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The importance of video visits

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Video visits are a safe, simple way to offer our patients quality, personalized care.

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In recent months, The Polyclinic has made major strides in the way we care for our patients. In March, we launched our video visit program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In just a few weeks, 250 providers were up and running on VSee, a video visit platform.

Initially, video visits were designed to serve patients with COVID-19 concerns. But the availability of video visits quickly expanded. 

Primary care, physical therapy, endocrinology, dermatology and urgent care were early leaders in adopting video visits. Video visits are now available in almost every Polyclinic department.

Video visits allow us to keep our patients and staff safe during the pandemic. Within a month after launch, many providers were conducting video visits from their homes, further reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection among patients and staff. 

Aligns with our personalized care model

Video visits have also allowed us to continue providing the personalized, coordinated care that our providers are known for. For instance, a new Crohn’s disease diagnosis was made swiftly thanks to a video visit. 

After the initial video visit with primary care, the patient was scheduled for a CT scan. A diagnosis was made and initial treatment plan was in place that same day. 

If it weren’t for video visits, this patient may not have been seen because the symptoms may not have been deemed an essential visit. This also highlights the strong collaboration between our providers, regardless of what forum is used to care for our patients.

Added convenience and compliance

Patients appreciate the convenience of video visits. They don’t need to arrange for time away from work or other responsibilities to fight traffic, find a place to park and see their doctor in the office. 

Providers have noticed that patients who weren’t as compliant with in-office visits are willing to schedule a video visit. Similarly, patients who live farther away are maintaining care because of the ability to alternate virtual care with in-office care.

In addition, providers are noticing that patients are more relaxed when they’re at home. This also gives providers a more intimate view of a patient’s home life and fosters a greater connection between provider and patient.

Short-term payment parity

Insurance payors recognize the importance of telehealth, as well. For example, many payors agreed to reimburse providers for video visits the same way they did for office visits through the end of 2020.

Going forward, video visits will continue to be an important way for us to care for patients. It will help us prepare for future waves of COVID-19 and provide ready access to outpatient care. 

We’re now working to optimize the video visit experience for patients, staff and providers. We’re also evaluating new opportunities in digital health. The goal is to improve our ability to optimize patients’ health outcomes.

 

By Jennifer Gorman, MD, MPH

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The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.