PartnerMD Members: Your Guide to TelehealthMonday, March 30, 2020
Last week, we announced our expanded telehealth capabilities to help provide even better care during this time. You now have even more access to your PartnerMD physician thanks to the ability to conduct a secure telehealth visit via video without having to come into the office.
To limit exposure to potential contagion during the coronavirus pandemic, we are still limiting in-office visits to sick patients and those with medications that must be administered by a health professional.
However, those limits do not apply for telehealth appointments. Already, we’ve had patients and doctors connect via telehealth to help treat illness, prescribe medication, or simply offer advice.
But we know “telehealth” doesn’t really tell you all you need to know. We’ve prepared this FAQ guide to provide you that information. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is a bit of a misleading name. A better name is probably something like videohealth, because it is simply the ability to securely conduct a doctor visit by video. With telehealth, you are able to see your doctor face-to-face without having to visit a physical location.
When can I use telehealth?
Telehealth appointments are available at PartnerMD during normal business hours. After-hours and weekend physician access will continue to be provided 24/7 via phone as usual.
When is a good time to use telehealth?
There are numerous instances where a telehealth appointment might be valuable and effective for you. These include:
- Sick patients who don’t need or want to come into the office but would benefit from a face-to-face visit and advice from their doctors.
- Dermatology or skin issues.
- Counseling for anxiety or depression.
- Follow-ups for anxiety or depression.
- Obesity/weight loss/nutrition counseling relating to a medical problem.
- Follow-up for hypertension.
- Follow-up for diabetes or blood glucose review.
- Review of patient’s blood pressure home logs.
- Medication review and changes.
- Post-hospitalization visits for medication reconciliation.
- Complex issues that cannot be handled or explained properly through the patient portal.
How do I schedule a telehealth appointment?
Scheduling a telehealth appointment works the same way as a normal in-person office visit. Simply call your PartnerMD office and we’ll help you get an appointment scheduled.
What do I need to use telehealth?
An internet connection and a device with the camera and microphone enabled. This includes smartphones, tablets, and some newer computers or laptops.
What can I do to have the best telehealth experience possible?
With technology, there is always the possibility of technical issues. Here are some tips for what you can do, wherever you are, to help have the best experience possible:
1. Conduct your telemedicine appointment in a quiet area that is well lit.
2. Test out your microphone and webcam beforehand if possible.
3. Close any open program on your computer or phone.
4. Connect with the best internet connection possible, whether through your Wi-Fi or cell phone data signal. You may need to try another room to get a better signal.
5. Consider reducing competing traffic on your internet network. Turn off other streaming services (Netflix, YouTube, Facetime, etc.) if possible during the appointment time.
6. When checking into your telemedicine appointment, make sure to “allow access” to your webcam and/or microphone if prompted.
How do I begin a telehealth appointment?
Shortly before your scheduled appointment, you will receive a text message or email with a secure link. Click the link and you will be taken to a virtual waiting room until your doctor connects via video from their office. See below for examples of what the email and text message will look like.
How does telehealth work with my insurance?
A telehealth visit is covered by most insurance the same as an in-person appointment. You will likely pay a co-pay and incur typical out of pocket expenses for prescriptions.