Watson Clinic has initiated online video consultations for patients who are trying to maintain social distance or self-isolate in response to the novel coronavirus.
The telemedicine service is available to clinic patients who have access to a smartphone or a tablet or desktop computer with a working video camera and microphone.
Users can make an appointment and have a video chat or private messaging thread with their medical team if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or have more routine issues, such as refilling or changing medications, managing certain chronic conditions or discussing recent problems.
More than 100 of Watson Clinic’s 226 physicians have signed on to use the new telemedicine system in conjunction with the clinic’s online MyChart service, said Jenny Baker, Watson Clinic’s senior public relations and communications manager.
Telemedicine payment rates vary according to patients’ insurance coverage.
All clinic locations remain open for in-person visits for:
- Situations that require in-person assessments
- Visits with physicians who have not signed up for telemedicine services
- Patients who do not have electronic access
As the telemedicine service begins, Watson Clinic’s XpressCare at 2300 E. County Road 540A will close two hours earlier most evenings, Baker said. New hours starting Thursday are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.
“Telemedicine accomplishes the same goals as an in-person appointment with your doctor, all from the comfort of your home,” Watson Clinic Managing Partner Steven G. Achinger, M.D., said in a news release.
“We have worked diligently to implement a solution that will accommodate the healthcare needs of our patients while also ensuring their health and safety during this challenging time,” Achinger said.
The news release stresses that to meet patient expectations and effectively communicate a plan of care, patients need “to be aware that your input is vital to this process. Though the visit is through an electronic medium, the information you provide is just as important as if you were sitting with your provider in an office exam room.”
Patients using video services must be able to:
- Attach a relevant photo or document in their communication, such as scanned documents of their blood pressure readings.
- Follow the instructions on how to join a video call
- Ensure the camera is focused on him or her and there is sufficient lighting in the room to be seen via camera.