Curious About Virtual Visits? Here's What To Expect

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Meeting with your doctor online or over the phone provides a convenient, simple way to make and keep many of your appointments without having to physically go into a doctor’s office. With virtual visits, you can access many of the same services you typically receive during a traditional in-person appointment, including remote symptom monitoring, diagnosis and treatment, prescriptions, and other medical services.

Most doctors will tell you that simply talking with their patients is one of the most important parts of their assessment. Asking patients about current symptoms, personal and family history, environment at work and home, and lifestyle habits can provide physicians with important information that can help them reach a diagnosis and develop a plan of care. As we all know, a written record of a conversation misses many small details that a live conversation picks up. Tone of voice, hesitation before answering, general appearance of fatigue or of being well-rested can all be valuable clues to health that can be picked up visually. Both elements of a traditional office visit are accomplished through an interactive virtual consultation.

For virtual visits, a bill will be submitted to your insurance company per usual business practices. You may be responsible for a portion, or all of the cost, depending on your insurance.

How To Get the Most Out of Your Visit

To prepare for and get the most out of your virtual appointment:

  • Keep track of your current symptoms and when they started
  • Keep track of your temperature or blood pressure
  • Keep a list of chronic conditions and medications
  • Prepare a list of questions for your doctor
  • Have a pen and paper in case you need to take notes

For online video appointments, you will also need:

  • A reliable internet connection
  • A computer, tablet or smartphone with a camera and microphone (preferably a computer/laptop)
  • Google Chrome web browser
  • Apps if directed by your doctor’s office.

Other Uses of Videoconferencing

Some of these same technologies are being successfully used for patients who have been admitted to one of our University Hospitals Medical Centers. This technology allows a group of individuals, such as patients, their family and clinical team members, to video chat together from multiple locations. Patients in isolation are provided with a UH iPad for this purpose, and the calls are secure and compliant with HIPAA.

This multi-person video conferencing has already proven useful because inpatient care teams can safely interact with a patient in isolation and collaborate with each other on the patient’s plan of care. This can be used by caregivers so they do not need to enter a patient room, decreasing exposure risk, while at the same time offering their expertise. This technology enables clinical teams to remotely monitor patients at other UH facilities. Likewise, experts can visit several patients in several different locations without traveling.

Steven Baldridge, RN, is a staff educator at University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center.

Related Links

UH virtual visits include online video appointments and telephone appointments, offering access to many of the same services you receive during a traditional in-person appointment, including remote symptom monitoring, diagnosis and treatment, prescriptions and other medical services. Learn more about these services at UH.

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