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Make the Most of Your Telehealth Visit

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In response to coronavirus, options for medical appointments have increased in recent weeks. To ensure patients are still able to access the care they need, while maintaining social distancing and reducing the risk of spreading the flu or coronavirus, Samaritan Health Services has expanded its telehealth capabilities. Many insurance companies, including Oregon Health Plan, are also expanding coverage for telehealth visits.

The next time you call your primary care provider for an appointment, you may be offered the opportunity to do your appointment as a telehealth visit, depending on your health concerns.

Robert Fallows, PsyD, of Samaritan Neuropsychology– Albany offers the following tips to help prepare you for a telehealth visit:

  • Prepare for your telehealth visit much as you would for a visit to your health care provider’s office by making a list of your questions and concerns, and your current medications.
  • Get your tech ready to go by testing your webcam and microphone, making sure the volume is on, and plugging in your device to make sure your battery does not run out during your telehealth visit.
  • Consider the lighting. Set up lighting in front where you are with your device and minimize the lighting behind you.
  • Ensure you have a private space where you will feel comfortable sharing personal information and try to find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Have your doctor’s office phone number handy and share information when setting up your appointment so the provider can reach you in the event you are disconnected or experience a serious health event. Examples of what your provider may need are:
    • The physical address of where you are participating in the virtual visit
    • Your phone number
    • Contact information of someone who can physically reach you at your present location
  • Remember that the provider may have a more difficult time reading your body language or non-verbal cues compared to a face-to-face visit.
  • Indicate who is in the room with you and ensure the provider can see that person on the camera.
  • Have a parent or legal guardian present for visits with minors to provide consent, and who will stay nearby, or possibly in the room, during the visit

MyChart E-Visits, in which patient can answer questions about their health concerns and receive a call back from a health care provider, are also available through Samaritan Health Services. To find out more about telehealth, MyChart E-Visits and clinic visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit samhealth.org/Virtual.