Contributed by Skagit Regional Health | Fall/Winter, 2020
Skagit Regional Health Launches New Telemedicine Program
Skagit Regional Health providers and clinics are offering new ways to keep up with patient needs for care by launching a new telemedicine program. These MyChart Video Visits mean appointments are available from the comfort and safety of a patient’s home.
MyChart Video Visits is a new service at Skagit Regional Health, launched to provide patients with options as the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the region. The service offers clinical visits with the expert healthcare providers patients know and trust.
Improved Access to Healthcare
“MyChart Video Visits are a form of telemedicine that improves access to healthcare and also provides an element of safety for patient distancing,” said Rheumatologist Kevin Welk, MD. “Video visits provide the convenience and comfort of having medical care within a person’s own home.”
With MyChart Video Visits, patients can meet with their primary care provider and many of Skagit Regional Health’s specialists over video chat, from nearly anywhere. Patients can use a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. They just need stable internet connectivity and a web camera that is enabled during the visit.
“It’s a great way to visit your doctor without leaving work,” said Jennifer Benson, MD, a Family Medicine provider in Mount Vernon. “You could schedule a visit on a lunch break or between meetings. It might be great for someone who doesn’t have transportation right now or if you’re home with kids and can’t get a babysitter.”
Many patients travel a great distance to meet with a specialist and may have to navigate ferry schedules or other challenges.
Challenges of Travel
“We get patients who drive 20, 30, sometimes 40 miles to meet with a specialist,” said Electrophysiologist Ramy Hanna, MD, who practices at Skagit Regional Health-Cardiology. “For those folks, this has really transformed their way of thinking about doctor visits. They can have basically all of the same benefits of coming into the clinic without ever leaving their living room or their home office.”
“For patients who are already established, I can provide almost the same, if not the same level of care as if they were in person,” added Orthopedic Surgeon Christopher Sheu, MD. “I’ve been able to do shoulder, hip and knee exams. Those types of visits, I think, are a little more efficient using the MyChart Video Visit platform.”
MyChart Video Visits are great for discussing ongoing medical problems or new symptoms and can be a convenient way to manage ongoing chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Providers can formulate a plan for patients during a MyChart Video Visit and schedule any necessary follow ups.
“It’s surprising how much you can manage or take care of over a video visit,” said Dr. Benson. “There is a lot we can do by just watching a patient and listening to them talk.”
Request a MyChart Video Visit
Patients can request a MyChart Video Visit by calling their provider’s office directly or calling the Patient Resource Center at 360-428-2500. Patients can also request a MyChart Video Visit directly from inside their MyChart patient portal account.
“As long as a patient is set up through MyChart, it’s extremely easy,” said Dr. Sheu. “It’s literally just clicking a button and everything pops up automatically.”
“It seems to work really well,” added Dr. Welk. “It’s an appointment, just like every other appointment and it seems to have, for a lot of patients, been a really positive experience.”
If you do not have a MyChart account, you can request one at SkagitRegionalHealth.org/MyChart.