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Your Healthy Family: How exactly does a virtual visit work?

Posted at 12:37 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 14:37:29-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — More than 700 UCHealth clinics are now offering Virtual Visits to allow patients to keep seeing their regular primary care and specialty providers while staying safe at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Katie Markley, senior medical director of UCHealth Ambulatory Services, said it’s critical for people with chronic health challenges to keep in touch with their medical providers. For all Virtual Visits [uchealth.org], if patients need face-to-face appointments, doctors will help them decide when and where to safely get care. “If there’s any uncertainty, we can always bring the patient in for care,” Markley said.

Nearly 100 primary care and specialty clinics have been offering virtual care for about a year and use of UCHealth’s Virtual Urgent Care [uchealth.org], which offers 24/7 care to anyone in Colorado, has grown exponentially during the pandemic.

“So, what has changed? The short answer is, everything,” said Dr. Chris Davis, UCHealth’s medical director for Virtual Health. “The demand for virtual care has absolutely exploded. We went from seeing about 20 visits a day to 260 – over a thousand percent increase in actual visit volume.”

As the coronavirus outbreak has worsened, UCHealth technology experts raced to provide patients access to as many medical providers as possible, adding the virtual option to hundreds of additional clinics in only a few weeks.

Markley said all primary care clinics are now using virtual visits. Existing patients can use online scheduling to set up Virtual Visits with their primary care providers. Log on to My Health Connection and stay connected with your medical team as we all endure the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s important for patients to remember that if they are experiencing a medical emergency, such as heart attack or stroke symptoms, or feel they need immediate care, they should call 911 or seek care at an emergency department or urgent care location.

“We have seen patients who have delayed care related to COVID-19. It could be because of fear of catching the disease right now. I assure Coloradans that if they have an emergent or urgent issue, it is safe to seek care. We have every precaution in place and are ready,” said Dr. Richard Zane, chief innovation officer for UCHealth and chair of emergency medicine for the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

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