Our practice was fortunate in that we had started HIPPA compliant Virtual Visits long before COVID-19. While it is not the most ideal way to conduct medical visits for some types of issues, for many it can take the place of in-person appointment. Virtual Medical Visits are made more challenging when you do not know the patient. When you know a patient’s baseline (their normal healthy baseline) you are much more likely to know just how sick they are when seen. It also helps fill in many of the gaps that a Virtual Medical Visit can miss. If you do not know their expression, appearance, voice, gestures, intonations and then you are only seeing a patient from the (usual) waist up view, this can cut out some useful diagnostic data. This can make a provider concentrate on a part of the visit that is known to be your “normal” and be concerned it is an abnormal, or not realize the “normal” is actually abnormal for you.
So, what can be addressed? Examples on our Primary Care side for established patients: uncomplicated colds with no shortness of breath or high fevers, urinary tract infections that are not recurrent and also without a fever, mental health follow up appointments, minor injuries, some skin lesions, lab test review, some types of medication refills, allergies, back pain without any illness. On our Functional Medicine side: Either the Initial Consult OR a follow up appointment (at least one needs to be an eventual in-person visit for a thorough evaluation). Functional Nutrition Consults. Wellness Coach Visits. On our Travel Medicine side – patients that are established but have a new trip itinerary requiring no vaccinations. Again, being established with a provider that knows “you” can make a Virtual Medical Visit a safe and alternative mean of providing quality care for many health care complaints.