How to navigate a virtual doctor visit

How to navigate a virtual doctor visit

Sneezing, aches, sore throat or congestion? You know the drill: A trip to the doctor’s office.

But before you leave the comfort of your own home, you should know that there’s a much more convenient way to get checked out. For many minor illnesses and injuries, virtual visits offer access to a health care professional who can assess your symptoms and provide a diagnosis in the comfort of your own home.

Interchangeably called virtual health or telehealth, virtual visits help patients get care with a provider from a mobile device or computer.

“With the increasing use of virtual visits, medical care is just a click away,’” says Dr. Edmund Fernandez, a family medicine physician based in Slinger, Wis., and medical director of virtual health at Advocate Aurora Health. “This convenient access means you save time and decrease exposure to other ill individuals.”

Examples of conditions treated within virtual visits known as Quick Care Video Visits include mild abdominal discomfort, acid reflux, back pain, bronchitis, colds, constipation, COVID with mild symptoms, diarrhea, flu, joint pain, minor burns, nausea, painful urination, respiratory and sinus infections, sprains, and vaginal discharge and irritation.

“You want to use common sense,’’ explains Dr. Fernandez. “Having trouble breathing or a badly broken bone require immediate attention.’’

As popularity of virtual health continues to grow, many primary care providers are now offering video visits for established patients. He says in the primary care world, pairing virtual visits with in-person visits, are helpful with chronic disease management.

Common disorders such as diabetes and high cholesterol can be effectively managed without you having to step foot in the clinic for every visit. “Most patients with diabetes or high cholesterol can monitored regularly from home,’’ adds Dr. Fernandez. “Not every visit can be virtual, but a good portion can be done virtually.”

It may be worth checking with your provider about this convenient option.

Behavioral health is another area that is well-suited to virtual delivery including medication management and therapy. Clinicians are able to use virtual care to diagnose and treat many behavioral health issues such as depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity.

Like preparing for an in-person visit with the doctor, you want to plan ahead for a virtual visit. Ensure you are able to access and navigate the app or website hosting your visit. Check-in can typically be done several days in advance making the day of the visit easier. He says limiting distractions is important as is consideration for privacy. Also remember to dress appropriately and have good lighting.

Lastly, arriving early is a good idea to allow for unexpected hassles, he says.

Virtual visits aren’t appropriate for all health care needs, but there are many benefits such as a comfortable alternative to travel, quicker access and improved patient satisfaction.

“It’s all about communication,” explains Dr. Fernandez. “Staying focused on the task at hand and being a good communicator can make a good visit great and now you can do that from the comfort of your own home.”

Quick Care Video Visits are available 24/7 for anyone 2 and older. To learn more and explore virtual visit options, visit aah.org/virtualvisit.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.