March 30, 2020
Many Sky Lakes Primary Care Clinic and Cascades East Family Practice Clinic patients will now be able to visit their provider without actually going to the clinic thanks to “televisits.”
Using a special application on their smart phone or camera-equipped computer or tablet, patients can interact with providers for a variety of medical needs. Providers are able to see patients and their medical history on side-by-side computer monitors.
“These interviews are very similar to what we’d do in the clinic,” said Grant Niskanen, MD, a family practice physician and a Sky Lakes vice president. “We can judge their alertness, their respiration, apply diagnostic skills based on responses to questions, and provide education.
“The only thing we can’t do is a physical exam.”
Sky Lakes and Cascades East have been preparing for televisits, and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the program. “There is an increasing need not only for physical separation but also the ability to see more patients, especially those who are at higher risk,” Niskanen said.
Patients can call their provider to find out if a televisit is appropriate. Televisit appointments, including “well visit” appointments, can often be done the same day they are requested, and are covered by insurance.