Your phone is your virtual shopping center, your camera, your portal to a smorgasbord of movies, music, and entertainment. It’s a navigator, a source for connectivity, and—on occasion—a thing your grandma calls you on. Honestly, what can’t your phone do?
Until recently, many would have answered that question with, “I don’t know… be your doctor?” And while Dr. Google isn’t a thing (yet), you can access quality healthcare from your smartphone.
Telemedicine, which connects patients to doctors through a smartphone, tablet, or computer, is on the rise—thanks in no small part to COVID-19. The pandemic has changed patients’ willingness to try telehealth, and—once they try it, they tend to like it.
We’ll be the first to admit that telemedicine can’t do everything. As you can imagine, it’s not appropriate for emergencies such as heart attacks or strokes, lacerations, or broken bones that require X-rays, splints, or casts. Sometimes, a physical exam is the only way to meet the appropriate standard of care for patients.
That said, telemedicine is an extremely useful tool for non-emergency medical care. It’s versatile, too: doctors use virtual care across almost every field of medicine, from primary care to specialties like dermatology and mental health.
Yes! At ZOOM+Care, telehealth plays a vital role in how we deliver care. Currently, we have two ways to connect with a provider virtually—VideoCare™ and ChatCare™.
As the name suggests, VideoCare™ let’s you have an in-depth, 1:1 conversation with a ZOOM+Care provider through video chat. It’s just like a regular office visit—just, from your couch. You can use VideoCare™ for primary, urgent, and—if you’re in Oregon and Washington—specialty Care.
You can also connect with a ZOOM+Care provider through ChatCare™. While Chat is much less comprehensive than VideoCare™, it’s excellent for common illnesses and concerns, as well as quick follow-ups.
If the idea of talking to a healthcare provider over the internet seems strange to you, you’re not alone. To help you figure out when to use VideoCare™—and what to use it for—we’re rounding up the top five concerns treated virtually at ZOOM+Care.
At the simplest level, telehealth is excellent for anything that doesn’t require a physical exam, lab tests, or imaging to diagnose. Our providers can evaluate and treat many common conditions through VideoCare™, including:
We also use VideoCare™ for COVID-19 screening. Remote screening helps keep you and our providers safe while discussing your symptoms and determining the right course of testing and treatment.
Have you been putting off regular skin checks during the pandemic? Thanks to VideoCare™, you can stay home and make sure your skin gets the attention it needs. Our team of virtual dermatology specialists can see skin disorders or conditions in detail and provide an accurate diagnosis, along with treatment and any next steps. While in-person follow-up care may be necessary sometimes, our specialists can diagnose the following skin disorders remotely:
It goes without saying: this year has been difficult for all of us. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, virtual mental healthcare is a game-changer. More than ever, people need access to a caring support system to help them cope with the effects of isolation, lack of physical contact, heightened stress, and economic uncertainty.
If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally, our virtual Mental Health specialists are here to help. Whether you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, or OCD, you can get a face-to-face consultation from the comfort of your home. Our specialists give excellent guidance and give you the tools to feel better on your own. They can also help with medication management and provide counseling referrals if needed.
Orthopedics and Physical Therapy may not seem like obvious choices for virtual care. However, both specialties can use telehealth for routine surgical follow-ups, post-surgical rehabilitation, and much more. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense, too: why make an injured person hobble to a clinic when they can get 1:1, real-time contact with a therapist or orthopedist from the comfort of their home?
According to Dr. Shannon O’Brien, an MD on our Orthopedic team, video visits are great for follow-up checks, such as range of motion and monitoring progress with therapy. If you wind up needing an X-ray or other diagnostic exams, we’ll work with you to schedule a visit at a time and place that works for you.
We know that “virtual Gynecology” sounds a little odd at first. But, according to ZOOM+Care Women’s Health specialist Lisa Taulbee, virtual care can do a lot. “There are several concerns related specifically to women’s health that are well-suited to telemedicine,” she says.
“Patients can obtain refills of birth control pills quickly through this route, says Taulbee. “We can also safely treat a few common infections, including yeast infections and urinary tract infections. Telemedicine is a great way to discuss any questions someone might have about starting contraception like IUDs, or to address health conditions such as endometriosis or PCOS that they may have already been diagnosed with.”
Like we said before: VideoCare™ can’t do everything. Sometimes, a physical exam is the only way to get to the bottom of your health concern. If you start a VideoCare™ visit and still need to see a provider in person, we’ll make sure you have a seamless transition. We’ll schedule your appointment at a nearby ZOOM+Care, and won’t charge you for the extra visit. Plus, your in-person appointment will pick up exactly where the virtual one left off!
Please note: At this time, we only offer Specialist visits in select areas.