The COVID-19 pandemic caused an urgent need for virtual experiences, especially in health care. It was a tipping point for telehealth, quickly expanding the accessibility, functionality and use of virtual health care offerings.
Now, patients are regularly connecting with their doctors virtually from the comfort of their own home – from checking in about a stubborn cough to managing diabetes with a specialist. The benefits, and the possibilities, continue to grow.
“We’ve long recognized the value of access to care and the way we deliver care,” says Stephanie Lewis, director, ProMedica Telehealth Institute. “The public health emergency resulting from the pandemic gave us more flexibility in how we deliver virtual care. It opened the door to apply telehealth to other clinical workflows.”
Benefits for the Patient
A telehealth video visit is basically a virtual appointment with your healthcare provider. Instead of meeting in-person, it’s conducted through a secure video app. At ProMedica, this app is within the ProMedica MyChart patient portal, so you don’t need a separate app to use it. All you need is an appointment and a desktop computer, tablet or smart phone.
During a virtual visit, you can interact with your provider in real-time, just as you would during an in-person visit. You can discuss medications, review test results and ask questions. You’ll receive the same quality care you would if you were going to your doctor’s office.
Here are some more of the benefits:
- Comfort: See your doctor from the comfort of your own home, or during a work break.
- Convenient: Meet with your provider anywhere, without needing transportation.
- Safety: Reduce your exposure to germs.
- Fast/efficient: Minimize the interruption by not needing extra time for driving or being in the waiting room.
- Quality: Receive the same quality care and real-time interaction as an in-person visit.
- Privacy: Use a secure and HIPAA-compliant video app.
Benefits for the Provider
An increased demand in health care combined with staff shortages means that efficiency in delivering health services is as important as ever. Specialists who use telehealth can spend less time traveling to distant communities or continue to see a patient when transportation or childcare issues would otherwise delay a patient’s care.
“Virtual visits are a convenient way to evaluate and treat patients with minor ailments or those who need follow-up,” says Amer Arshad, MD, ProMedica Physicians. “Patients have loved this approach because they don’t have to take time off of work or can complete the exam from the comfort of their home. It also opens the door for continuity of care for a provider who is out of the office but who can still take time to evaluate and treat their patients.”
More About Telehealth at ProMedica
While virtual visits can improve health access and enhance care, it’s important to know that not every doctor’s visit can or should be virtual.
“Our support staff is important for assessing what is an appropriate virtual visit,” explains Lewis. “It has to be the right patient, the right time, and for the right reason. At ProMedica, we gather data to educate on what is appropriate for a video visit and always leave the choice to the doctor and patient.”
To see if your ProMedica doctor offers virtual care, look for the words “Telehealth Services Available” on their provider profile. ProMedica also offers on-demand visits with board-certified providers through ProMedica OnDemand. Learn more telehealth options on ProMedica’s website.