With the COVID-19 pandemic raging across the country, countless Americans stay home and look for ways to work and shop online. Everything from gyms to doctor’s appointments became virtual this year, with patients seeking out cancer care and routine exams through telemedicine visits.

If you haven’t taken advantage of telehealth yet, you may be wondering how it works and if it is secure. Use this guide to answer any questions you have.

Make an appointment at your convenience.

With telemedicine appointments, you no longer have to base your in-person visit around the doctor’s schedule. Instead, you can schedule a time at night or on the weekend when you are free. With telehealth, you can meet with doctors across the country, which is beneficial if you don’t have time to see one near you or in rural areas without hospitals nearby. This is also convenient for people who are physically unable to leave their homes.

Once you schedule the appointment, you will either log-on to a virtual visit website or wait for a phone call from the doctor. If you don’t pick up phone numbers you recognize, look into a caller ID system to find out how to know who called you. This way, you don’t accidentally block the doctor by mistaking them as a spam caller.

Pick up your prescription or complete tests locally.

After you have your virtual visit with a doctor, they may prescribe medication to treat your condition or request additional tests to learn more about your symptoms. Even if your doctor works across the country, you can still easily get these tasks done. For example, the doctor can write a prescription that you would pick up at your local pharmacy. If you need a test done, you can visit a clinic down the street and then send the results to your doctor – wherever they are.

Telemedicine appointments are precious for those who use Medicare or Medicaid services because you can still use your regular pharmacy and clinicians to avoid unnecessary costs.

Know that your information is protected.

Patients are skeptical of telemedicine because they don’t know if their information could get hacked and shared across the web. However, telehealth providers work carefully with data centers to ensure patient information is locked away and only accessed by authorized parties.

The telemedicine service you use will likely have a dedicated server just for that company with technical support to keep the database up and running constantly. Telemedicine companies also set up firewall protections on their websites and use private cloud services to secure the data. This should give you peace of mind that your information is safe online.

You can meet with a variety of health specialists.

The public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a rise in telemedicine as patients reach out to doctors when exposed to the virus. However, you can meet with several different doctors with specialized backgrounds to get the virtual care you need.

With cancer care telemedicine, you can schedule an appointment with some of the county’s top oncologists. These professionals might help you get a physical exam at a nearby clinic and use the results to determine the best solution for your needs. With telemedicine, cancer patients can build up a support team across the country to help them beat the odds.

The use of telemedicine is likely to continue even when the current public health emergency ends in the United States. Test out this virtual alternative to visiting the doctor’s office to see if it is right for you.