During the hight of the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020 we offered Telemedicine visits instead of in person visits to our patients. We learned quickly that for hernia conditions, an in person appointment that allows us to examine the hernia is essential to providing high quality hernia care. For this reason in September of 2020 we stopped offering telemedicine visits for initial consultations.
What is Telemedicine or Telehealth?
Telemedicine, often called telehealth, is a technology based medical appointment. Using solutions like Zoom, or other platforms, providers are able to establish or continue a relationship with patients. In most cases, a two-way video feed is set up to allow the patient and provider to interact face-to-face. Sometimes, patients prefer a telephone call, or internet connection may not support a video consult. Using the phone still allows providers to help answer patients’ questions, but when possible, a video consult is preferred. Telemedicine consults are often referred to as “virtual visits”.
Who can participate in a Telemedicine visit?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth was used on a more limited basis. While some states allow out of state visits with providers, many states have rules and regulations that restrict out of state visits. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians are qualified to perform these visits.
How can I schedule a Telemedicine Consultation?
At this time, we have migrated our practice of telemedicine appointments to postoperative visits only. We have discovered that there is no substitute to an in person visit in order to accurately diagnose a hernia and explain surgery repair options.
You can call the office at 617-466-3373 or fill out the form below.
We will call you back to let you know if your state allows us to do a telemedicine visit, then arrange a secure, two way meeting with you, using Zoom or another video conferencing platform. It will be a meeting just like a regular office visit.
If your state does not allow us to see you, we suggest using the Americas Hernia Society – Find a Surgeon Tool
Scroll down to learn more about our telemedicine services and contact us today:
What to expect from a virtual visit?
It’s a lot like an in-person visit with your provider, but you can do it from the comfort of your home or work. Your provider will set up a private space for them to work, and you should ensure that you have a private space to be in for the consult. If you want family members to participate in the visit, you can have them join you.
Typically the visit will go something like this:
- Your provider and you will be introduced, and some of your personal information will be confirmed.
- Your provider will let you know that they will be typing into your medical record during the visit.
- You will then tell the provider the reason for your visit in your own words.
- The provider may ask you clarifying questions, to better understand your condition – this part is very important because your story is the most important component of a virtual visit.
- The provider will often summarize your story, to make sure that they heard you correctly and have a good understanding of what is happening with you.
- Next, the provider may ask you to take your pulse, blood pressure (if you have a monitor at home), temperature
- Your provider may ask you to check part of your body for aches, swelling in order to mimic the physical exam that they would normally do. This part can also be very helpful to the visit, so find a private place to do this.
- Once all the information is collected by your provider, they will summarize your story again, together with the findings of your physical examination and provide you with the most likely diagnosis.
- If you require further treatment, like prescription medicine, the provider can prescribe to your pharmacy electronically.
- If you require an intervention like surgery, your provider will explain the procedure in detail. A short follow up visit prior to surgery will likely be required to confirm the indications of surgery.
- If you require physical therapy for a condition, you may be provided with a referral or instruction on some exercises you can do at home
How should you prepare for a visit?
Prepare your computer or phone 5-10 minutes ahead. Ideally you should be in a private room and wear headphones. Arrive to the visit a few minutes early to make sure your device is working well.
If you are seeing a new provider, you may want to prepare a list of your medical history using a form like this. Your provider will ask you questions about this information and it’s better if you have it prepared ahead of time.
Is a telehealth visit different from an in person visit?
From the scheduling and insurance standpoint, there are few if any differences. the office will need all of your insurance information and a referral, just like an in person office visit. Your insurance will be billed for the visit and you will be charged a co-pay for each visit. If you are out of network, you may be responsible for the cost of the entire visit.
The obvious advantage of these kids of visits, is that form most conditions, patients will have the same experience as an in person visit. For some conditions or people, an in person follow up will be required. Advantages include: Doing a consult from home or work, not missing work, less childcare requirements, more flexible schedule, lots of face to face time with the provider.
Lauren Ott, PA-C is a hernia and pilonidal expert and is offering telemedicine consultations. Dr. Michael Reinhorn is a hernia surgeon and pilonidal expert, and has been offering telehealth second opinions using the 2nd.md telehealth platform since 2014. Both of our providers are proficient with the technology and have expertise that can be used to help many people remotely. We treat conditions such as: inguinal hernia, umbilical hernia, epigastric hernia, pilonidal cyst and pilonidal sinus.