More in Community Voices:
By Dr. Christine Braid–
Maintaining social distance amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult, as isolation can breed fear and depression. As a result, the nature of healthcare delivery is shifting and virtual visits with physicians are playing a more critical role than ever.
Over the past month, virtual visits have presented physicians an opportunity to safely and easily connect with patients in Citrus Heights. Virtual Visits are available to new and existing patients who are seeking primary and specialty care and allows them to receive convenient, high-quality care when needed, no matter their location.
Functioning much like a Zoom call, a virtual visit uses live, secure, HIPAA-compliant video technology and patients can directly see and speak with their physician through their mobile device, tablet or computer. During a visit, physicians can provide a treatment plan just as they would in an in-person appointment, including prescribing medication and requesting follow-up care.
I’ve been conducting virtual visits with my patients for the past year-and-a-half, and up until now these were mostly done after hours or on weekends, to provide access for patients outside of regular office hours. However, increased access and knowledge of virtual visits, especially in a time where many are opting to stay home, has helped to make this a preferred method for patient treatment during this pandemic.
One of my patients was recently struggling with social distancing and isolation and contacted me through a virtual visit. I was able to discuss the patient’s concerns, share educational documents, refer continued treatment, prescribe medication through a pharmacy, and email documents for records, all with the click of a button.
Most importantly, when our video connected, the patient cried and said, “I’m so happy to see your face! I feel better already!” By the time our session ended, the patient was laughing and smiling from ear to ear.
Seeing a familiar face or hearing a warm voice is priceless, not only for our patients but for us clinicians. This tool can be life-saving, and has the potential to positively impact an entire population.
I’m happy to say that even as we navigate social distancing in patient care, we can continue to make human connections with our patients.
Dr. Christine Braid of Dignity Health Mercy Medical Group in Citrus Heights has worked as a physician in Family Medicine for over 17 years.
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