Bridging the Gap in Rheumatology Care: The Role of Telehealth



One in four Americans carry a diagnosis of arthritis, a condition that significantly impacts their quality of life and can lead to disability. Despite its prevalence, access to specialized medical care, especially in rheumatology, is hindered by a shortage of specialist physicians and geographical barriers. The annual cost of arthritis, amounting to $303 billion in medical expenses and lost wages, underscores the urgent need for accessible healthcare solutions. Telehealth emerges as a transformative tool to address these challenges, offering virtual consultations with specialists like rheumatologists. This blog explores the pivotal role of telehealth or telemedicine in revolutionizing rheumatology care, highlighting the importance of online consultations and the emergence of virtual rheumatologists.

The Evolution of Telemedicine in Rheumatology

Years before the COVID-19 pandemic, advocating for telemedicine in rheumatology was met with skepticism. However, as the pandemic forced healthcare systems to adapt, telemedicine became a vital solution for patients with arthritis and autoimmune diseases. Federal laws were enacted to expand telemedicine access, leading to rapid adoption by insurance companies, hospitals, and private clinics. Despite these advancements, recent trends indicate a regression in telemedicine’s progress, with many states rescinding telemedicine licenses. This backward trajectory fails to align with efforts aimed at simplifying healthcare and enhancing care accessibility.

Challenges in Rheumatology Care

The escalating number of arthritis cases, projected to reach 78 million by 2040, highlights the urgency of addressing healthcare accessibility. With only around 6,500 practicing rheumatologists nationwide, many patients face prolonged waiting times of 4 to 6 months for care. This is particularly challenging for individuals with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, leading to chronic pain, stress, and irreversible joint damage. If you are lucky to live in a metropolitan area on the West or East US coast, you might be able to see a rheumatologist in about four to six months. However, if you live in a rural or underserved area you may need to travel hundreds of miles to get to a rheumatology office or you will never be able to access a specialist.

The Role of Telehealth in Bridging Gaps

Driven by a desire to address these challenges, Rheumatologist OnCall was established to offer arthritis patients streamlined access to care. Through telemedicine, Rheumatologist OnCall transcends geographical barriers, providing patients with convenient access to specialist care. Patients have embraced telemedicine, recognizing its potential to bridge gaps in care not adequately met by conventional in-network options. The transformative impact of telemedicine on patients’ lives cannot be overstated, offering enhanced access, convenience, and eliminating the need for arduous travel. In a matter of just a few years, since the company was started, we were able to help thousands of patients in need all across the United States.

Expanding Healthcare Options Nationwide


Expanding healthcare options nationwide aligns with broader health policies that prioritize inclusivity and accessibility. Telemedicine transcends barriers for marginalized communities, rural populations, elderly individuals with mobility constraints, and underserved demographics, ensuring equitable access to care. However, this inclusivity should extend beyond the COVID-19 era, making healthcare fast, convenient, comfortable, and safe for every American. 

As Steve Jobs famously said, “the people who are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do.” Let us collectively prioritize patient medical care, fostering a healthcare ecosystem where access is easy, not burdensome. Together, we can chart a course towards a future of healthcare excellence powered by telemedicine.


How does telehealth benefit arthritis patients?

Telehealth provides arthritis patients with convenient access to specialist care, overcoming geographical barriers and reducing the need for travel, particularly beneficial for those with mobility issues.

What makes virtual consultations with a rheumatologist beneficial?

Virtual consultations offer patients the convenience of accessing specialist care from their homes, eliminating the need for long waiting times and travel to distant clinics.

How does Rheumatologist OnCall ensure quality care through telemedicine?

Rheumatologist OnCall ensures quality care by offering patients access to experienced rheumatologists, personalized consultations, and streamlined processes for laboratory tests and imaging.

Can telemedicine help reduce the cost of arthritis treatment?

Yes, telemedicine can help reduce the cost of arthritis treatment by eliminating unnecessary travel expenses and offering transparent pricing for consultations and diagnostic tests.

What sets telehealth apart in rheumatology care?

Telehealth in rheumatology care offers patients increased access to specialists, personalized care plans, and the convenience of virtual consultations, ensuring timely and effective management of arthritis and autoimmune diseases.


All content shared on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medicine. You should always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment regarding your specific medical needs. We don’t represent that any of the products or services offered through this site are safe, appropriate, or effective for you. We advise you to always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider regarding personal health or medical conditions. If you know or suspect you have a medical problem, contact a qualified healthcare professional immediately. If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

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