Virtual Health Opportunities in 2021
When you hear the phrase “telehealth services” you might think of routine check-ups and initial consultations online. However, thanks to the amended practice standards in New Jersey, telehealth services now include a diverse range of medical practitioners.
Medical practitioners including audiologists, nurses, physical therapists, psychologists, and social workers are now able to see more patients, help more people, and provide a wider range of services via virtual healthcare than ever before.
Telehealth services have been hugely beneficial as we deal with COVID-19. For people who have mobility issues, are immuno-compromised, live far from their healthcare providers, or have other obligations that prevent them from visiting in-person, virtual healthcare can make their lives a little bit easier. Not surprisingly, the pandemic has increased the use of telehealth services by 4,347% from 2019 to 2020.
Virtual healthcare: what to expect
Virtual consultations take place in the comfort of your own room via two-way live video conference using a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Similar to how you’d use Skype or Zoom for a video chat with a friend or loved one, you’ll have a video chat with your healthcare provider, with added convenience and privacy. You may be sent a pre-visit survey to complete before your appointment, so be sure you’re prepared.
Using resident-based WiFi, you will communicate with your healthcare provider in exactly the same way as you would if you were face-to-face. If you plan to ask questions it may be helpful to prepare a list ahead of time so you don’t forget or run out of time. Although it may feel a bit strange speaking to your doctor through a computer, rest assured that they are listening to you the same as they would be in person.
During your appointment, remember to look into the camera and stay close to your device. Reduce disruptive background noise by turning off your radio, TV, and closing your door. Depending on the quality of the WiFi and the software you’re using, you may experience brief interruptions during your appointment, so be mindful that your doctor hears everything you’ve said.
If you need to be monitored, a wearable patch will be placed on you. It monitors your heart rate, respiratory rate, surface body temperature, and other vitals and sends an alarm to your doctor if any worrisome changes are detected. There’s even a fall prevention option that detects irregular movements during chair or bed exits.
Preparing for your virtual consultation at United Methodist Communities
Confirm that the device you will be using is charged and set up at eye level. Check the webcam and the speakers to ensure the doctor can hear and see you clearly. It also helps to choose a space with good lighting.
As with a regular doctor’s appointment, prepare by listing the concerns you want to discuss, any symptoms you have had to track, and the medicines you are currently taking. If you prefer to have another person present during your appointment, ask them to join you about 10 minutes ahead of your start time.
Telehealth services have made healthcare more accessible to thousands of people across New Jersey, and we predict it will only expand to include more services in the future. We look forward to seeing what the future of virtual healthcare looks like.
To learn more about how we’re using telehealth services in United Methodist Communities of New Jersey, or if you have any senior care questions, please contact our team today at: https://umcommunities.org/