Back to Basics: Visiting your doctor

Visiting DoctorWith PacMed, you can see your doctor in person or get care without leaving the comfort of your home. PacMed offers phone visits, video visits and an online portal where patients can manage their care. These are all great ways to get the care you need while helping to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“We are using telehealth much more,” adds Dr. Katumu, “such as telephone consultations, the MyChart patient portal, and Zoom meetings in MyChart.” As always, patients can use MyChart to look for test results, request prescription refills, request appointments and send a message to their care team.

The benefits of virtual visits are clear. “They help reduce exposure in the COVID-19 pandemic and are also convenient,” says Dr. Simon Katumu, a primary care provider at the PacMed Puyallup clinic. “We’ve seen great benefits for our patients.”

Technology can be particularly useful for vulnerable populations. Dr. Katumu initially worried that older patients might not warm up to technology, but that hasn’t been the case. “They can do it, or they get assistance from someone in their family who is tech savvy. It hasn’t been much of a problem,” he adds.

Virtual visits do have limitations. “We can’t draw blood virtually. We can’t complete physical examinations like listen to hearts and lungs,” acknowledges Dr. Katumu. “So, it’s not a replacement for face-to-face care, but it is a great addition to our toolkit.”

Check with your insurance provider or Medicare about coverage for telehealth/virtual care. Many have waived many rules and limitations to accessing these services during the current health crisis.

Telehealth or virtual care refers to medical care (like office visits, psychotherapy, consultations and other services) that is provided by a health provider who isn’t at your location. Instead, you and the provider use an interactive, two-way telecommunications system (like real-time audio and video)