The Digital Doctor Is In: Healthcare Services You Can Access at Home

Posted on Apr 17, 2020 in Carousel, Innovation, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, We're Awesome

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Receiving sound medical advice is more important now than it’s ever been. Albert Chan, M.D., chief of digital patient experience at Sutter Health, shares how you can get advice and take action, all from your living room.

Dr. Chan answers questions from Sutter Health staff in the Q&A below.

Search Your Symptoms

Q: Google has reported a surge in searches related to COVID-19. Are search engines able to give results that can help real people get the counseling and care that they need right now?

Albert Chan, M.D., Sutter Health’s
chief of digital patient experience

A: Many people who develop a fever, shortness of breath, or cough right now may be concerned that they have COVID-19. While Google, WebMD and other online tools are good at providing general guidance, they can’t suggest concrete care options, because they aren’t connected to a group of medical providers.

Sutter Health’s online Symptom Checker is a little different. After entering your brief medical history and current symptoms, you will receive a personalized health assessment and can then enter your location to find nearby care options offered by the Sutter Health network.

Originally launched in February 2019, I see the Symptom Checker as a way to help patients decide whether to engage in self-care or to seek care, if they need an in-person appointment or a video visit, and if they need to be seen now or soon. These distinctions are incredibly apt as we face the COVID-19 outbreak, concurrent with flu and allergy seasons. I’m proud that the Symptom Checker has been updated to recognize a possible COVID-19 infection, and guide patients appropriately.

Turn to the Telephone

Q: Having a trusted source of information and the ability to talk through your symptoms is desperately needed right now — what is available to the public?

A: The public has a few options, one of which is the Sutter Health COVID-19 Advice Line at 1-866-961-2889.

Staffed by a team of nurses from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., seven days a week, every caller is screened for symptoms linked to coronavirus. Callers are then directed to the most appropriate level of care, including self-care at home for those with mild symptoms.

Please note: The COVID-19 Advice Line is intended for people who are ill or caring for someone who is ill. For general information about coronavirus, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. The COVID-19 Advice Line is not for emergency situations. If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.

Seeing is Believing

Q: Some things are hard to diagnose or make decisions about over the phone, what other options are available for patients?

A: Patients can get virtual care from their phone, tablet or computer through Sutter Video Visits. This video gives you a sense of the video visit experience.

We offer a couple of options:

Video visits are expanding to address many primary and specialty care needs. Patients can now call or message their care team via My Health Online to check the availability of video visit appointments with their clinicians.

If you have not yet enrolled in My Health Online, you can now sign up online.

We also offer same-day video visits with our Sutter Walk-In Care clinicians daily from 8 AM to 8 PM for common health issues. Patients can self-schedule a video visit appointment by logging into My Health Online or calling (800) 972-5547 for same-day appointments.

Currently we are conducting virtual assessment of respiratory symptoms daily, which provides both convenient access to care to patients at home and minimizes the risk of spreading illness to others. These video visits can also provide clinicians with the information necessary to decide if a patient ultimately needs to be seen in person at one of our clinics or the hospital.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit Sutter Health’s resources page.

Posted by on Apr 17, 2020 in Carousel, Innovation, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, We're Awesome | Comments Off on The Digital Doctor Is In: Healthcare Services You Can Access at Home