Thrive by IU Health

September 09, 2020

Healthcare at home with virtual visits

IU Health Bloomington Hospital

As the COVID-19 case number increases throughout Indiana, more and more Hoosiers are faced with questions about safety. IU Health is offering virtual visits to combat this problem so patients can meet virtually with their doctor or health provider to get quality care and to follow social distancing guidelines.

“Right now, we’ve been offering virtual visits to keep our patients safe and to reduce the number of people in the office,” said IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians Women’s Health provider Danielle Benedek, FNP-C.

Benedek sees about 20 patients online each day, and she said that patients tend to like the virtual format. Many of her patients are new moms, and they appreciate the fact that, since they can have a virtual visit from anywhere, they don’t have to pay for childcare.

“I like virtual visits for easy things like medical follow-ups because it is easier for the patient as they don’t have to travel here. I also like them for appointments for postpartum depression and anxiety because new moms might have anxiety about bringing their child into the office with them,” said Benedek.

These visits are especially useful for patients who would benefit from same-day care. Benedek mentioned she was recently able to fit one new mother into her schedule due to the versatility of a virtual visit.

“I was able to get her in to see us that same day, virtually. I was able to talk to her in her living room, breastfeeding her baby, and she didn’t have to leave the house, risk anyone’s health, or hassle with coming to the office,” said Benedek.

Even though virtual visits are mask-less, Benedek knows the importance of wearing a mask.
Even though virtual visits are mask-less, Benedek knows the importance of wearing a mask.

Benedek and other women’s health providers aren’t the only ones using virtual visits. Many other areas of IU Health, such as family medicine and mental health, are offering online visits.

Lindsay Potts, MSW, LCSW, manager of outpatient behavioral health services at IU Health Bloomington Hospital, reported that providers on her team are holding about 22 to 28 virtual visits a day. Like Benedek, Potts said most patients like the virtual visit format.

“Telehealth is easy, it is accessible, and it fits into your life,” said Potts.

Potts added that it did take some time for patients and providers to adjust to online visits, but most people ended up enjoying it because virtual visits require less time and can be accessed from home. Because of this, she believes most practices will continue to offer virtual visits post COVID-19.

“There was a bit of a learning curve, but now we will never go back, even after COVID-19. People now understand that ‘oh, I don’t have to take off half a day to attend therapy. I can take it during my lunch break,’” said Potts. “Virtual visits nestle into people’s lives in the way we want them to, and they are making a lot of people happy about how easy they are to access.”

Looking forward, Potts said she and the rest of IU Health will continue to work on making virtual visits even easier and more streamlined.

Potts knows the importance of masks during this pandemic.
Potts knows the importance of masks during this pandemic.

“We are going to keep getting better and more efficient at honing in on the efficiencies of virtual care. We will look at how to make telehealth more efficient for the provider and the patient,” said Potts.

Although virtual visits may feel strange at first, both Potts and Benedek said patients can access great care via telehealth and might even enjoy the ease of virtual visits.

“Virtual visits offer access to safe care in an unsafe environment,” said Benedek. “I was skeptical at first, but I ended up being shocked at how easy virtual visits have been and at how great the care you can provide virtually is.”

Patients interested in virtual visits can make an appointment online or by calling their health provider.

Related Services

Virtual Care: Annual Health Visit

Get the comprehensive care you need from the comfort of your own home. Qualifying patients receive access to expert providers virtually, through home -- care and in person.

Virtual Visits

Get the care you need without leaving your home. IU Health offers video and telehealth care for a broad spectrum of your healthcare needs.

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