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Is Telehealth the Present and Future of Healthcare?

Video meetings are a part of daily life now. Ever since stay-at-home ordinances went into effect as a result of COVID-19, more and more of our day-to-day has become a virtual experience. And while kids and parents alike can’t wait to say goodbye to zoom lectures, there may be some good that comes from our recent virtual digital dependencies.

We sat down with Matthew Anderson, MD, clinical innovation lead at Banner Health to discuss how telehealth has made healthcare more accessible, convenient and innovative in our current uncertain times and even in the future. Dr. Anderson mentioned that Banner Health has been completing close to one thousand video visits every day and he expects that number to continue to rise as patients become more comfortable with the process.

It is not surprising that telehealth has become a necessity during COVID-19. Beyond convenience, the practice keeps populations smaller at medical facilities and allows people to adhere to local precautions for social distancing. But video visits offer more than just short-term benefits during the coronavirus. Dr. Anderson emphasized that video visits are a powerful tool for today and the future, and has been designed to be useful for everyone, not just for millennials and younger generations. “All types of people have benefitted from this capability, especially older generations which have found video visits to be convenient and safe.”

How does a video visit work?

  • Scheduling: Many physicians offer a “Book Online” option that eliminates the need for most office paperwork in an all-digital experience. Of course, you can still call your doctor to set a time for a video visit. Once you have scheduled your visit, you will receive an invitation via email.
  • Before the visit: Prior to your video visit, Dr. Anderson recommended downloading and logging into the video call services that you will be using. For example, Banner Health physicians utilize a video conferencing tool called eVisit. The service can be used on desktop computers and laptops that have a camera. Since we’re all spending more time than ever on our phone, you can also download the app for iOS and Google Play. Creating an account helps keep your information secure and acts as a verification tool so that physicians can be sure they are talking to the right person.
  • During the visit: Make sure you are in a room with a strong Wi-Fi signal and that bandwidth isn’t being monopolized by other family members using streaming services or online games.
  • After the visit: If you are prescribed a medication, you can expect a familiar routine to have that prescription fulfilled. As usual, the office will send the prescription to your preferred local or online pharmacist. If you are picking up your prescription in person, stay safe by wearing a mask, washing your hands and following any other local precautions.

Video visits are offered for a variety of medical fields and applications, from regular treatment check-ins to urgent care visits. Of course, some things require a more hands-on approach, such as yearly physicals and broken bones. Dr. Anderson looks forward to the future of this technology which sees predict at-home tools and increased bandwidth that will allow video visits to become a reality across more of the medical field. “Imagine if your doctor could remotely connect to a wireless stethoscope to hear your breathing, or if they could check your heart rate using the monitor you use for working out.”

The possibilities are wide open for the future, but even in the present this technology is changing the way we engage in our health. Dr. Anderson said, “Telehealth is bringing health care professionals into your home and breaking down the transportation and health barriers that have prevented people from making important medical visits. I’m excited to see more and more people gain access to quality healthcare as video visits become the norm.”

Especially during COVID-19, your video visit should be covered by your health insurance plan just like any in-person appointment. Contact your insurance provider with any questions and set up your next visit at bannerhealth.com.

COVID-19 Innovation Urgent Care RRR Wellness
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