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Virtual Health: Now You Can Get Medical Care From Your Home

April 16, 2020

As Connecticut enters the surge stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, with state officials urging residents to “Stay Safe, Stay Home,” Hartford HealthCare will now offer access to most of its primary care, specialty and behavioral health providers through virtual health technology.

More than 1,300 medical providers — including 550-plus primary care physicians, 750 specialists and 400 behavioral health providers — are available for virtual-health consultations.

If you’re scheduled for a regular, routine visit, check with your doctor’s office. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, for example, you can check in with your primary care physician. You can also get a follow-up or postoperative consultation with a speciality-care physician without leaving your home. Our Heart & Vascular Institute‘s electrophysiologists can even check your pacemaker or defibrillator during a virtual-health visit using the device’s remote-monitoring technology.

If you need mental health or addiction services, our Behavioral Health Network providers are available for a consultation, too.

All patients can still receive the medical attention they need, but we recommend avoiding healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic unless instructed by your physician. Patients who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms are referred to a testing facility by their virtual-health provider.

These virtual health visits are not a temporary service to our patients during the COVID-19 crisis. Hartford HealthCare believes this technology will become a vital component of American healthcare.

“Virtual health is the future of healthcare delivery in the United States and globally,” says Dr. Barry Stein, Hartford HealthCare’s Chief of Clinical Innovation.

Since the program started in mid-March, Hartford HealthCare providers already have completed more than 31,000 virtual visits and scheduled 20,000 more.

Virtual health, also known as telehealth or telemedicine, uses the same principles as a video chat with a friend or grandchildren.

Here’s what you’ll need if you’re a patient of a Hartford HealthCare Medical Group primary care physician or specialist:

  • An iPhone or Android phone, tablet or home computer.
  • MyChart, an app that provides online access to your electronic medical record.
  • Zoom, a popular video app that an enables a face-to-face visit with your doctor.

Once you’ve downloaded the MyChart and Zoom apps to your smart device, or signed up for both online with your computer, you’ll receive an appointment time in an email that also includes a link. Clicking on that link takes you to Zoom, where you’ll soon join your doctor for a consultation.

Eligibility: During the COVID-19 crisis, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group primary care physicians are only offering virtual health visits for established patients who are feeling ill. Specialists are offering virtual-health visits for both established patients (follow-up and postoperative) and new patients. Call your doctor’s office or, if you don’t have a Hartford HealthCare Medical Group doctor, call 1.855.300.6933 to find one near you.

Here’s what you’ll need if you’re a patient of the Behavioral Health Network:

  • An iPhone or Android phone, tablet or home computer.
  • The Zoom video app.

Eligibility: For a virtual-health visit, call your provider. New patients can schedule a visit by calling 1.888.984.2408.

Here’s what you’ll need if you’re a patient of St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport:

  • An iPhone or Android phone, tablet or home computer.
  • The Zoom video app.

Eligibility: St. Vincent’s Medical Center primary care physicians are offering virtual health visits for established patients (wellness exam and illness) and new patients. Specialists are also offering virtual health visits for established patients (follow-up and postoperative) and new patients. Call your doctor’s office or 1.855.300.6933 to find out if you’re eligible.

After the initial setup, you’re all set: You can schedule a visit with your doctor whenever needed.

“The beauty of virtual health,” says Dr. Mark Prete, Hartford HealthCare Senior Vice President and Hartford HealthCare Medical Group President, “is that we’re looking at the patient’s medical record and we can clearly see what their other medical problems are and the screening protocols that we think are very important for testing.”

It’s easy to confuse some of the symptoms of a cold or seasonal allergies with COVID-19. A virtual visit can help you get the proper care while also keeping you, your family and our frontline providers safe.

For more information about Hartford HealthCare virtual health visits, click here.

Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily.

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