Navigating Virtual Health Visits

Navigating Virtual Health Visits

Many hospitals, health centers and clinics have new policies in place to keep patients and staff safe during this pandemic like our partners at Fairview Health Services. They may be using technology like virtual care and telehealth for non-emergency visits, so you can see a doctor online or via phone or video chat. If you’re accessing virtual care for the first time, this information will help you understand the process so you can easily connect with your healthcare provider.

Multiple Ways to Connect

Virtual health visits are designed to provide thorough, quick and efficient care without making a trip for an in-office appointment. You’ll start with an online form or questionnaire that provides the information required for a health care professional to make a medical assessment. Your health care provider may connect with you via online chat, secure messaging or phone as needed.

If you have regularly scheduled office appointments with your primary care provider or a specialist, these appointments may be changed to telehealth visits instead of in-person visits. In this case, you’ll receive instructions from your clinic about what to expect when scheduling your phone consultation.

Virtual Visits Provide Versatility

Virtual care and telehealth consultations are useful for many types of visits, including:

  • Quick care for common ailments. Virtual visits are often used for prescription refills, coughs, stomach pain, sore throat and skin rashes.
  • Managing chronic conditions. This allows you to check in with your doctor or specialist to manage heart disease, arthritis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other chronic conditions without traveling for frequent office visits.
  • Diabetes management. If you use a continuous glucose monitor, your health care provider can view and analyze the data and respond to any pressing questions through virtual visits.
  • Prenatal and postpartum care. Virtual health care instills a reassuring relationship that’s vital during and after pregnancy, providing much-needed support for expecting and new moms.
  • Follow-up care. If you have questions or concerns following an in-person visit or procedure, you can reach out to your health care provider and request a follow-up visit online or by phone.

Quick Tips For Using Virtual Care

Ready to take advantage of virtual visits?  Here are five tips to help you prepare for your virtual health visit:

1. Track your health info. Make a list of your symptoms and when they started. You might also check your temperature or your blood pressure, if you have a thermometer and blood pressure monitor at home.
2. Get your technology ready. Check your internet connection and make sure your phone, tablet or computer is fully charged or plugged in.
3. Connect with virtual care. Access virtual care directly on your provider’s website or mobile app to get started. If there is a high volume of calls or virtual visits, you may have to wait for a response.
4. Ask and answer questions. You may be prompted to correspond with your health care provider via secure messaging or phone to discuss your symptoms and concerns. Write down questions and be ready to take notes.
5. Watch for follow-up instructions. Your provider will share a summary of next steps through your patient portal and send any necessary prescriptions to the pharmacy of your choice.

Stay safe, stay healthy and as always, Ebenezer and Cherrywood Pointe recommends following the guidelines and restrictions of the Center for Disease Prevention (CDC) as well as the MN Department of Health and Human Services. Please continue to reach out to us for information, or if you have questions that we can help answer.