Imagine not having to travel far to see a doctor? As an option to traditional medical clinic visits, Telehealth services are real time, remote, face-to-face health care video interactions to access, diagnose and treat patients’ conditions.
What it is
TeleHealth provides patients the ability to have a visit with a provider who is in a different location. These visits are usually real-time audio/visual encounters where the provider and patient can interact like they would if they were in the same room.
Technology, such as computers, cameras, smart devices, and mobile carts are used to connect the patient to the remote provider. Some of these services may be through your doctor’s office, hospital, local TeleHealth offers patients several advantages over traditional care:
- Shorter wait for care: With the addition of TeleHealth appointments, we offer faster access to a variety of specialists for complex patients (heart, stroke) and for conditions (mental health) where the need is great and there is a physician shortage.
- Convenience: Patients can receive expert care delivered close to home in a familiar environment, including care in the home or at patients’ place of business. Less travel time is also easier on the patient’s family and support system.
- Cost to patient: The costs for TeleHealth visits are similar to traditional medical appointments and are usually covered by medical insurance.
What to expect
Although each service may have unique features, Allina Health TeleHealth visits follow the same general process. Prior to or during the appointment, our providers have access to a patient’s medical history, lab and other test results through the use of secure technology. Once connected via technology, patients and providers can also see each other on monitors or smart devices and talk to each other as they would in a traditional office visit.
For specialty consultations, our providers work with each patient’s personal physician and clinical team so any changes or recommendations made during these appointments are then part of their care plan.
Good to know
TeleHealth services provided at Allina Health include:
- Cancer genetic counseling — This service provides individual cancer risk assessment and a management plan based on personal and family history. If indicated, our experts can also facilitate informed choices about genetic testing. Learn more about genetic counseling.
- Mental health assessment and referrals — In emergency departments at regional hospitals or affiliate sites with TeleHealth technology, licensed mental health experts provide comprehensive risk assessments and disposition planning, leading to better outcomes for patients. This is a service only available for medical staff to request for appropriate situations. Learn more about mental health assessments and referrals.
- Primary care virtual visits — A virtual visit allows you to connect online and talk face-to-face with your primary care provider. Instead of travelling to the clinic for your next visit, you can now use a secure video connection from the convenience of home or work using the Allina Health account app on your phone or tablet. Learn more about Virtual Visits.
- TeleHeart — Outpatient heart consultations are available through our partnerships with leading cardiovascular specialists at The Minnesota Heart Institute®. Patients experience shorter wait times and the convenience of expert care close to home at a growing number of sites. Learn more about TeleHeart.
- Telehospitalist — Telehospitalist service lets you see and talk with a hospitalist (doctor at a hospital) through an audio and video connection. This service gives you quick access to a specially trained doctor without needing to travel.
- Telepsychiatry — Telepsychiatry allows you to see and talk with a psychiatrist through an audio and video connection. The service is like a regular mental health visit, only you see the psychiatrist on a monitor.
- TeleStroke — Doctors and patients in regional hospitals are able to see and interact virtually with our Allina Health on-call neurologist to quickly ascertain whether the patient is experiencing a stroke. This is a service only available for medical staff to request for appropriate situations. Learn more about TeleStroke.
- Weight Management — You may choose a virtual visit for many dietitian, physician assistant and nurse practitioner visits (after weight management surgery; some medical weight management visits). It's convenient, private, there's no travel time and the cost is usually the same as an office visit (check with your insurance company). Learn more about Allina Health Weight Management.
For more information on any of these services, please contact AllinaTelehealth@allina.com.
Source: Allina Health TeleHealth
Reviewed by: Paula Maidl
Last reviewed: 1/23/2020