Visit your doctor virtually
Throughout COVID-19 we have heard these words many times: Zoom, FaceTime, Teams and telehealth. These are some of the many resources that have helped us to stay connected and engaged with our friends, family and physicians through an uncertain time.
Telehealth continues to be a wonderful resource for patients who are unable to come to the hospital or wish to see their doctor from the comfort of their home during this time. Though LMH Health strives each day to uphold the safest environment, telehealth provides our patients with the medical attention they need, from wherever they are.
Telemedicine for primary care appointments
Jason Foster, MD
Dr. Jason Foster, a primary care physician with Family Medicine of Tonganoxie, said that this is a very important tool that the pandemic opened up, one that will continue forever forward to be an important tool in healthcare.
“In primary care, we see patients with many conditions or illnesses,” he said. “Telehealth has been such a useful advancement in patient care because we are able to see patients we may not have been able to see before. Even before the pandemic there were patients that, though they needed care, did not want to travel to receive it or weren’t open to sitting in a doctor’s office. This has broadened our ability to care for patients in many ways.”
While doctors are able to do a more thorough exam face-to-face in an office, telehealth appointments are a wonderful option for conditions that are visible to the eye like skin conditions. They also provide the opportunity to conduct mental health evaluations and mobility checks, along with check-ups on chronic conditions, medicine recommendations and general information.
“Though in-person visits allow us to give a more in-depth evaluation, we can tell a lot from a face-to-face virtual visit as well,” Dr. Foster said. “My colleagues and I have seen patients over telehealth who come to us with a visual skin condition and we are often able to identify it on the spot and get them sent to the next step in their care. Sometimes it’s a simple prescription, or in more serious cases sometimes we send patients to the emergency room.”
The main limitations come from diagnosing conditions, such as a heart condition, that is either a new condition or cannot be seen from a screen.
“A telehealth visit is significantly better than just calling your doctor, but there are limitations,” Dr. Foster said. “That being said, we can still talk with you about your care plan or advise what your next step should be and refer you out. Getting care, via telehealth or in person, is important when you have a concern. Prolonging care can be dangerous and is not advised.”
Virtual visits for convenient consults and check-ups
Stuarts Thomas, MD
Dr. Stuart Thomas, a physician with Lawrence GI Consultants and LMH Health’s Chief Medical Officer, affirmed that telehealth visits can be done for more specialized care as well. He can provide many of the same services and checks via telehealth that he can in the clinic.
“In a GI virtual visit, we can do consultations or check-ups,” he said. “A telemedicine visit is almost the same as an in-person visit, except we are not able to perform a physical exam.”
Dr. Thomas said for visits that require a procedure, though those cannot be done via telehealth, the clinics are practicing the highest safety protocol to keep their patients and staff safe at all times.
“Telehealth visits are amazing because we can still see our patients,” Dr. Thomas said. “We can see how they are breathing, how they are thinking and if they are comfortable or not. Telehealth visits allow patients to receive many routine services without having to come into the office.”
Though a virtual visit may not be right for every visit, it is a useful tool that can be used for check-ups or a visit on the fly form the comfort of your own home or the staff lounge at work.
“Telemedicine has rapidly increased the services we can provide,” Dr. Thomas said. “I highly encourage everyone to try this service and see how they like it. With the future becoming increasingly digital, I believe this is a big step in our health care journey.”
Is telemedicine right for your next appointment?
Ask your LMH Health provider if TeleCare is right for your next appointment.