COVID-19 has imposed strict travel restrictions and social distancing on all of us. While these measures are very helpful in decreasing virus spread, they can also create difficulties for patients who have ongoing medical problems that are not related to COVID-19 that need treatment.
Many are asking: How do I get my medical care? How do I see my Primary Care Physician (PCP) or a Specialist, if needed? Fortunately, technology is here to help. Modern telecommunications allow us to have virtual visits with our doctors that allow a wide variety of conditions to be diagnosed and treated from the comfort and safety of home.
What is Telemedicine?
According to the National Institutes of Health, telemedicine (or telehealth) is the use of technology to provide and support health care at a distance. Telemedicine is not new. Telemedicine originally was used to assist people in rural communities; however, it has developed over time to provide high-quality care for all. Telehealth is a way to manage your health care and access health care services remotely. This can be done with:
- Online Patient Portals that allow you to access your health records and test results, request prescription refills, schedule appointments and even communicate with your doctor or nurse.
- Web-based or Mobile Apps that can track and monitor your health (e.g. blood pressure, heart rate) and can shared with your health care providers.
- Use of Home Devices to monitor glucose levels, blood pressure and even diagnose illnesses like ear infection.
- Live Video Calls or Virtual Appointments that allow you to talk directly to a health care provider from the comforts of your home or convenience of your office.
How Can It Help Me?
Telemedicine allows you to receive optimal medical care through a secure, HIPPA compliant video/audio connection without traveling to an office for many of your needs, including physical therapy. It can be used for:
- Specialist Consultations
Telemedicine gives patients access to specialists wherever you may live. They also can utilize telemedicine to coordinate your care with your primary care provider.
- Diagnosis of Minor Ailments/Injuries
Doctors are available to diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments.
- Follow-up Visits
If you would like a consultation with the doctor, a follow up postoperative visit, continued care for a chronic condition, or if you would like to train with your physical therapist, a virtual visit can save you the inconvenience of travel time to and from the doctor’s office.
If you have severe symptoms, it is best that you see your medical provider in person.
What Type of Telemedicine Services Does Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine and Orthopedics Offer?
- Live video calls that provide convenient, timely consultations, and follow up visits to ensure continued progress. Virtual visits are:
- Easy to conduct: It’s as simple as clicking on a provided link.
- Can include more than 1 persons: Allowing for translators, family members, or caregivers to be present.
- HIPPA compliant for the safety of your data.
- Covered by most major medical insurances.
- Online patient portal that provides access to your records, including imaging results, and allows you to schedule/reschedule appointments, communicate with your provider, and to share records between other participating Healow providers.
Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine and Orthopedics has been utilizing telemedicine for some time. Our support staff is trained to assist patients with utilizing such services including access to their patient portal, through Healow, and virtual consultations/visits that can be conducted through any device (e.g. mobile, tablet or computer) that has a camera.
What Should I Expect?
What Should I Do To Prepare?
- In order to get the most out of your visit it is important that you can provide your health care provider with a thorough medical history or any changes to your past medical history, if you are having a follow up.
- Be ready to discuss your symptoms (e.g. pain, weakness, numbness, etc.) and activities that increase or decrease such symptoms. It may be helpful to write a few notes down in advance.
- Try to find a quiet location with some space available in case you are asked to perform a movement test(s) that could be used to diagnose your condition.
- Write down questions that you would like to ask your healthcare provider.
Telemedicine has been available for some time now. Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine and Orthopedics has conducted hundreds of successful calls with patients to ensure they have continuity of their care or when they have something new to discuss. Our team will ensure that your access and use of this technology is as simple as a clicking on a provided link. If you have severe symptoms, it is best that you see your medical provider in person.