Getting comfortable with Virtual Visits during COVID-19

Your primary care and specialty providers play an important role in keeping you healthy and well. They help prevent diseases by recognizing early warning signs, guide you on how to manage chronic conditions and diagnose and treat serious illness and injury.

But, during coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be reluctant to reach out to your providers. Maybe you’re worried that they are too busy with other patients, or maybe you are at high risk of complications from the virus and want to reduce your risk of exposure.

One easy and safe way to get the care you need – when you need it – is with telemedicine, also known as a Virtual Visit.

One easy and safe way to get the care you need – when you need it – is with telemedicine, also known as a Virtual Visit.

Virtual Visits give you the ability to connect with a provider without having to leave your home. And, thanks to easy-to-use technology and helpful assistants, it’s easier than ever. In fact, all you need is a smartphone or laptop.

What to expect when you schedule a Virtual Visit

We are now offering Virtual Visits across our system to meet your individual needs. Our providers are able to diagnose many conditions virtually by asking you very specific questions about your symptoms and paying attention to any movements that indicate sensitivity or pain. From there, they can advise as to whether or not you need to be seen in person or need additional testing.

In fact, one family received life-saving care for their daughter when a pediatrician was able to diagnose appendicitis during a telemedicine visit. She quickly sent them to Seattle Children’s Hospital for an emergency surgery.

A Virtual Visit may be a good fit for you if:

  • You or a family member have a mild illness or injury
  • You need a prescription refill
  • You are at high-risk of complications from COVID-19
  • You are meeting with a mental health professional

How Virtual Visits work

Virtual Visits are easier than ever. Depending on your need at the time, Providence offers two ways for you to conduct a Virtual Visit: 

  1. Want to continue established care? If you’d like to schedule a Virtual Visit with your regular primary/specialty care doctor or your mental health counselor, contact their office directly.
    • You can schedule a Virtual Visit in advance, just like a typical in-office visit.
    • You may see the same provider/team as usual.
    • You will use MyChart and Zoom videoconferencing technology; your provider’s office will send you a secure link and instructions prior to your appointment. A medical assistant can walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have in advance.
    • Your visit will maintain the same billing rate as in-office visits.
    • Learn more about what to expect on Providence’s Virtual Visit page
  2. Need care now? For issues that can’t wait and common conditions and concerns such as coughs and colds, sprains or allergies, you can use ExpressCare Virtual (not available in TX/NM).
    • You will receive care on-demand, typically within minutes.
    • You will see a board-certified provider.
    • Your ExpressCare Virtual Visits are covered by insurance; and without insurance, rates are as low as $49. Our secure digital platform will guide you through every step of the way – allowing you to connect using your preferred device.

        On mobile or tablet:

        Download on the AppStore         
        Download on Google Play

        Learn more about the Providence Health Connect app

        On a laptop or desktop computer:

        Visit our ExpressCare Virtual website.


Tips for making your Virtual Visit easy

  • Find a quiet, private space.
  • Have a list of questions and symptoms to discuss with your provider. Prepare to take notes during your discussion.
  • If necessary, have a family member sit with you to help remind you of questions and symptoms or to help your provider perform a hands-on physical exam when necessary.
  • Grab a thermometer and flashlight in case your provider asks for assistance.
  • Follow the preparation instructions provided and download the app ahead of time.
  • Try to be in a location with a stable internet connection. Once your appointment is over, don’t hesitate to follow-up with any questions. You can use the Health Connect app or MyChart to connect with your provider and health care team.

Regardless of which Virtual Visit type you use and which provider you see, you may rest assured that all visits are confidential and protected by HIPPA privacy laws. With more than a decade of experience in telehealth and conducting Virtual Visits, our team at Providence uses sophisticated, state-of-the-art technology to consult, diagnose and treat patients in real-time – no matter where they’re located.

Peace of mind with Virtual Visits

Even as COVID-19 cases around the country slowly start to decline (though some areas continue to see increases), Virtual Visits will continue to be a convenient and safe way for you to connect with your care provider.

You can get the immediate answers you need for a new injury or illness and know that you are effectively managing your health and chronic conditions. And, if your Virtual Visit provider recommends that you need to be seen in the office or in a nearby emergency department, you can be confident in coming in for care knowing that we’re taking all the necessary measures to keep you safe in our clinics and hospitals.

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Get relevant, up-to-date information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) from Providence.

If you need care, don’t delay. Learn more about your options.

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Find a doctor

If you feel unwell and would like to consult with your provider, Providence ExpressCare Virtual can help. Or you can use our provider directory or search for a doctor in your area.

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Virtual visits are on the rise with COVID19 as more people stay home. Find out how virtual care can connect you with the care and expertise you need – all from the comfort of home. #COVID19

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Body & Mind Team is dedicated to providing medically-sound, data-backed insights and advice on how to reach and maintain your optimal health through a mixture of exercise, mindfulness, preventative care and healthy living in general.

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