Patients tend to like our virtual visits because of some of the convenience that it offers, for example, if someone's working from home, they can take a break, get a quick visit in and get their refills or whatever is appropriate, and then move on with their day.
It also can allow parents to have their kids be seen without having to get them all ready to go, bring them in, wait in the waiting room and many of the other things that go along with that. It allows for a more efficient delivery of care in some instances, and sometimes we are able to see things if we're can talk to them in the home that we may not be able to pick up when we're seeing them in the clinic, which has been useful for some providers as they've done these virtual visits. I think there is convenience to the virtual visits. Additionally, there is the fact of not having to potentially expose themselves to Coronavirus and other sicknesses; there's a lot of people who are scared but still need medical care, and the virtual visits offer an opportunity to provide that.
Can Virtual Visits Still Provide a Personal Connection?
Well, we've already got that personal connection because we've already seen them in the office in most cases. Providers have to wear masks right now during office visits, so the virtual visit is actually a chance to have more of your face showing when you're talking to your patients and you're able to see their face more completely as well, which is something that I'm missing more than I thought I would.
That one-to-one connection, that ability to connect with someone, while it may be easier to do when you're physically near them, you still can do it through technology. You still can pick up on non-verbal cues, you can still get the gist of what they're saying and what they're not saying through facial expression, and so the providers and patients that are willing to put themselves out there and do the visit can certainly get that one-on-one connection and they can certainly continue to grow their relationship with their provider.
What Appointments Work Well as a Virtual Visit?
There's a few different types of appointments that I think work well or for virtual visits. I think that once someone is well-established on a medication, for example anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications, and as long as they're coming in so we can still monitor the things we need to monitor physically and through labs and such, we can do some of the visits in between virtually very easily. It's also a good way to see how they're doing in their own environment as opposed to the somewhat artificial environment of the office. Other visits that can be done virtually:
A lot of times we can talk through the issues, and if we're able to see the patient, we're able to make a quality evaluation and assess what we need, what we would recommend and appropriately treat them.
What Would You Tell a Patient That is Considering a Virtual Visit?
I would tell people who are considering a virtual visit to give it a try! You may end up having to wait on the waiting room virtually for a few minutes while that provider is getting from one thing into the other, but you know you're waiting in the comfort of your own home.
Especially if you have a previous relationship with the provider, you trust them and they're able to communicate well with you, I think the virtual visits are a great way to augment how we are able to provide care to the people who put the faith in us to help take care of them and their families.
To schedule a virtual visit with your provider, see our Virtual Visits information page.