BLACKFOOT, ID – March 26, 2020 – In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Bingham Healthcare (BH), and all of the healthcare providers at their associated clinics in East Idaho, are doing everything they can to provide high-quality and compassionate care while ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of their patients. In addition to in-person visits, they are also scheduling telehealth appointments, which allow patients to visit with their doctors from the comfort and safety of their own home.
Telehealth visits are secure online appointments to provide healthcare for those in need of medical care. This convenient service allows patients who have regularly scheduled appointments, and would rather not come into the office at this time, to talk with their provider over the phone or online.
“Telehealth appointments are our way of making sure that we are always here for our neighbors and community,” said Jake Erickson, CEO at BH. “We understand that patients still need to talk to their doctors about regular health issues that extend beyond COVID-19. So, we are here for you in every way we can be—in person and online. If you are unable to get in with your regular doctor, please know that all of the providers at Bingham are working and here for you.”
To reiterate, even though Bingham Healthcare is scheduling telehealth appointments for qualifying patients, Bingham Memorial Hospital and all of Bingham Healthcare’s clinics are still open and seeing patients in-person, too. All of Bingham Healthcare facilities and medical providers are considered essential and will remain open and available to anyone in need of any type of medical care.
For example, with a telehealth appointment, patients can talk to their doctor(s) online or over the phone about prescription refills, have their annual wellness exams conducted, as well as follow-up Ob-Gyn appointments, to name only a few. All of Bingham’s specialty providers, especially their primary care, dermatology, mental health, and women’s health, are prepared to interact with patients via a telehealth appointment.
“At Bingham, we understand the seriousness of COVID-19 and are taking every precaution we can to ensure the safety of our patients and employees,” said Mr. Erickson. “However, we also recognize the importance of striking a balance of treating every day medical issues to help our patients stay healthy during this unique period of time. Any fears about COVID-19 shouldn’t deter you from seeking other medical treatments, which could be more severe, and which is why I’m an advocate for telehealth visits.”
How a Telehealth Appointment Works
To have a virtual visit, a patient just needs to have a mobile device, tablet, or computer with a camera and internet connection.
Once the appointment is scheduled, a patient will receive a confirmation email or text message with step-by-step instructions.
A patient will then receive a telephone call from the provider’s office to read the patient a consent form and to confirm they have a camera or laptop with a camera and adequate internet coverage.
On the day of the visit, a patient can video chat with their provider. They will click on the link they’ve been sent and they’ll be moved to a virtual waiting room. From there, the patient can do anything they’d like at home while waiting. A notification will sound when the doctor is online and ready to speak with a patient.
Currently, most telehealth appointments can be scheduled as a same-day appointment, although this may change in the future. And, it’s important to note that if during a telehealth visit a doctor determines that a more thorough, in-person visit is required, a patient will not be charged for two visits; they will only be billed for one visit.
Even though the White House has authorized doctors and patients to interact temporarily over any online platform because of the emergent situation, BH has chosen a secure, and easy to use, online platform that is integrated with our Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. This way BH won’t have to change anything once hospitals and providers are required to begin using a secure platform again.
How to schedule a telehealth visit
Call your provider’s office for more information and with any questions you may have about scheduling a telehealth visit. The front office staff at BH is trained to set up telehealth appointments. If you do not have a Bingham provider, please call (208) 785-4100 to find one that meets your medical needs, or visit www.BighamMemorial.org/Find-a-Doctor.