Telemedicine, conducting a visit with a patient from a computer or smartphone screen, was one of those concepts that I always appreciated, but never embraced, due to logistics and difficulty in getting paid. It has now become a necessitiy, and fortunately insurers are reimbursing more generously for telemedicine than ever before (though likely not quite to the same level as an in person visit, but that will be seen).
Telemedicine isn't that hard, see?
I am using a website called Doxy.me for telemedicine appointments. It's very straightforward. You log in to the web site from your browser on a smartphone or computer with web cam. No need to download anything. Details are here.
If that seems too daunting, then FaceTime is also an option. While it is not HIPAA-compliant, exceptions have been made during the pandemic to permit doctor-patient communication via other platforms such as FaceTime, Skype, and Facebook Messenger.
One silver lining of the pandemic and telemedicine is that insurers in many cases will pay for a telemedicine visit with a physician in another state. So, if you wanted to get a consultation from a plant-based cardiologist in California, and you live far away, here's your chance.
As an absolute last resort, a phone visit is an option. I don't like these because I think that a face-to-face conversation is a better way to practice medicine.
Adventures in Telemedicine
While I miss seeing my patients in person, telemedicine brings me into my patients' homes. I've met family members and pets. I even met a dog who sings "Happy Birthday".
I am a stickler for knowing exactly what medications my patients are taking -- on a telemedicine visit from home, my medical assistant can ask them to gather up their pill bottles, while often when I see a patient in the office they've forgotten their list or assume that I know what they're taking.
Another advantage of telemedicine is that I am often working from home. This gives me the opportunity to spend more time with my daughter -- the nanny is taking care of her while I'm working, but I get to eat lunch with her and play with her when I have a break.
Need to be seen by your cardiologist, and don't want to leave your home? Call my office at 818-938-9505 and we'll get you in for a telemedicine visit!