March 30, 2020 – Seeing a doctor without leaving the comfort of your home
is convenient any time of year. During the
coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it’s absolutely vital to public health and
safety. “Our goal is to give patients access to care as much as
possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine helps us achieve that
goal,” says Adam Brown, CMPE, director of Physician Practices at
Southeast Georgia Physician Associates.
Similar to Skype or FaceTime, a telemedicine video call allows health care
providers to see and speak to a patient outside of the doctor’s
office. The Health System uses the Doxy.me telehealth system. To participate,
a patient must have a good WiFi signal and access to a computer, smartphone
or tablet with a camera and microphone.
“While not all medical specialties are able to use telemedicine,
many routine sick, follow-up and well visits can be conducted this way.
We are increasing our telemedicine capabilities and using this technology
as much as possible during this pandemic. Our telehealth system is invaluable
to help us contain the spread of coronavirus and protect our community,”
The Health System first began using telemedicine in 2015, in partnership with the
Coastal Community Health network which includes Baptist Health in Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Other than having a virtual instead of an in person appointment, the interaction
between provider and patient remains the same. The Health System adheres
to strict protocols to protect patient privacy during video calls, and
health care providers document issues discussed during the video visit
just as they would during a regular office visit. Typically, the cost
of a video or telehealth visit is the same as an in-person visit. Some
insurance companies are waiving co-payments and co-insurance for telehealth
visits during the coronavirus outbreak. Patients may still receive a bill
for any balance due from their appointment.
Older adults are especially vulnerable to coronavirus but may not have
the necessary technology or knowledge to use telemedicine. “We urge
family, friends and neighbors to offer a helping hand to older adults
at this time. Our close-knit community always comes together during difficult
times and coronavirus is no exception,” Brown says.
To find out if your medical or health issue can be addressed with a telemedicine
video call, please contact your health care provider.