By Louie St. George III
Essentia Health had been planning to introduce virtual visit technology later this spring, but that technology has been fast-tracked due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patients can now schedule a virtual visit, which is a video appointment that occurs directly between a provider and a patient. The patient can do the visit from the comfort of their home and utilize their own technology, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone.
This virtual visit model of providing care is being used for many primary-care and specialty visits at Essentia Health.
To schedule your virtual visit, patients can call their regular clinic’s appointment line or go through the MyHealth website or the MyChart app. At a set appointment time, they’ll log into the MyHealth website or the MyChart app and the visit will start. The patient and provider will converse with audio and video like they would if they were together in the exam room together.
These virtual visits are covered the same way an in-person visit is through most insurances.
Essentia Health is proud to be one of the first health systems to move forward with this virtual visit platform amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Sarah Manney, Essentia Health provider and chief medical informatics officer, has been conducting virtual visits over the past week with her patients. Patients are appreciative of being able to continue necessary doctor appointments without having to leave their home.
“Given our current crisis, we have an opportunity to provide excellent and safe patient care in a different way,” Dr. Manney said.
Prior to your visit, you’ll need to have a MyHealth account (sign up at EssentiaHealth.org) and Zoom, which can be downloaded through your app store or the Zoom.us website.
Learn more about virtual visits at EssentiaHealth.org/VirtualVisit.
Family Health Notebook — Beginning Wednesday, April 1, patients visiting any Essentia Health clinic are asked to attend their appointments alone. Limited exceptions include one additional person being allowed to accompany children, obstetric patients and adult patients that require assistance. Anyone accompanying a patient to a clinic appointment is required to be healthy and at least 18 years old.
This follows recent restrictions placed on visitors at hospitals. These steps are geared toward slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting patients, staff and the community.