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TeleMedicine and TeleVisits: What you need to know

As we navigate through the uncertainty of the Coronavirus, or the novel Covid-19 virus, one thing we have all learned:  It is extremely contagious and life-threatening to those who are elderly and/or immunocompromised.  In an effort to reduce exposure and minimize risk of exposure to the virus, increased use of telemedicine will become a necessity to screen patients.

What Is Tele-Medicine?

The use of technology allows patients to contact and interact with their physician over a telephone or video conferencing platform, to minimize exposure and risk. Providers can use real-time communication to discuss history and symptoms with their patient, make recommendations, prescribe and transmit prescriptions to the patient's pharmacy, fax orders or requisitions for bloodwork, radiological or other medical testing.  

These services are designed to allow patients to remain at home while seeking consultation with their PCP or Specialist.

How Would Tele-Medicine Work in Podiatry?

The practice of podiatric medicine and surgery is procedural based. From minor procedures such as skin and nail conditions to surgical correction of structural deformities, tele-visits would be impossible. However, an initial consultation for heel pain, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendon pain, metatarsal pain, symptoms of numbness or pain in the foot or ankle, all can be evaluated and discussed via a video-conference or Tele-Visit, and is now covered by Medicare and almost all third-party health insurance companies.  In addition, follow-up visits can be done remotely, for such situations as surgical post-op when evaluating xrays for healing, follow-up after patients are dispensed Diabetic Shoes or custom foot orthotics. Follow-up for ingrown toenail procedures and evaluations after a course of Physical Therapy all can be done remotely to keep a patient at home during the Covid-19 outbreak.

How Does a Tele-Visit Work?

In our practice, we use a platform called HEALOW.  This is a free app which is downloaded from either the Google Play Store (for Android) or the App Store (for Apple iPhone). The patient will call our office to schedule a Tele-Visit. Our staff will take your personal and insurance information, and set you up with a login and password to our Patient Portal. Once you sign on to the portal, and download the app on your phone, you will be able to open the app at the time of your scheduled Tele-Visit appointment and video connect with one of our physicians.

 

Another method we are using is Doxy.me. This will allow the patient to simply log into the website with a smart phone, tablet or laptop (with microphone and video) at their previously scheduled televisit appointment, and our doctor will connect to you at the time of your appointment!

Using the mobile device will allow you to use your camera when needed, to show the areas of concern, while our doctors can screenshot and upload the images to your medical chart in our EMR software as part of your medical record!  Our physicians can review xrays and MRIs from their computers and discuss them with you.  

If your condition requires a procedural solution, you can be scheduled to be seen in person when it is safe for you to do so, or convenient to be seen in person.

Contact our office today to schedule a televisit!

Author
Dr. Eric J. Abrams Dr. Abrams is a Fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons and is board certified by the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery. He currently practices in Monmouth and Ocean counties in New Jersey. He is also a clinical instructor at Jersey Shore University Medical Center's Podiatric Surgical Residency in Neptune, New Jersey.

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