The last year has certainly brought about massive changes in most of our lives. From shifts in workloads to changes in education, we have all had to adapt to move forward. Remember the days of going to the office? Do you recall going and doing your usual activities without remembering to wear a mask and keep yourself at a safe social distance? Change, while often challenging to adapt to, can be a good thing. This is undoubtedly the case with virtual health care. Innova Primary Care strives to renew medicine from the inside out. One of the ways we do this is by adapting to the current needs of our patients. As the world transitioned over the past year, so did we. Telehealth is here to stay, and here is how you can make the most of it.
Is Virtual Care New?
Some form of virtual care has been around for decades. We did not just arrive here due to the pandemic. In 1948 the first recorded instance of telemedicine took place. Medical professionals sent radiological images using the telephone, and telemedicine was born. Just a little over a decade later, health professionals at the University of Nebraska utilized the phone to relay crucial medical documents. As technology ramped up, so did the possibilities for telemedicine, and the dawn of the internet age changed the landscape of virtual care forever. In fact, in 1993, the American Telemedicine Association was born. As you can see, virtual care is nothing new, but how we utilize it now is.
Virtual Medicine, Real Changes
When the pandemic hit, healthcare professionals pivoted. Even amid a global crisis, patients still needed to see their providers. Telehealth is a significant reason for this possibility. Concerns of COVID-19 created a significant healthcare burden, with an estimated forty-one percent of American adults foregoing or delaying medical care due to concerns surrounding the crisis. Many were fearful of being in a medical establishment; others lost income, skipping care due to costs. No matter the reason, going without proper medical care can lead to complications in the near and long term. Preventive screenings and emergency care are both essential for health and well-being, and virtual health care is a way to make this happen.
Virtual care bridges the gap and allows for patient care wherever the patient is. Physicians now have the capability of connecting with their patients virtually, hence the term: virtual care. This is a term covering all the ways in which healthcare providers can interact with their patients remotely. Virtual care includes telephone, online communications, video chats, and instant messaging. What this means for patients is that healthcare is literally at their fingertips.
Benefit From Virtual Care Now
Here are some of the ways you can benefit from virtual care:
Virtual health care means you never have to leave the comfort of your own home. You can meet with your physician from anywhere you have an internet connection. For many rural patients and those who prefer to be at home, virtual care is a way to stay connected to their healthcare providers with ease. This is especially critical for rural populations and home bound citizens. Virtual care has opened up an opportunity to stay connected with their healthcare teams without traveling long distances.
Works with your schedule
Because there is no need to travel for a virtual appointment, patients can see their physicians on a schedule that suits their requirements. Virtual care provides a way for patients who have busy schedules to see their physicians no matter where their location.
Access to specialists
For those patients with specialists such as pulmonologists, cardiologists, respiratory physicians, and gastroenterology, virtual care can mean no travel to offices hours even states away. Technology now allows patients who need to see a specialist access to top physicians across the nation. A recent survey found that close to eight-percent of specialists in the United States increased virtual care and technology that supports it during the pandemic.
Not only is telehealth ideal for at-risk patients, but it is also a godsend during challenging weather. Because no travel is involved, you can stay safe and sound exactly where you are while you get the care you need.
How do I make virtual care work for me?
You see the benefits of virtual health care, but how do you make sure you are ready to engage with your physician online fully, on the phone, or via messaging apps? First of all, make sure you understand how to connect with your physician. Do you have the right applications downloaded on your computer or smartphone? You must have this information before your appointment. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your medical provider.
The Virtual Care Basics
Armed with information about how to connect with your provider, you now need to take care of the basics.
Make sure your device, whatever it is, is fully charged and ready to go. We know this sounds simple, but how many times have you been out and about and notice your phone is down to a ten percent charge? You do not want to lose power during an appointment, so do a quick check and plug your device in if you need to.
Find the right place to attend your virtual appointment. A quiet space with good lighting where you will not be disturbed is your best bet here. Remember, even though you are not in an office with your provider, this is still a medical appointment. Your couch or chair literally becomes the exam room.
Finally, patience is of the utmost importance. As with a traditional exam or healthcare consultation, all manner of things can happen. When you throw technology into the mix, patience becomes key.
Innova Virtual Care
Here at Innova Primary Care, we use virtual care to extend our services to our patients.
This is incredibly easy with the Healow app. Healow is a secure application you can download directly to your smartphone. No matter who you are or where you live, we can still connect with you. We are literally one click away. The great news is that insurance covers telehealth for Innova patients. We can provide care virtually, and all you pay is your regular copay.
We encourage you to consider all the benefits of virtual care and use it to your advantage. As always, Innova Primary Care is here to assist you each step of the way.