WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — It’s been a service of United Regional Physician Group for a couple years now, but COVID-19 has amped up its popularity: telemedicine, a virtual visit to the doctor’s office.
URPG officials said it’s easy and convenient even for those who might not consider themselves tech savvy.
“It’s the one opportunity for me to talk to patients right now without a mask,” OBGYN at URPG Dr. Maxine Lingurar said.
We use cameras quite often, whether it’s to take a picture of the kiddos, or snap a photo of your grocery list on the way out the door, but it’s not every day you visit your doctor through a screen.
Thanks to COVID-19, that’s become the norm for many.
“We’ve been doing telemedicine for about two years, we were only doing it in a few of our pracitices, so we were doing it on a small scale, and in march we just kind of ripped the band-aid and we went live everywhere,” URPG Director of Primary Care & Subspecialty Maria Avalos said.
“People weren’t really aware of this option before; they didn’t really know that having a telemedicine visit is something they could ask for,” Lingurar said.
Many of Lingurar’s patients are mothers or working women who have found virtual visits best fit their schedule.
“What I’m using it for primarily is things where people want to talk about hormone therapy and where people want to talk about birth control options because there’s a lot of counseling and teaching in that,” Lingurar said.
“We’ve seen a really positive reaction from the majority of our patients for telemedicine, we understand that it’s not everybody’s cup of tea but a lot of our patients really love the convenience of it,” Avalos said. “We have patients tell us through their comments you know ‘I’m doing this visit from my couch in my pajamas, this is so convenient, I don’t want to go back to in-office visits.”
It’s all up to the patient’s level of comfort. Patients can do a telemedicine call with just audio or Lingurar’s preferred method of a video call.
“Especially if I’m meeting someone for the first time, it’s really good to be able to see their face and for them to be able to see my face,” Lingurar said.
United Regional Health Care System officials said it’s very safe and easy to use, but if someone is hesitant to try it out, a service called MyChart Connection can serve as a guide.
“We can actually help them set up an account, teach them how to use the app and also do a test video visit with the patient that way when they have a visit with the physician, they feel comfortable and they know what steps they need to follow,” Avalos said.
At the click of a button, it’s a modern way to take care of one’s health for those who aren’t ready to return to in-person visits just yet.
The MyChart Connection service also has an app for both Apple and Android devices.
Click here for more details about telemedicine at URPG.