ST. LOUIS – Telemedicine and virtual care have quickly become important tools in caring for patients while they stay safe at home.
Initially, virtual care treated common illnesses such as sinus infections, common colds and coughs, and routine care. But during COVID-19, it has expanded to treat patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, bladder infections, allergies, anxiety and depression follow-up visits, and much more.
Dr. Kristina Anderson, a family medicine physician with SSM Health Medical Group in Affton, says her patients have quickly adapted to receiving care during quarantine via telehealth. And insurance companies are also catching up to pay for these visits.
“This new change is, hopefully, for the better for everybody,” she said. “It allows us a lot more access and flexibility for patients to get the services they need while keeping them safe.”
Dr. Anderson says it’s as simple as using your phone, smartphone, or laptop with a shared link via SSM Health My Chart system to enable video. And she feels confident that she and her patients can discuss symptoms, medications, and diagnoses to bridge the gap of follow up services before patients need a hands-on follow up for lung or heart exams.
“We hope to see an increase of long-term availability for telehealth,” she said. “It feels like we’re finally living in 2020 by aggressively taking advantage of communication and the technology as it advances.”
“Everyone I’ve done a telehealth visit with has been really positive. They really like they can still me face to face and have that relationship continue. We are still taking careful precautions for those that need to come in, but for those who can schedule a virtual visit, they like that feel protected and can catch up face to face at a later date.”
If you would like more information about SSM Health Virtual Visits, click here.