Health care providers have embraced video visits as a way to meet the needs of their patients during the pandemic and beyond. While video visits aren’t a replacement for in-person care, they work in combination with face-to-face appointments to allow people to get the timely medical advice they need.
As an internist at Vancouver Clinic, I’ve been meeting with my patients over video for nearly a year and believe the format is an excellent option.
Video visits offer connection, access
Surprisingly, what I love most about video visits is the connection. While the assumption is that it won’t feel personal to talk about health issues through a screen, my patients and I haven’t found that to be true. We’re able to have meaningful conversations and make progress on their concerns just the same.
I also appreciate how video visits are increasing access to care. Busy professionals who would normally ignore or postpone an issue can easily meet with me during the day. Elderly people with transportation barriers or disabilities can check in without leaving home. People in rural areas don’t have to travel long distances for their appointment.
What’s more, video visits enable patients to better manage their chronic conditions because it’s so easy to keep in regular contact—and data backs this up. A Veterans Administration study found a 31 percent decrease in hospital admissions among patients who used video to help keep in touch with their doctor about their health.
Doctors see a wide range of health issues
Many patients are surprised by the number of health concerns that can be addressed during a video visit:
- Brand new medical issues, including urinary tract infections and yeast infections
- Chronic medical issues, including diabetes and high blood pressure (if patients have monitoring equipment at home)
- COVID-19 symptoms
- Mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression
- Musculoskeletal concerns, such as ankle injuries and back pain
- Skin conditions, including rashes.
It’s helpful for patients to have a scale, thermometer, and blood pressure cuff so they can provide their vitals, but for many concerns it’s not required.
Scheduling is easy
While a year ago people had no idea what Zoom was, they’re now adept at using it to connect with friends and family. Making the leap to use a virtual platform for medical care is no longer a stretch, and scheduling is easy. Video visits with Vancouver Clinic providers are encrypted to help ensure privacy and security.
Current patients can make video visit appointments with their primary care provider or with an Urgent Care provider via MyChart. Individuals who do not have MyChart or need scheduling assistance can call the Vancouver Clinic Patient Service Center at 360-882-2778.
With so many doctors and providers supporting video visits, my hope is that a growing number of patients will use them to stay safe and healthy and get the care they need.
Dr. Kristin Seymour is an internist at Vancouver Clinic. One of her greatest joys as a physician is getting to know patients well over time. Cultivating and maintaining relationships allows her to provide high-quality, thoughtful care that’s tailored to an individual’s life.