Telehealth makes seeing a doctor or medical professional simple—especially during a pandemic. Many providers, such as true. Women's Health, offer a patient mobile app, keeping patients connected between visits by making it easy to track their progress and communicate with the team any time a question arises—even after office hours.
"Of course, there are some health issues that require a physical exam," said Diana L. Bitner, M.D., NCMP, Co-Founder and Physician, true. Women's Health. She advises adhering to precautions such as wearing a mask, not touching your mask or face, frequent handwashing, following screening protocols, and maintaining social distancing if an in-person visit is necessary. "An initial telehealth visit can allow a provider to discuss symptoms, concerns and determine whether an in-person visit is required."
How do you know if you should see your healthcare provider in person?
"Any life-threatening conditions should be seen in person immediately—including chest pain, significant shortness of breath, abdominal pain, et cetera," said Elizabeth Suing, PA, Spectrum Health Lead Provider of Virtual Services, noting telehealth visits often are covered by insurance. "Of course, there are situations and conditions that simply can't be addressed via telemedicine, such as a routine blood draw, vaccinations, or an annual check-up. If and when you need to visit a doctor's office during this pandemic, you can be sure that each office is taking precautions to keep patients and staff safe and healthy."
Leslie Pelkey, M.D., FACP, Chief Medical Officer, Cherry Health, stresses doctor's offices are prepared to serve those requiring in-person visits.
"Don't ignore important symptoms, as that may be more dangerous than coming into the office," Dr. Pelkey said. "There are many new changes that people can expect when coming in for a visit, including remote check-in and screening, to assess for symptoms and exposure to COVID-19."
Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Oct/Nov 2020 issue of West Michigan Woman.