Marvin de Castro, MN NP
Accessibility to Healthcare using Virtual Technology
I can easily reflect on why the climate of healthcare is in disarray, and it is mainly attributed to difficulties in navigating the public health system. In can be quite confusing to know where to go because the system is constantly changing - for better or for worse, there has been a lack of consistency.
Let's take a look at an example…
Let's say you have a sore throat, fever, and have swollen tonsils, you probably need to get seen as you may possibly have strep throat! What would you normally do…
○ Family Clinic - if you are lucky enough to have a family provider, you can call the clinic (when it opens), and be seen, great right!? Well if you are even luckier, you may be seen the same day, but this is a rarity.. Typical wait times to see your family provider can take weeks.
○ Walk-in Clinic - Okay, so now walk-in clinics. Well the majority of walk-in clinics do not open past office hours 4-5pm, including family clinics. For the average worker, that time falls during working hours. So not a bad idea to wait a day and go first thing in the morning. Well, congratulations, you are in! But the downside is you are waiting to be seen.. Which can take between 30min to a few hours (hopefully!)… All the while, you have now increased your risk of acquiring some other illness such as influenza or the common cold simply by being in the waiting room. This sentiment is amplified if you plan to bring your kids with you. Not so great news.
○ Urgent Care Center (UCC)/ Emergency Dept (ED) - What about our new UCCs and EDs. If you have considered this, you are not alone. Many visits to our UCC and EDs are not necessary, because they are neither urgent, nor emergent, but they visit due to lack of accessibility. Expect to wait here, on average, more than 4 hours, especially if your issue is not actually "urgent/emergent"
The Virtual Visit with HomeHealth NP
You cannot find anyone these days who does not have a smartphone and a camera. More and more is technology being advanced in the application of medical care. I wrote a publication in the Journal of Nurse Practitioners in 2018, titled, Mobile Health Interventions for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, which highlights how technology can be used to improve health outcomes, simply by creating better accessibility.
Let's take a look at your sore throat again…
Virtual Care - you have used your smartphone to make a virtual visit with the provider. During the virtual visit, the provider can conduct a number of assessments, including: visual inspection of tonsils, if the patient has a thermometer can provide a live reading to the provider, can see if the patient is sweaty/clammy, can note if the patient is in discomfort. Combine this with the given history of present illness, and providers can make a formal diagnosis.
Just as you thought, you have strep throat! Now what…
Sending prescriptions - With technology, not only can the visit be conducted remotely, prescriptions can be sent directly to any pharmacy, and lab requisitions sent to any lab. Pharmacies also do home deliveries. So, literally, do not have to leave the comfort of your home!
Virtual Messaging - Also, have you ever been treated and do not remember the instructions provided to you? The provider can send you an attachment to outline other instructions to help with recovery - this way you do not forget, access it anytime. In addition, messages can be sent back/forth securely to the provider if there are any outstanding questions or concerns.
Home/Office Visits - Another great option, not typically offered by providers! We will talk about this topic in a future post!
How has your experience been with the healthcare system?
What do you think can be improved?
What are your thoughts on virtual technology?
Interested in booking a virtual visit with HomeHealth NP - go to Booking
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