Telemedicine: Online Doctor Visits
Telemedicine can be an important tool to keep you healthy, particularly while the coronavirus pandemic is not allowing for in-person medical visits in many circumstances.
Telemedicine, however, cannot be used in all instances. Your provider can guide you on which conditions or issues can be addressed via telemedicine.
What Happens at a Telemedicine Visit
Before Your Appointment
- When you schedule your telehealth visit, you will be asked to provide billing and insurance information as you would in an in-person visit.
- After you make your appointment, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for your visit. It will include a Zoom link and a 9-digit access code. Please see How to Connect to learn more about how to set up your Zoom connection before your appointment.
At Your Appointment
At the beginning of your appointment, you may be in a "waiting room," until your provider begins the visit. This is part of Zoom's additional security for telehealth appointments.
The appointments are the same structure as a routine appointment, except you don't have to be in the same room as your doctor. Through a telehealth visit, a doctor can do a medication check, review test results, evaluate how a treatment or therapy is working and see how you are breathing or moving, for example.
If a prescription is needed, a provider can place an order electronically and send it to your pharmacy for pick-up.
Privacy and Security
All UM SJMC telehealth visits use sanctioned Zoom accounts. These accounts include stricter security measures than other Zoom accounts.
Recent concerns have surfaced in the news about Zoom, but please be assured that we have investigated these concerns and taken steps to protect your privacy by using only the sanctioned telehealth accounts and by adding the waiting room feature.
This means that you'll receive a notification when your visit is scheduled to begin that says you are in the "waiting room." Your doctor or provider will confirm that the correct person, you, is in the "room" for the appointment and begin the appointment at that time. Think of this feature in the same way that you show your identification when you check in for an in-person appointment.
Billing and Payments
Telemedicine visits are billed similarly to an in-office visit. There is no additional cost to having your appointment by telehealth instead of in-person. As with your regular doctor's office, telehealth is covered by almost all major insurance carriers during the COVID19 pandemic.
Many insurance companies have waived member's responsibilities during this time. Check with your insurance provider for details about your coverage.
Your provider's office will submit your bill to your insurance like they would for a normal office visit. UM SJMC will not collect a copay up front during this time.