A convenient, safe alternative to an in-person visit
Can you identify with one of these situations?
You’re at work, and you really need to connect with your medical provider about a side effect of your new medication. You’d like to get answers to your questions today, but you can’t leave work for an appointment.
Your aging mother, who uses a wheelchair, has a follow-up appointment with the doctor about her diabetes. You accompany your mother to all her medical appointments, which often takes hours out of your day for a 20-minute appointment.
One of your three children has what looks like pink eye. Your family practice provider has an opening later today, but you’re dreading having to pack up the kids, drive to the office, and spend time in a waiting room with other patients.
You and your spouse are traveling to a warm location for the winter, and you want to be able to have access to your provider, even while you’re temporarily living miles away from home.
A convenient solution for these and many other situations is available to you in your MyChart account. It’s called a video visit.
Regardless of your age, video visits can offer convenience and high-quality care from a provider without the extra time it takes to travel to the office, sign in, and wait for a room.
Video visits also offer the added benefit of your provider being able to hear and see you — something that a phone call or email exchange on your portal doesn’t allow the provider to do.
In a post-pandemic world, safety is another important consideration. Because you can remain at home or work during your virtual visit, you won’t be exposed to other patients in a waiting room.
The Simple Process
It is possible that some providers will send you a different process, but this is the most frequently-used process. Using your smartphone, computer or tablet, just follow these easy steps.
- Log on to your Mercy Health MyChart account.
- Select MyChart Video Visit.
- You’ll receive a response that tells you what to do. You may be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance that streamlines the interaction with your provider who will review the reason for your visit in advance of the appointment.
- Log on to your account 15 minutes before your video visit. Your provider will receive a signal that you are connected. Some providers will have you “visit” with a medical assistant first; the process may vary from office to office.
- If you are making your video visit appointment in advance, you may electronically check in up to seven days in advance, which allows you to complete your registration, sign the consent for treatment, and review instructions regarding your computer software, etc.
- Meet with your provider. Following the video visit, your chart will be updated.
CoMMON chronic conditions
Video visits are an excellent option for many circumstances and medical conditions that do not require a typical physical examination by a provider.
For certain chronic conditions, video visits are just as beneficial to a patient as an in-person visit. Many types of appointments could occur using this option without sacrificing the quality care and one-on-one attention you deserve.
Behavioral Health: Patients living with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues often benefit from remaining in a familiar environment. During appointments with such patients, providers rely on using their eyes and ears; no hands-on examination is necessary. For many behavioral health patients, a video visit can be more convenient and calming than an in-person visit because the patient may have a private conversation and not have to travel to do so.
Medication Management: At times, a provider will schedule a follow-up visit with a patient after a new medication has been prescribed. During a video visit, a provider can have a conversation regarding how the medication is working, answer the patient’s questions, and even order refills.
Laboratory/Test Reviews: When a provider orders tests or labs, the patient is notified about the results in MyChart. However, some patients want a follow-up discussion with a provider, and a video visit is ideal for this type of appointment.
Dermatologic Conditions: As an example, a patient with a rash takes a high-definition photo of it with a smartphone and sends the image to the provider before the video visit. The provider reviews the image before the appointment and then discuss causes and treatment options with the patient. If the image is concerning, the provider will schedule an in-person visit.
Under the current federal pandemic emergency executive order, the cost to Medicare/Medicaid patients for video visits has been waived. At this time, most private medical insurance companies are also waiving copays for virtual visits. The current emergency executive order is expected to be in place through December 2021.
At this time, Congress is reviewing several pieces of legislation that would align the coverage and copays for virtual visits with those for in-person visits.
STAY TUNED FOR Future Enhancements for Video Visits
Using technology, even more conditions could be monitored and treated via video visits.
In the future, Mercy Health plans to find affordable ways for appropriate patients to have a Mercy Health at-home medical equipment kit. Each kit would be personalized with devices that make sense for your specific needs. These devices would be vetted by Mercy Health clinicians, approved for at-home monitoring, and calibrated in the provider’s office prior to use.
For example, a patient with diabetes might have a scale, a glucometer, and a blood pressure machine, each with the ability to upload data to the patient’s MyChart account and be reviewed by the provider. The kit for a patient with congestive heart failure might have a pulse oximeter, a scale, a blood pressure monitor, and even a stethoscope.
Video visits are a great option for patients who do not need a physical examination. They provide the quality, privacy, safety, convenience, and personalized care that patients are looking for. The benefits are significant and have the potential to lower overall costs for outpatient care.
Are you ready to connect? This would be a great year to try it out!