Thousands of Westchester residents are hopping on this new healthcare trend. Will you?
As people stay home to stay safe, virtual healthcare has exploded, providing a new and convenient way for patients to visit their doctors. Thousands of White Plains Hospital patients have already connected with their physicians for a variety of medical issues through the Hospital’s new virtual health platform, called White Plains Hospital Connect.
The basic technology behind virtual health, videoconferencing, is certainly nothing new. But the rules and regulations governing the use of the videoconferencing and other technologies in healthcare (also referred to as telemedicine) as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation are new and unchartered. This has allowed medical facilities to launch their virtual health programs faster than ever imaged, says Dr. Zsolt Kulcsar, Chief of Rheumatology, and the Physician Lead of Virtual Health Services at White Plains Hospital.
Patients are now able to schedule video consultations with their doctors in internal medicine, oncology, pediatrics, gastroenterology, cardiology, pulmonology, orthopedics, and many other specialties. To schedule, patients simply call their provider’s office and request a virtual care visit. They are given an appointment day and time, and instructions on how to download the application to access their virtual session.
What’s a virtual healthcare visit like?
“I’m sitting in my office talking face-to-face with my patient on one screen, next to another screen with full access to my patient’s medical record,” says Dr. Kulcsar. “We are able to have a ‘face-to-face’ conversation, just like we would if we were in an exam room together, except they are in their living room or at their kitchen table. It is still just as personal, and I am able to do most of what I would do in person.”
No, nurses and medical assistants are not there to take blood pressure and temperature per usual, but patients with their own equipment can easily self-check their own vitals and provide to their physician to record.
“We talk about their medicines, any side effects they may be experiencing, and I can even coach a patient through their own self-exam by guiding them on moving their arm, making a fist, palpating joints, and actually eliciting from them what I would during an in-person exam,” Dr. Kulcsar adds.
As many of his patients are immune-compromised and anxious about leaving their homes at this time, the virtual visits are a huge comfort and relief. When blood work, images or additional testing is needed, he will consider whether it can be pushed off a few more weeks when exposure risk is lower.
“Many different conditions can easily be treated through a video visit,” Dr. Kulcsar says. “For instance, most patients understand that the symptoms of a urinary tract infection are burning, itching and pain. We can go ahead and treat that fairly comfortably, and buy the patient some time to come in for a follow up in a few weeks. The virtual doctor visit allows them to avoid having to drive in and sit in a waiting room with other patients.”
To schedule a virtual healthcare appointment, call your WP Hospital Physician Associates or Scarsdale Medical Group provider's office. You can also call 914-235-8224 if you need help finding the right provider for your needs. Learn more about WPH Connect virtual health including instructions for download, FAQs and helpful tips.