Like so many interactions today, many healthcare appointments now have the option of going virtual. Though all Community Health Partners’ clinics are open for in-person visits, many appointments are appropriate for virtual visits. Virtual visits can be a great way to address your healthcare needs and reduce exposure to COVID-19. We are excited to be offering both telephone and video visits with medical and behavioral health providers for patients. At CHP, we want everyone to have access to health care in a way that works best for them.
Even in a pandemic, it’s still as important as ever to have your preventive care (wellness) visits and address health issues early to prevent worsening conditions. Plus, keeping yourself healthy allows your immune system its full strength to fight off viruses, including COVID-19.
When scheduling a virtual healthcare appointment, there are a few things to consider to get the most out of your visit with a medical or behavioral health provider.
Video and telephone visits are a great tool, but they don’t lend themselves well to every type of visitor health issue. First, remember that emergencies are still emergencies. If you have sudden chest pain, weakness in one side of the face or body, or sudden difficulty breathing, call 911 right away. If something is urgent but not an emergency, such as a high fever or minor injury, contact your nearest CHP medical clinic right away. Our staff can help you decide on the best course of action moving forward and get you scheduled for an in-person or virtual appointment as needed.
Once you’ve decided that a virtual appointment is right for you, call your nearest clinic to set up an appointment, and begin preparing for your appointment.
By now, most of us have experienced our fair share of technical blunders while using Zoom or some other teleconferencing program. When possible, think ahead about issues you may encounter beforehand and troubleshoot as needed. CHP uses Zoom for all virtual appointments, so be sure to download the free app beforehand and sign in with your free account. On the day of your appointment, one of our care team members will provide you with the Meeting ID and Password for your visit.
We’ve developed these troubleshooting tips for virtual appointments, which show you how to join on different devices, adjust your audio and video settings, and more.
To make sure you get everything you need from your virtual health care appointment, make a list of two-to-three issues beforehand that you plan to discuss with your provider. Especially if the technology is new to you, virtual visits can bring unforeseen distractions, making it more difficult to remember everything you wanted to share. A list will help you make sure all of your concerns are covered.
If any of your symptoms are visual, such as a mole or rash, it can help take photos beforehand and share them with your care team via email or MyChart. Speaking of which, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re set up with MyChart before your appointment. MyChart allows you to store your personal and medical information, see your medical records, and receive communications from your care team.
And, of course, do your best to be on time for your appointment, and we will, too. We know that all of our patients’ time is valuable, and we want to be as efficient and respectful as possible.
At the end of your appointment, make sure you and your provider are both clear on the next steps. Do you need a prescription ordered? Does a follow-up appointment need to be scheduled? Do you need to schedule a time to visit in person so that the provider can more clearly see your symptoms? Discussing this helps you make sure you’re both on the same page about moving forward, holding you both accountable for what needs to happen next.
If you’d like to schedule a virtual appointment with CHP or have any questions about virtual visits, please contact our staff at your local medical or behavior clinic today.