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Adventist Health launches virtual visits, so patients can access their doctor safely from home

 

April 11, 2020



Adventist Health recently announced it has launched on-demand virtual services which allows doctors to consult with patients remotely using video and audio through a computer or mobile device. Virtual visits can be vital to cope with the growing surge in demand for medical services – and to keep health workers and patients safer. So, instead of sitting in a waiting room, patients can see their doctor using video from their computer or device from home.

Providers are using virtual visits to screen for COVID-19 cases, handle routine visits with the chronically ill, and provide behavioral healthcare services. They are proving to provide comfort for those patients who are anxious about coming to a clinic, especially as the COVID-19 outbreak intensifies. Virtual visits also save masks, gowns and key supplies, which are in high demand for dealing with the pandemic.

“Virtual care makes accessing doctors and providers even easier with technology-enabled, easy to use tools to connect patients with providers. Patients can access care from the comfort of their home with less risk of exposure,” said Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley President Jeff Lingerfelt. “Our hope is that by making care more accessible and creating fewer barriers, more people will seek care, especially those who may be worried about COVID-19 and those who do not have transportation.”

Patients are eagerly embracing this approach, in part to avoid going to clinics and waiting rooms. Limiting face-to-face encounters also helps protect health workers and support staff who are concerned about their exposure to infected patients who may be visiting clinics.

So, how does it work? To participate in a virtual visit, a patient just needs a smartphone, tablet or computer with a working camera and microphone. The provider sends an email with a link for the scheduled visit which utilizes Microsoft Teams, a technology-enabled, easy-to use secure platform, which is available as a downloadable app or web-based app. It’s simple and easy to use. Adventist Health asks patients to log in 20 minutes prior to the scheduled visit so they can answer some intake questions regarding medications and health history. Once the visit begins, the provider and patient can see and hear each other as if they were in the same room.

“There are other medical needs besides COVID-19 and our community needs to know they can see their doctor safely from their home without having to go to a clinic,” Lingerfelt said.

Adventist Health’s clinic staff is reaching out to patients to reschedule appointments as virtual visits if possible. Patients who have a scheduled in-person appointment with a provider can also request to have their appointment rescheduled as a virtual visit by contacting their doctor’s office.

Virtual visits are covered by most insurance plans. To learn more about virtual visits, go to http://www.AdventistHealth.org/VirtualVisits or contact your local provider.

About Adventist Health

Adventist Health is a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 80 communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 32,900 includes more than 23,600 employees; nearly 5,000 medical staff physicians; and 4,350 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 20 hospitals, more than 280 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 15 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. Visit http://www.AdventistHealth.org for more information.

 
 

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