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Articles to Stay Healthy.

Need to see a doctor during COVID-19? Choose a Virtual Visit.

By Sirene Garcia, Chief Innovation Officer, and Casey Castner, Telehealth Operations Manager, Finger Lakes Community Health

Now you don’t have to come to the health center to see your provider for non-urgent medical conditions. Innovative telehealth technology often called “virtual visits” uses the power of the internet to deliver a medical consultation directly to you! You can use your smartphone, tablet, or computer to see and talk with your provider from the safety of your home.

Though Telehealth technology has been in use for many years before the Coronavirus, it is being used more often now for medical and behavioral health appointments to maintain a high level of safety for patients and health care staff.

If you have Wi-Fi or a data plan, you can easily do a virtual visit with your provider. We do recommend, that during your appointment you find a quiet, well-lit location in your home so that you can have a private conversation with your provider.

Virtual visits for Behavioral Health

Feeling stressed about the Coronavirus and the changes it has inflicted on your life? Many people can easily say yes to that! We have been forced to alter our routines and schedules due to school closings, working from home, unemployment, and isolation from family and friends. All of this makes staying mentally well a challenge.

If you’d like to talk with a therapist, you can stay at home, in a quiet room, and have your appointment by phone or using the Internet with your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Or you may come in-person to the health center to meet with your therapist or psychiatrist. We are keeping staff and patients safe at the health center by following OSHA guidelines for infection control including extensive cleaning procedures. After patients leave, we clean frequently touched surfaces using EPA registered disinfectants.

Telehealth technology with specialists

Telehealth is also used for specialty care visits to evaluate and diagnose you from a distance.  Need to see an Ear Nose and Throat specialist or Neurologist? This is a perfect solution. Specialists are outside of the health center and patients typically must drive to their offices for appointments. That is no longer the case. You simply come to the health center and we conduct the appointment using HIPAA compliant video equipment with your provider present.

What are the benefits of using Virtual Visits?

  1. It reduces travel time for you…and time off from work. Since you don’t have to leave your home, you’ll certainly save on travel time and time off from work. And you don’t have to cancel appointments when the weather is bad. All a plus.
  2. Your Finger Lakes Community Health (FLCH) provider has access to your medical records. As with an in-person visit, your FLCH provider will have access to your medical history and can give you the same sound advice.
  3. Compliance with social distancing. Telehealth appointments with your FLCH provider are conducted from your home, so you don’t have to think about social distancing.
  4. Bilingual patients can still have access to an interpreter, with virtual visits from home. Sometimes a language barrier prevents patients from seeing their providers on a regular basis. For bi-lingual patients or non-native English speakers, interpreters can mean a world of difference.

The next time you need a medical or behavioral health appointment, ask about scheduling a Virtual Visit. All eight of our health centers at Finger Lakes Community Health offer this option. Many others in the community do as well.

 

 

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