The number of people using telemedicine has surged since COVID-19. Even though it's safe to see your doctor in person, many people still prefer video visits.
Seeing your internist via telehealth is both easy and convenient.
You can schedule a video visit for many problems. If your doctor needs to see you in the office, you can always make a follow-up in-person visit.
About Internal Medicine Telehealth Services
Telemedicine provides face-to-face interaction with your doctor via a cell phone, tablet, or computer.
Whether you're a new patient or an established one, you can use telehealth to see your internist.
By asking questions and visually examining you, your doctor can both diagnose and treat you.
During an internal medicine video visit, your doctor can:
- Get to know you (if you're a new patient).
- Ask about your medical history.
- Answer any questions you may have.
- Order any tests.
- Discuss your labs or other test results.
- Check out skin-related issues (such as rashes and infections).
- Assess swelling or problems in other areas of your body.
- Conduct a follow-up appointment after a procedure or hospital stay.
- Prescribe medicine.
- Review how your current prescribed drugs are working or problems you have.
- Refer you to a specialist.
- Call ahead to streamline your arrival at urgent care or emergency room (if they feel you need to go).
Benefits of Internal Medicine Telehealth Visits
If you haven't tried telemedicine yet, here are just a few of the pros.
- It's easy to log in. All you need is a smartphone or tablet, or computer with a webcam and an internet connection. You'll need to use one of UPMC's free patient portal apps.
- You can avoid the waiting room. You don't have to worry about potential exposures to other people who may be sick.
- It's more efficient. Get chores done or keep working while you wait for your provider to join. Schedule on your lunch hour and save time by not having to drive anywhere.
- You can better stay on top of your health. People often put off going to the doctor because they don't feel sick or "have time." Telehealth removes this inconvenience.
- It's always a valuable use of time. Even if your doctor ends up needing to see you in person, you haven't wasted time. The facts you shared will only help make the office visit more efficient.
Who's a Candidate for an Internal Medicine Video Visit?
Almost any adult can use telemedicine services to connect with their UPMC internist. You can schedule video visits for your child via pediatrics or primary care. Video visits are not an option if you're:
- A non-Medicare patient who needs a yearly physical. Most insurance companies don't allow telehealth for the annual exam. (Note if you have Medicare you can use telemedicine for your yearly wellness visit.)
- Having chest pain, shortness of breath, or other heart attack symptoms. You need to call 911 or go the nearest ER right away.
What to Expect During Your Video Visit
Seeing a doctor via telemedicine isn't much different than seeing one in the office. They allow the same amount of time for a video visit as they do for an in-person one.
First, you'll join the visit and wait for the doctor to join. Doctors do their best to run on time, but just like in the office, they can run late. If for any reason that you need to contact the office, it's important to remain in the appointment.
If you can check your weight and blood pressure ahead of time, do that. That's helpful information for your doctor to have.
Then, your doctor will ask you what brings you “in" today.
They may ask you to:
- Hold the screen close to a part of your body (and move into an area with more light if needed).
- Move in a certain way to see if it causes pain.
- Push on an area to assess swelling or a potential injury.
- Have your medications so you can look at them together.