Telemedicine: How to make the most of a virtual doctor visit

Posted by John, Volunteer Mentor @johnbishop, Mar 24, 2020

With all of the advances in medicine over the years it only takes a health crisis like COVID-19 to push us to new frontiers in treating our health conditions. I recently read an interesting article by Dr. Edward Creagan with some good sound tips on the basics.
– Mouse-calls: How to Meet with Your Doctor Virtually https://www.askdoctored.com/post/mouse-calls-how-to-meet-with-your-doctor-virtually

If you are a Mayo Clinic patient you are probably already enjoying the Mayo Clinic Patient Portal which makes appointments, treatment followup and asking none critical questions from your health care team easy. Here are a few more articles that you may find interesting.
– Telemedicine Advances https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/stroke-and-telemedicine/multimedia/vid-20078196
– Telehealth: Technology meets health care — See how technology can improve your health care. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/telehealth/art-20044878

Do you have any tips, fears or information to share on Telemedicine?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Visiting Mayo Clinic group.

@marvinjsturing

I have been using a form of tele-med for 5 years. My local hospital was part of the Sanford system. My nephrologist was at the Sanford hospital in Sioux Falls SD. I would have all my blood work done at my local hospital a few days before my appointment. On the day of my appointment I would go to my local hospital. I would be in a room with a camera and a monitor and a nurse. My doctor could see my test results. There was a stethoscope attached to the computer. The doctor could listen to my heart and lungs through the computer. This was all done through the hospital's network connection instead of through a cell phone.

For various reasons, I have had appointments at Mayo, Nebraska Medicine and Sanford. All of my doctors have access to all of my records at all of the hospitals. That became vitally important to me in the last few months when I was diagnosed with a recurrence of my pancreatic cancer. My doctors could see my PET and MRI scans done at various hospitals.

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Those are impressive stories of how telemedicine can work, @marvinjsturing!

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UCF Health uses an app that is the heartbeat of much of my communication with my doctor. The best part is I can send her messages directly (non-immediate) and can receive a response in 24-48 hours usually. It’s been a godsend cutting through sheer offfice delays and having that direct doctor-patient line. I could go into the awesome results, but there’s too many characters to go into that.

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From my Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy newsletter…

COVID-19 is Catalyzing the Adoption of Teleneurology: https://n.neurology.org/content/early/2020/04/03/WNL.0000000000009494.abstract

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Great new article on Mayo Clinic Champions Newsfeed…

How video appointments are changing the way Mayo Clinic patients receive care:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/champions/newsfeed-detail/?link_id=6872340

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I spoke to my NP at the Mayo in Jacksonville a couple of weeks ago via phone. She was helpful and hopefully with over the counter medication I will be okay until this pandemic is over. The medication has helped. I would need an endoscopy to tell what is going on for sure and she… like me thinks that right now it would be safer not to have one. Because I have lung scar tissue and I do not absorb nutrients as well I used to she told me not to go out in public unless I had to.

I had thumb arthroplasty tightrope surgery 24 January in my hometown.. which is Albany GA. We have been hit hard by covid-19…. 80 deaths since it hit our county and the highest per capita in our county. I think my first PT session was 3 weeks after surgery.. evaluation at 2 + weeks. I did 2 sessions a week. By the 5th visit I thought I was losing ground. Pinching motion hurt more and my thumb felt like it was catching. I saw my surgeon on the 10th of March. She said the pain was arthritis in the joint nearest my nail and the next joint was trigger thumb. She did an injection and it helped a lot. I am beginning to have this pain again and the catching sensation. I had two more PT sessions and had a bout of diverticulitis. .. because of the pain from the diverticulitis and the side effect of antibiotic I cancelled the next two sessions. My last PT session was 16 March. I cancelled the next sessions after talking to my NP at the Mayo Clinic.

Thumb PT is hands on. Patients are less than 6 feet apart and the therapist touching you. Then there are some things I noticed that were not disinfected between patient uses. Hands are put in a machine with a warm sawdust type material… is it safe? The therapist says the putty used is antimicrobial. .. but beads are placed inside it. Are they safe? I had just rather be safe. It may take longer for me to recover from the surgery. I have placed tiny buttons in play dough and pick them out and squeeze and twist the play dough for exercises and just stretching my hand.

I asked about some tele-health sessions… just for guidance on exercises to do. Medicare does not pay for them and I am told because of that secondary insurance does not either.

I did talk with the therapist about my thumb doing as it did before the injection. He suggested I use the thumb brace again. I am suppose to see the surgeon next Tuesday. I think if she is still seeing patients .. I will mask up and have hand sanitizer and make the visit. Just be as careful as I can.

Still Smiling despite all,
ZeeGee

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I received an email from Mayo Clinic on video appointments. The email gave a link to a YouTube video that describes an example scenario. In one of the comments under the video it mentions that they are using Zoom for the appointments but didn't mention it when the appointment was made.

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John,
I have had multiple video appts with Mayo and the you tube video really does not tell you how it works. It is to simplified. You definitely need ZOOM software to use. The PDF Mayo has with instructions explains better. I have attached file.

The 1st video appt. I had, the dr could not get ZOOM to work on his computer. The 2nd appt with different provider I had yesterday went better.

They are OK for quick check in. But for anything more in depth, I would prefer in person meeting.

Laurie

Shared files

video appt (video-appt-1.pdf)

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@roch

John,
I have had multiple video appts with Mayo and the you tube video really does not tell you how it works. It is to simplified. You definitely need ZOOM software to use. The PDF Mayo has with instructions explains better. I have attached file.

The 1st video appt. I had, the dr could not get ZOOM to work on his computer. The 2nd appt with different provider I had yesterday went better.

They are OK for quick check in. But for anything more in depth, I would prefer in person meeting.

Laurie

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Thanks Laurie! @roch

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I see nothing here about the fact that many people in the U.S. are not able to do this magical tele-doctor-thing!
We do not have high speed broadband computer access. Nope. many of us rural folks have very limited computer access. Kids
can't do homework, people can't "work from home", we are lucky to be able to simply read & write our emails, period.
We do have telephones, and can just talk to a dr. or nurse, but that's all.
So you people with all the fancy-schmancy devices and unlimited access are lucky, but remember not all of our country is hooked up!

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I will be having my first video appointment on May 19 with my doctor from the University of Michigan. I'm supposed to get a lot of support and somehow it will come through the My Chart patient portal. I must admit that I'm glad to not have to make the 50-minute drive to the U of Michigan. I just hope I can handle the technical stuff well enough to have the appointment.

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