a word, yes: telehealth can be a valuable way of simplifying your primary care experience. And participating in a virtual healthcare appointment is much simpler than you might think—all it takes is a bit of guidance on the process.
What are the important differences between telehealth and in-person care? Setting up a virtual visit with your healthcare provider is similar to how you’d arrange an in-person appointment, only with the addition of technology:
Once you and your healthcare professional are connected, your telehealth appointment works much in the same way a physical doctor’s appointment would.
Generally, your healthcare provider will review your medical history and any symptoms you have, such as a cough, a persistent headache, or trouble sleeping. They’ll also ask about any medications you’re currently taking, perform an evaluation, and offer guidance on the next best steps, like seeing a specialist or trying a new medication.
Obviously, certain things cannot be examined, diagnosed, and treated in a virtual setting. Procedures like running a biopsy, conducting a gynecological exam, or getting an X-ray still require in-person visits. Same goes for receiving urgent care.
And yet, virtual healthcare providers can diagnose, treat, and help manage an impressive range of health concerns and conditions, including: [3, 4]
Can telehealth prescribe medication? Yes; in many cases, virtual healthcare visits can be used to go over lab results and other medical records with your healthcare provider, refill prescriptions, and get counseling on matters ranging from medication to stress management. However, in some states, prescribing medication via telemedicine is restricted, or may require an in-person visit first.
A quiet, comfortable environment is the main thing you’ll need for a successful virtual visit. Here are a few more tips:
Once you’ve grown comfortable with telehealth, you may find that you’re finding new ways of simplifying your in-person appointments with the convenience of virtual ones.
With Everlywell Virtual Care Visits, licensed nurse practitioners are here to help you. Major insurance plans are accepted, and you'll have a private video call with a healthcare provider on your schedule.
Types of telehealth care and services
Differences between telehealth vs. in person care
Can medication be prescribed via telehealth?
How to treat an STI without going to a healthcare provider’s office
7 ways to best advocate for yourself at doctor’s appointments, according to an expert
Direct to patient care for testing and treating