Besides its practicality for immediate health needs, visual technology is being tried and tested in other medical realms. Dr. Shafali Jeste, a director at the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment, has been part of a federally funded study that uses telemedicine to remotely help families of children with tuberous sclerosis learn skills that let them work at home with their children to gain essential social skills. Every week, access to early intervention is impossible for people in some rural areas, but telemedicine will “expand our reach,” said Jeste.

Telehealth/telemedicine is becoming more of a reality. Insurance and health care companies, as well as Congress, have been evaluating factors surrounding costs, coverage and effectiveness. In fact, on March 4, Congress included as part of its COVID-19 supplemental funding package a provision that waives some restrictions for Medicare telehealth coverage.

To find out whether your physician offers telemedicine, call their office. Ask what equipment is needed — for example, do you need to download an app or use a device with a video camera? — and what costs are associated with it.