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CARE

The top eight questions about virtual visits

  • Most virtual visits cost the same as a traditional in-person office visit depending on insurance.

Virtual visits are a great way to get medical care without having to leave your home, saving you time and travel.

Virtual visits are in real time on a secure video connection with your own provider, or a provider of your choice. During the visit you will discuss your concerns with your provider, just like you would at a regular office visit. 

What is a virtual visit and for what types of medical care is it appropriate?

Virtual visits, also known as telehealth, offer you the convenience and flexibility to see your health care provider for routine care through a video conference call. During coronavirus, virtual visits offer one way to keep on track with your health care. All you need is a mobile device and the free Allina Health account app.

Can I see my own doctor?

In most cases, yes. Not all our providers are set up to do virtual visits, but more are adding them every week. Check with your clinic about the option to schedule a virtual visit.

What conditions can be treated through a virtual visit?

Virtual visits work best when a physical exam is not necessary. This includes:

  • follow-up visits, check ins and medication questions
  • health conditions such as bronchitis, cold and flu symptoms, coughs and sore throats, COVID-19 screening, diarrhea, fever, headaches, muscle strains and sprains, pink eye, respiratory infections, sinus infections, vomiting
  • medical management of prenatal care or chronic medical conditions like diabetes
  • mental health or counseling visits
  • new patient visits.

Your clinic may schedule a short call before your virtual visit to get a detailed medical history for your provider. This background information gives your provider the details necessary to make a diagnosis and recommend a follow up treatment plan.

How much does it cost? Will insurance cover a virtual visit?

Most virtual visits cost the same as a traditional in-person office visit depending on insurance.

What technology do I need for a virtual visit?

A smartphone or other mobile device like a tablet with broadband internet access. You’ll also need to  download the free Allina Health account app.

How will you check my vitals?

For years, many people with diabetes and other chronic health conditions have coordinated with their provider to collect regular health data such as blood pressure and blood glucose levels from home which results then transmitted to their doctor. Digital tools such as thermometers, spirometers (which check blood oxygen levels) and blood pressure cuffs can all be set up to transmit information to your provider without the need for an in-person clinic visit.

What about physical exams or lab tests?

Depending on the type of care you need, your provider may ask you to schedule an in-person visit for follow up for lab testing.

How can I prepare for a virtual visit?

I encourage my patients to prepare for a virtual visit like you would for any health care appointment by:

  • Writing down any questions or symptoms you want to talk about.
  • Having ready any recent home monitoring readings (e.g., blood pressure and blood glucose), and a list of the medications you take.
  • Testing your video streaming before your virtual visit.
  • Preparing to jot down notes during your visit.
  • Finding a quiet, private space for the call
  • Inviting someone else to sit in on the visit with you to jot down notes or ask questions.
 

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