Positive Impacts of Digitalization and Telehealth on Medical Marijuana Certification

Across the globe, COVID forced a revolutionary transformation – or at least the ramping up of an already inevitable such change – in how we live, work and play. This included the introduction and widespread adoption of advanced technologies to facilitate important activities we used to conduct face to face.

Among the most significant of these advances in terms of healthcare in the U.S. and Europe are digitalization and telehealth. As it has with most other parts of the healthcare industry, this has benefited the medical marijuana industry with massive improvements in safe, legal and affordable access for patients.

COVID and Telehealth Technology

Among the most pressing of the concerns facing society during COVID-inspired lockdowns and social distancing was doctor’s visits. The solution the healthcare industry came up with and which governments like Ohio’s have approved is telehealth.

Telehealth technology allows patients and their healthcare providers to conduct medical appointments remotely over video call. Not unlike FaceTime or Zoom, except much more secure, telehealth allows people not in the same room to see each other and converse as though they were. This prevents the need for patients to leave home to visit a doctor’s office in person for a vital medical appointment.

Not only does this help ensure patients, including those who may be facing COVID exposure themselves, get the healthcare they need; it helps reduce the rate of infection and spread of the virus from in-person contact. As the CDC reports on post-COVID telehealth trends, a 154-percent rise in telehealth visits year-over-year between March 2019 and March 2020 may be associated with an array of such benefits, including:

  • Expanded access to health care
  • Reduced exposure to disease to patients and staff
  • Preserved scant personal protective equipment (PPE) inventories
  • Lowered on-premise patient demands
  • Supported improved access to healthcare both during and potential following the pandemic

COVID, Telehealth and Digitalization

In order for telehealth to work effectively, patients and their doctors sometimes need to exchange information, like consent forms or medical records; they also need to conduct certain transactions, like signing documents and billing and payment. Digitalization allows for all these essential exchanges and transactions to occur remotely, just like telehealth does for doctor's visits.

Digitalization allows patients and their healthcare professional to scan important documents and email them securely to one another; it allows patients to receive a document to review, sign, scan and email back to the healthcare professional signed. It also allows healthcare providers to bill patients and allows patients to pay those bills all securely online.

Telehealth itself is a form of digitalization, which imbues it as well with all the benefits digitalization provides.

Benefits of Digitalization for the Medical Marijuana Community

In terms of medical marijuana, digitalization makes it possible for patients in need of medical marijuana to get a medical marijuana card without leaving the safety and comfort of their home or bearing the expense, inconvenience and risk of going out in public.

Being that a doctor’s visit is an essential component of getting a medical marijuana card, telehealth, specifically, and digitalization, in general, have been instrumental in making sure qualified medical marijuana patients can gain safe, affordable and legal access.

Save Time

Rather than requiring a patient to schedule an appointment for sometime in the future to see a doctor in person for a medical marijuana recommendation and, in the meantime, doing without their needed medicine, telehealth allows a patient to see a properly licensed and certified-to-recommend (CTR) provider within as little as 20 minutes for that recommendation.

Telehealth services can do this because they have a pool of licensed and CTR providers on-hand to call upon when a patient like yourself requests an appointment. So, rather than having to wait until your specific doctor is available, you can meet with the first qualified provider to help you get your needed MMJ recommendation.

This major reduction in wait-time significantly expedites the process of getting that medical marijuana card in-hand and the access it confers to your sorely needed medicine.

Save Money

Because telehealth services don’t need to maintain a physical office for patients to meet with their doctors in person and office staff to administer all those appointments, their overhead costs are much lower. They can, then, pass that savings on to patients like you – or at least Mmjcard4less does.

Protect Health and Safety

COVID has already made it less safe for people to leave their homes and gather in public places, and it’s put people’s health at greater risk. If you're a person who qualifies for medical marijuana in Ohio, that means you possess one of 25 debilitating medical conditions. This means you already have the very same health and safety concerns every time you leave your home; for you, COVID has only made an existing problem worse.

By conducting the entire process of getting your medical marijuana card from home, you cut out those risks altogether. Then, once you have your Ohio MMJ card, if you can find a medical marijuana delivery service to bring your needed medicine to you, you don’t even need to leave your home to obtain that medicine.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Ohio 

To get your Ohio medical marijuana card online using telehealth, all you need are:

  • An internet connection
  • A device like a phone or computer to use to connect to the internet
  • An email address and cell phone number (you can use another’s if it’s a trusted person)
  • Official photo ID, either an Ohio state-issued driver’s license or state ID or a U.S. passport or out-of-state ID
  • Payment of $99 (or $89 for those who can prove their status as a veteran, active military personnel or permanently disabled), in case you use mmjcard4less.com service. 

Once you have all those requirements, you simply follow these steps:

  1. Sign up at the chosen website that offer online certification.
  2. Provide basic personal information, including contact information, and upload a scan of your photo ID and any medical records you possess verifying your diagnosis (if you have no such records, you can still qualify.)
  3. Schedule an appointment with one of the licensed and CTR doctors.
  4. Check in for your scheduled appointment by logging into your account and clicking "Check In" just prior to your allotted time.
  5. Meet with the doctor, answering the questions about your diagnosis and symptoms and how medical marijuana helps you.
  6. Pay the fee.
  7. Assuming the doctor finds that you do qualify for medical marijuana, they will submit their recommendation on your behalf.
  8. When you get an email a few days later requesting you to complete your Medical Marijuana Patient Registry profile, click the link in the email and follow the instructions to do so, including paying the state fee, thereby completing submission of your application for an Ohio medical marijuana card.
  9. Within 10 days after that, you'll receive another email, this time containing your digital Ohio medical marijuana card.

You can now print out your card or keep it on your mobile device and present it to dispensary staff to procure your medical marijuana, legally and safely.