Online or Virtual Appointments in the time of COVID-19

The Coronavirus has changed our lives forever. This can be a difficult and scary time for everyone. There are many things that we can avoid or limit, however the need for healthcare will not stop. As physicians we have to continue to adapt and find ways to provide medical care for patients in an efficient and safe manor.

Online or virtual appointments are not new to our practice as we have patients from all over the country and world. Online appointments have allowed patients to seek the care of specialists that are not located geographically near them. In a state such as Texas this can save patients hours of driving for their appointments. With the need for social distancing because of the Coronavirus we have extended virtual consultations and appointments to all of our patients. Including patients that live locally here in Austin, Texas. The Texas Medical association has also made changes recently to help make the use of Telemedicine or online appointments easier for physicians and patients. These changes will allow medical offices to provide more care and services via Telemedicine or virtual appointments then had been possible previously.

We are encouraging all of our patients to utilize the virtual/online appointments to limit the amount of patients physically in the office at any given time. This will help comply with the current recommendations of social distancing with still allowing us to provide the medical care that our patients need. Patients can do an online or virtual appointment and then if they need to be seen in the office that can be scheduled as well. As a surgery practice there are certain appointments that will need to be done in the office, however there are many questions and appointments that can be done safely and efficiently via an online/virtual appointment.

Patients can do initial consultations, follow-ups and other appointments via our app called Symplast. Many of our current patients already have the app on their phone and are able to utilize to communicate with our team. If patients don’t have the app they can still do online appointments or consultation with the use of their smartphone.

The process of online and virtual appointments consists of taking pictures of the areas that we need to discuss. The pictures can then be sent to the office via email or uploaded directly using their Symplast app on their phone. Once the pictures are uploaded or received patients will be scheduled as they would be if they were coming to the office. We will then be able to talk over FaceTime, Skype or Whatsapp. During the appointment we can discuss your procedure, concerns, limitations and restrictions. The same conversation we would have during your appointment in the office.

These online or virtual appointments will allow our office to continue to provide care for patients while still limiting the spread of COVID-19. It will allow social distancing as we are limiting the traffic through our office.

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