Page 7 - Senior Times South Central Michigan October 2020 - 27-10
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Senior Times - October 2020 Page 7
 through a virtual visit.
• Behavioral health services – Mental health
oxygen content, and respirations using a smart watch or cell phone.
Telehealth can be a helpful addition to a reg- ular in-person practice and can provide strong continuity of care, particularly in the midst of this pandemic. Meeting with a provider remote- ly certainly beats not meeting at all. The key
services and counseling are usually talk-based and typically require no hands-on care from the provider, making these services especially well-suited to remote delivery. Privacy may need to be considered so be careful where you set up.
Ultimately, all you need is the correct equip- ment. And the good news is that most medical offices have someone on staff who can walk you through any equipment that you will need and technical issues that may arise. Most equip- ment is relatively inexpensive at the consumer level and can be connected to transmit data electronically. These peripherals can help your doctor get nearly the same amount and quality of information regarding basic health markers as could be gleaned in an office visit.
is to find a means of connection that works for both patient and provider. It is the cornerstone of good care.
• Health screening – In the current crisis, a vir- tual doctor’s visit is a smart way to reduce the potential for transmission of infection. Many doctors and health care centers are offering remote screening options for COVID-19,
Telehealth has long been an option for some patients who live in rural areas who would have to travel long distances to be seen in person by a provider. Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, providers are now able to offer this type of delivery method to many more patients regardless of where they're located. And yet, it’s still not an option for all patients based on what their needs are.
If you have not yet tried a telehealth visit you might want to consider it if your physician offers it. The first time might seem a bit scary but a family member or friend could help you to feel more comfortable. You may ultimately find that you prefer it.
says Dr. Joseph C. Kvedar, vice president of connected health at Partners HealthCare and a professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School. “Checking if someone needs the test and following people who are quarantining with mild symptoms is mostly about asking questions,” which lends itself well to a tele- health approach. Other health screenings, such as hearing tests and cognitive testing in older adults, may also be offered remotely.
What equipment do I need?
Telehealth is often covered by insurance in varied ways. You should check to be certain
if it applies to your care. During the COVID- 19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has expanded virtual services. Many private insurers have also expanded what they’ll cover, and many states have relaxed restrictions on reimbursing providers for delivery of remote services.
• Rural specialty care – England says that in some cases, which may be more common
in rural settings, the patient will go into the office of their primary care provider and from there will connect via an audio-visual connec- tion with a specialist provider who may be in another hospital or health care center hundreds of miles away. This approach can extend the reach of providers who can’t physically get to more rural locations and enable rural patients to more easily access specialist care at a larger, urban institution.
To get the most out of a remote visit with your doctor or health care provider, ideally you should have the following:
• A telephone line
• A high-speed internet connection.
• Video access through a smart phone, tablet or
Despite the urgency of the pandemic that has loosened some restrictions around telehealth services, privacy and protecting your medical information is still a major concern. Your health information is private and should remain so.
It’s still possible to collect important infor- mation regarding vital signs and other basic health indicators with the appropriate devices from a scale to check weight to a blood glucose monitor for the diabetic. You might also use
If you need more direct care you will be asked to come into the office for an appointment.
Platforms like FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype are in wide use currently, but your provider may be using a platform designed specifically for telehealth. Your provider will let you know which platform they use, and you’ll be sent a link and instructions to connect via that system.
Where Can I Get More Information? The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers has created a page of additional infor- mation and resources specific to the COVID- 19 pandemic to help guide you through any additional questions or concerns you may have regarding telehealth services.
computer.
• Any app used by your provider to connect,
COVID-19 may have accelerated the wide- scale adoption of telemedicine services, but this will not go away once we resume normal activi- ties – it’s here to stay.
which should be downloaded beforehand.
  a digital blood pressure cuff, a spirometer to evaluate air flow, and more. You can measure and share your heart rate, heart rhythm, blood
Publisher’s Note: Physician quotes were included from Elaine K. Howley, “A Beginner’s Guide to a Virtual Doctor’s Visit.”
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