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The same great care from the comfort and convenience of home

The same great care from the comfort and convenience of home

One of the challenging aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that social distancing and personal preference have made face-to-face interactions sparse – including seeing your doctor.

For many, the solution is increasing the use of Virtual Visits, phone or video interactions with your care team. These options offer you an opportunity to connect with a healthcare provider in real time from the comfort and ease of your home.

Urbana’s Jordan Barnes, 30, found the option appealing because she has both hypertension and diabetes – both of which require regular updates and visits but also put her at a greater risk of COVID-19 complications.

“I’ll admit I was a little hesitant about coming in during the pandemic,” she said. “I’m on medication that needs weekly monitoring and I didn’t want to lose the progress I’ve been making.”

Barnes developed several conditions following the delivery of her first child – Hunter – so she was very relieved when didn’t have to leave home and could still have her health needs met.

While telemedicine isn't new — Carle has been using it to connect rural patients and providers for some time — its use has spiked dramatically in recent weeks amidst COVID-19 concerns. Patients can reach out to their provider at (217) 383-3200 to schedule a virtual visit today or simply request one through the MyCarle patient portal.

In April, Carle conducted 26,000 Virtual Visits while so far in May, we’ve completed 7,200 visits and the volume is growing.

Telemedicine or telehealth — the terms are often used interchangeably — isn't a solution for every care situation. You should always seek immediate care for life-threatening symptoms such as a heart attack or stroke. 

“There are times when we still want – and need – to see you in person,” Aimee Yu-Ballard, MD, Family Medicine, said. “Depending on what we learn, you may need some blood drawn, an X-ray or a strep test. Those things still require you to come in to collect a sample or something that we need to feel with our hands.”

However, for those times when technology can assist, patients and providers alike see value in keeping people on track to meet health needs.

Barnes used a customized encrypted Zoom link through MyCarle and in a few short minutes, she connected using her laptop. 

“It was extremely easy and user friendly. I didn’t have to worrying about rushing or factoring in travel time. I don’t have to search for parking,” Barnes said.

She now prefers this interaction for her brief medication checks and other routine care, saving her time – a precious commodity for the busy working mom to 10-month-old Hunter. 

She also took advantage of another COVID-19 service – drive-through blood draws for adults at Carle Urbana on Windsor.

“Easy in and out,” she said. “It was fast, convenient and safe.” 

She remarked seeing a friendly, familiar face was a nice change too.

“After being cooped up in the house for some time now, it was nice to have some face time.”

Tips to make the most of your telephone or video visit:

  • Download any applications needed ahead of time.
  • Find a quiet location to test your camera and/or microphone ahead of time.
  • Use Wi-Fi when possible. 
  • Have your provider’s number or meeting login information handy.
  • Write down your questions in advance.
  • Have any glucometer or blood pressure readings and medication list ready. 

“If we have these things like medication lists or readings in our hands or inboxes ahead of the visit, we can review it prior to our chat and maximize our time together focusing on the most important aspects of managing a patient’s symptoms or chronic condition,” Aja Lystila, MD, Adult Medicine, said. 

Categories: Staying Healthy

Tags: COVID-19, innovation, Primary Care, quality, telehealth, Virtual visits

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