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Sentara encourages telemedicine for patient safety

SoVaNow.com / April 01, 2020
More than 1,200 providers from Sentara Medical Group, including those afflilated with Sentara Halifax Regional Health, are now treating patients virtually to help keep them healthy, and at home, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sentara Healthcare has been offering telehealth visits through a Virtual Care Team since 2018. But now, to help decrease the spread of germs and promote social distancing, most Sentara Medical Group providers have now moved to video visits to treat patients without having them travel to their doctor’s office.

Since March 17, Sentara care teams have completed more than 10,500 telehealth appointments. Before March, the average number of visits each day was roughly 20. Now, the average number of daily visits is more than 2,000.

While many of these telehealth visits are patients with COVID-19 concerns, patients can engage in a telehealth visit for basic urgent care needs, medication refills, and chronic care needs with their PCP or Sentara Practice Partner. Patients are able to be clinically screened and accessed by their provider virtually and then connected with the appropriate care.

Telehealth visits offer additional benefits to patients in rural areas, those who have difficulty traveling, and those at higher risk for COVID-19. Patients across Virginia and North Carolina can take advantage of this option if they need medical care but do not want to travel, even if they are not an existing Sentara patient. Many insurance companies, including Optima Health, are waiving fees for COVID-19 treatment, so it could also be a free option for patients depending on their insurance.

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