Should Your Next Appointment Be Virtual or In-Person?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonessential medical appointments were canceled or rescheduled in order to prevent the spread of the virus from person to person in waiting rooms and treatment rooms. However, as the curve continues to flatten across the United States, you can expect to see a safe return to normal life soon. If you’re wondering about your next appointment, there are several options to help you see your doctor and continue to protect yourself and your family from coronavirus.
The first question you may ask yourself is: “Should my next appointment be virtual or in person?” There are several factors that may play into this decision. If you are sick or have been sick with cough or fever, it may be best to try a virtual visit to limit the potential spread of any illness. Additionally, if you, or someone you live with, falls into an immunocompromised demographic, such as the very young or very old, it may also be a good idea to stick with a virtual visit in order to continue practicing social distancing. Below are a few examples of what works best for each type of appointment.
Virtual visits work best for common conditions that can easily be identified and examined using your phone, tablet or computer camera and a few simple, at-home diagnostic tools, such as a thermometer. These may include:
- Common cold or allergies
- Ear infection
- Stomach aches
- Pink eye
- Urinary tract infections
- Behavioral health and mental well-being
- Medication adjustments or general health questions
In-office visits can be used to examine more complex issues that need further diagnostic testing. These may include:
- Bone, joint and muscular pain
- Neurological disorders
- Diagnostic lab testing
- Advanced care for chronic conditions
- Necessary preventative procedures, such as annual exams, colonoscopies, Pap smears, prostate exams or mammograms
Online or in-office, there are several ways to meet your medical needs via phone call, video chat or in-person examination with same-day, wait list and within seven-day options. These options include:
MyOchsner allows you to schedule an your next in-person appointment, change appointment times or view past and upcoming appointments. MyOchsner also gives you the opportunity to message your provider with questions 24/7, request prescription refills and check your test results.
Additionally, you can have a virtual visit with a primary or specialty care provider securely via your smartphone or tablet through the MyChart app. Virtual visits with the MyChart app give you the experience of your traditional office visit without ever leaving home or work. To learn more about if a virtual visit is right for you, contact your provider.
To set up a virtual visit with MyOchsner you’ll need:
- A mobile phone or tablet with iOS or Android operating system
- A front-facing camera
- The MyChart app installed and Ochsner Health selected as your healthcare provider
- You can find the MyChart app in the App Store (iPhone) and Google Play Store (Android).
Ochsner Anywhere Care Virtual Visits
Ochsner Anywhere Care connects you to a licensed healthcare provider on demand, with no appointment necessary, to help you start feeling better right away. Ochsner Anywhere care is available for urgent care needs, behavioral health and mild respiratory illness. You can enhance your Ochsner Anywhere Care virtual visits with a Tyto health kit that includes special adaptors for examining body temperature, heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, skin, mouth and throat.
If it is determined that a prescription is needed for your urgent care needs, you can have your prescriptions delivered to your house or office if your location is within a 20-mile radius of one of Ochsner’s 10 pharmacy locations.
Enroll in Ochsner Anywhere Care or download the Ochsner Anywhere Care app.
Pharmacy Curbside Pick-up
Ochsner has also offers curbside pick-up at many Ochsner Pharmacy locations. When you arrive at the pharmacy, just call and your pharmacist will bring your medications out to you. For a full list of locations offering curbside pick-up, click here.
Ochsner Digital Medicine helps patients manage their chronic conditions from home while staying connected to a dedicated care team. These include a Hypertension Digital Medicine Program and a Diabetes Digital Medicine Program.
- Hypertension Digital Medicine Program
Through the Hypertension Digital Medicine Program, your care team works with you to manage your high blood pressure through personalized medication and lifestyle changes. You measure your blood pressure using a digital blood pressure cuff and all reading are sent directly to your medical record where your care team can review.
- Diabetes Digital Medicine Program
The Diabetes Digital Medicine Program allows you to take blood sugar readings at home and get your test results sent in real-time you your care team. Your physician will know the results of your blood glucose reading when you do, allowing your physician, pharmacist and health coach to make real-time adjustments to your care as needed.
For more information on Ochsner’s Digital Medicine Program, click here.
If you have questions or concerns about your upcoming appointments, it’s best to reach out to your healthcare provider and discuss which options are the best fit for your needs. Your doctor can help you schedule any virtual visits necessary or prepare you for a safe and comfortable return to an in-office visit.