There are many types of visits well-suited for virtual care. And with the coronavirus pandemic forcing you to change the way you work, you may need to rethink how some of your visits could be done virtually.
For those cases where a hands-on physical exam is not required and you can gather enough information and visual evidence to make clinical decisions, virtual encounters are a viable alternative to office visits.
And for some follow up appointments or for visits where you are sharing test results, telemedicine may be the ideal way to conduct these encounters.
Triage and Treat Minor Illness and Injury
Using Direct Health for answering questions is an ideal way to determine the severity of a patient’s condition. And you can have your office staff use Direct Health to screen patients for COVID-19.
With Direct Health’s chat feature, your office staff can answer patient questions to help them understand if your patient needs to come into the office for a visit. If there is a question where you need to be involved, your staff can add you to the chat session, and you can see the exact words your patient uses to describe their condition.
And in cases where you need more information, you can engage in a secure audio or video call. In some cases you may find you have enough information and visual evidence to make a diagnosis, and you can use the electronic prescribing feature in Direct Health if your plan includes medications.
However, if you decide your patient requires further evaluation, you can always have your patient come to your office for a visit.
Follow Up After an Office Visit
After your initial office visit with a patient for an acute condition, a virtual follow up is an excellent opportunity to check on your patient in a way that is convenient for both of you.
Patients can inform you or your mid-level providers of their clinical progress and ask questions. And should your patient need further evaluation, you can always ask your patient to come to your office. But you’ll have done much of the preliminary assessment prior to your patient’s visit, so you’ll be able to take care of them more quickly.
Since virtual visits may be more accessible for your patients, you may see improved compliance and a decrease in cases lost to follow up.
Discuss Lab and Imaging Results
Along the lines of follow up, virtual visits are an ideal way to share test results from a recent office visit. You can interpret results for your patients, discuss your plan, and make any adjustments to medications with electronic prescribing in the Direct Health app.
If you need to refer a patient to a specialist based on imaging or lab results, you can explain why the referral is necessary and what they can expect. And of course you can follow up with your patient after they see the specialist virtually or in office as you see fit.
Switch Some of Your Schedule to Virtual
These three types of patient encounters can be a painless way to get started with virtual visits and decrease the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV for your office staff and patient population.
To ease the burden on you and your staff, you can block off time specifically for these virtual visits. In the long run, you may find this is a more efficient way to practice.
And with Direct Health, you can get started with these types of encounters today.
About the Author
Stephanie Kreml, MD is a former urgent care doctor and advises digital health and life science companies. Dr. Kreml also served as Chief Medical Officer for Accordion Health where she worked alongside data scientists to develop machine learning-based tools to enable healthcare organizations more effectively manage their patient populations.
She is an Advisory Panel Member for Dell Medical School’s Texas Health Catalyst program, enabling researchers to translate technologies into commercial healthcare applications. Prior to medical school, she held engineering positions with Motorola and Texas Instruments. Dr. Kreml received her Doctor of Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine and her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.
About Direct Health
Direct Health is working to change how healthcare is delivered by recreating the doctor-patient relationship. With the secure messaging app, physicians and patients have the ability to connect via text, call, or video, from anywhere and on their schedule. This enables patients to chat with their doctor, vet, or therapist at any time, and clinicians to extend care and get paid without extra overhead or burdensome schedules. With over 20,000 doctors across the platform, Direct Health is leading the way in the future of healthcare. For more information, visit http://www.directhealth.us.