Memorial Hospital primary care and behavioral health patients can now see their provider without leaving home by using a computer, tablet or smartphone.
The hospital’s Mount Washington Valley Rural Health Clinic has signed onto Telehealth, a means of having a virtual video visit with their provider using a home computer or smartphone. Patients without access to Telehealth technology can still receive a virtual visit by phone.
“Telehealth has become an essential tool of delivering care to patients during the coronavirus pandemic,” says Practice Manager Lucy Williams. “There has been a consistent nationwide message advising patients with COVID-19 signs and symptoms to stay home and contact their primary care provider. This technology gives patients experiencing mild to moderate respiratory symptoms a platform to be assessed by their provider without leaving home.”
A Telehealth or a telephone looks much like an in-person office visit. During the visit the provider reviews the patient’s medical history, medication list, and addresses any new medical concerns the patient may have. The provider advises treatment, if necessary, or testing, or recommends the patient come in for a physical examination and further evaluation. At the conclusion, the provider reviews any changes made during the visit and provides the patient with follow up instructions. Following the Telehealth visit the patient has access to their After Visit Summary via MyChart, the clinic’s patient portal, or a copy will be provided by mail.
“Telemedicine is a great option for patients during this crisis,” says Dr. Angus Badger, Mount Washington Valley Rural Health’s family physician, and one of the first doctors at the Clinic to conduct a Telehealth visit with a patient. “When we are able to intervene early and help our patients avoid the Emergency Room or Walk-In, we help them stay healthy and we improve our hospital’s capacity to help those that are the most sick with COVID-19. We want patients to know we are open, and that we are available in new ways. We want them to call us with any problem—and we will decide together whether we can best assess them through the computer, the phone, or in person.
Williams adds that while social distancing and other preventive measures are crucial to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, “it is equally important for patients to remain healthy and manage their chronic conditions” such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart problems. “The virtual visit technology,” she says, “is an additional step in ensuring our patient’s healthcare remains uninterrupted during these times.”
Mount Washington Valley Rural Health offers Telehealth visits Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00pm. For information or to schedule an appointment contact the office at 603-356-5472. Patients who do not meet the technical requirements, may be offered a telephone call with a provider.