- Gregg M. Yamada, MD FACC
Telehealth: How to Use It. Why to Use It. (*Updated November 2020)
It is excellent that my (all) patients have been able to take advantage of Telehealth! Not all visits should be online and it is better to be seen in person. However, at this time, it is the best option for routine visits given the COVID-19 pandemic.
Equally impressive is how expertly everyone has been able to use Facetime, Zoom, Google Duo, HMSA online (even folks well into their 80s!).
Why didn't we do this before?
Telehealth visits were not allowed by Medicare or even private insurance prior to COVID-19 pandemic.
Telemedicine/Telehealth = using VIDEO and AUDIO (HMSA online care website, FaceTime, GoogleDuo, Zoom, WebEx) to communicate with their doctor.
The US government and the CDC, all hospitals, all healthcare systems, all insurance carriers, for the first time, are recommending online doctor visits.
You must have BOTH VIDEO and AUDIO.
Surpringly (!) Medicare and Private Insurance DOES NOT ALLOW a simple phone call.
If you do not know how to use a computer, navigate a website, use an iphone to FaceTime, be sure to ask your family or friends to assist you.
Not all of your visits will be online, nor should they, but all of my patients must have this as an option.
I suggest you purchase a simple Omron BP cuff. An apple watch or even Kardia are useful. Bp cuff ideas, click here. Heart monitors, click here. (Do not purchase a cardiac monitor without discussing with me, as it may not be needed)
Which Telehealth Platform(s) is/are the Best?
Zoom is probably the best platform and I recommend this above all others.
So long as you have a decent internet connection, ZOOM is my #1 choice.
In the future, my practice may be required to resume WebEx.
However, most patients (people) will find ZOOM to be easy to use and convenient.
#2 (Tie). FACETIME
If you have a Mac or Apple phone or Ipad, Facetime is a good back up platform.
Use your iphone or ipad to connect via Facetime.
How to Use Facetime click here (Article) or click here (Video)
#2 (Tie). GOOGLE DUO
If you use Android: LG, Sam Sung, Google phone--use Google Duo as a back up.
Download the DUO app on your PC or android device.
How to use Google DUO
Last Place: For HMSA Plans:
I advise my patients to avoid HMSA online unless there are no other options.
Go to HMSA ONLINE CARE website
Follow instructions, click here.
Watch the HMSA ONLINE CARE video