May 21, 2020
Clinical Contributors to this Story
Magna Pastrano LLuberes, M.D. contributes to topics such as Internal Medicine.
Tommasina Papa-Rugino, M.D. contributes to topics such as Neurology.
By Kelly Raymond
COVID-19 has changed almost every aspect of our everyday lives; in many cases, the way we work, enjoy entertainment, exercise, and interact has been moved to virtual platforms.
Now, many doctors are joining in on the virtual revolution and making many services available through telemedicine. We’re here to guide you through what services are available and what to do next.
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is a convenient way to see your doctor through your phone, tablet or computer. These virtual visits can be used to address a variety of health concerns and manage chronic conditions.
“Telemedicine is an especially important tool during the current COVID-19 pandemic,” says Magna Pastrano Lluberes, M.D. “Virtual appointments allow us to identify potential COVID-19 patients while they are safely isolated at home, helping us to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Which types of visits can be conducted through Telemedicine?
A variety of health concerns can be addressed via telemedicine, however, your doctor will let you know if a virtual appointment is the best approach for your care. Some visits that may be conducted virtually are:
Primary Care/Urgent Care
To help manage the following health care needs:
- Minor cold and flu symptoms
- Prescription refills
- UTI treatment
- Sore throat
- Pink eye
To help manage care and identify the need for in-person visits:
- Behavioral Health
- Cancer Care
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- Surgical Consultations
Many other specialists are also offering virtual appointments. Talk to your doctor about whether or not a virtual appointment is right for you.
When do I need to come into the office?
Although telemedicine is a powerful tool that continues to expand its capabilities, it is important to know that not every medical visit can be completed virtually. Some examples include:
- Patients requiring an EKG or echocardiogram
- Women in their third trimester of pregnancy
- Newborn visits
- Pediatric well visits and vaccinations
If you do need to come into the office, increased infection prevention protocols have been put in place to ensure patient safety.
“For patients coming into our office, we have implemented new polices to ensure their safety,” Tommasina Papa-Rugino, M.D. says. “We no longer ask anyone to wait in the waiting room. Instead, we ask our patients to be masked, then call us from their car, when they arrive at our door, they are screened for COVID-19 and then escorted directly to an examination room.”
In addition, all physician practices and medical centers have adopted an even more rigorous cleaning schedule to ensure all patient areas are properly sanitized.
How do I make an appointment?
To make a telemedicine appointment, contact your physician’s office to schedule time with your provider. When it is time for your appointment, simply log in and talk to your doctor through your smartphone, tablet or computer.
For more information on telemedicine, visit hackensackmeridianhealth.org/covid19/telemedicine or speak to your physician.
Next Steps & Resources:
- Can I Use Telemedicine to Fill Behavioral Medications?
- Your Top 8 Questions About Telemedicine Answered
- When & How to Use Telemedicine if You’re Feeling Sick
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.