Telehealth is not a new concept, however it might not be something that most providers or patients are familiar with. In light of the evolving COVID-19 situation, telehealth services have expanded to offer secure, HIPAA-compliant video and telephone visits across all specialties at Loma Linda University Health to reduce the spread of infection.

Daniel Reichert, MD, a family medicine physician at Loma Linda University Health, says there are many benefits to telehealth.

“Telehealth appointments can be conducted on a smartphone, tablet or computer and offer you the ability to discuss your condition in real time with your provider,” Reichert says. “As a physician, we can tell a lot about a person’s illness just by looking at and speaking to them.”

Reichert says video visits are preferred, but a telephone visit, although limited, may be used if a patient does not have a webcam or smartphone.

What to Expect during a virtual visit

During a virtual visit, Reichert says a patient can expect it to be much like an in-person visit. A nurse or medical assistant will do a preliminary check-in with the patient, however there is no ability to take a patient’s vitals like blood pressure or heart rate. Once completed, there will be a brief waiting period for the physician to join you for the visit.

How patients can prepare

To get the most out of your telehealth appointment, Patients need to ensure they are prepared. Here is a checklist of things to do before you check in:

-       Test your hardware – make sure the camera and audio are working properly. Web cameras are best for quality, but a smartphone or tablet will also work. For best outcomes, have the camera positioned at eye level.

-       Set up for your appointment in a quiet, well-lit area.

-       Have any notes or questions related to your condition and symptoms on hand.

-       Complete the online check-in to your appointment as early as two days in advance. This includes any copays or signatures that are required before the visit.

-       Login to your patient portal, such as MyChart, at least two hours early to ensure your phone or computer is compatible with the system and to test the internet connection.

Loma Linda University Health providers are committed to ensuring all patients have access to the care they need during this time. Patients can schedule virtual or telephone visits by visiting MyChart or calling their provider.