The Challenge of Our Day ... Telemedicine Solutions
Isolation is difficult. Yet for older Americans or those with chronic health problems, risks may be too high to take chances! We’re all doing what we can with a very difficult situation, being forced to make decisions at first, without reliable data.
At Northlake Urology we made changes early on, recommending common-sense measures in hopes of avoiding the Wuhan coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), otherwise known as COVID-19. Physical distancing, avoiding the vicinity of ill individuals, avoiding handshakes, avoiding fomites (door handles, faucet handles), avoiding hand contact with the eyes, nose and face, regular hand washing (with soap), use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and many others were recommended.
We've all taking the recommended precautions, but no precaution is perfect. Physical isolation may be a necessity, but medical isolation is not!
At Northlake Urology we use TELEHEALTH (aka. telemedicine) methods that allow high-risk patients (or any patient) to visit with our doctors form the safety of home. You need only a cell phone, tablet or computer. Communicate with your urologist by your choice of audiovisual, audio only or even secure text messaging.
Lab, x-rays and medical documents, pictures or video may be transmitted from us to you (and vice versa) using SMS or MMS text messaging or even email, while you talk with your doctor about medical issues. The process is very straight forward. You need no special equipment and you do not need any special app. If you can send a text message (or even just talk on the phone) you have all you need. We prescribe and refill medications, review and discuss test results and (if you prefer) perform a visual exam via video or still pictures.
You'll find this service convenient, effective and above all, a very safe alternative to potential healthcare exposure risks. Urology telehealth will never replace all face-to-face physician visits, but under the circumstances this is a very reasonable alternative.
In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Medicare and most insurance providers signify that they do now cover telehealth services. The President has ordered this critically needed telemedicine coverage via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Further, the US Department of Health (HHS) has relaxed HIPAA enforcement in hopes of easing access to medical care for patients who may not have high-tech capabilities. Diligent privacy protections are correspondingly in place, of course.
Typical co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles still generally apply to telehealth services, but payments can be collected over the telephone or computer. Call us at (985) 345-5500 or book your TELEHEALTH appointment online here.
Of course, we continue to see patients live and in person in our Mandeville office! However, our patient appointment schedules have been altered to accommodate physical distancing. While we do not treat coronavirus patients per se, we do now schedule longer time spans for each patient appointment. This allows each patient a relaxed visit with more time to get in and out of our medical facilities, ideally avoiding the proximity of others as much as possible.
We ask that patients not arrive early for appointments and we also request that family members not accompany the patient to the office, unless necessary. Gone are the typical doctor's office magazines and the like. Hand sanitizer, disposable towels and gloves are provided where indicated and all surfaces are sanitized on schedule.
For anyone who should develop fever, cough or difficulty breathing during this outbreak, call your doctor rather than simply appearing at the doctor's office unannounced. Viral testing is ongoing at sites throughout Louisiana. Avoiding the doctor's office may spare other patients from contracting the illness. Your doctor may advise you where to go, what to do and how to be tested. if you think you may be ill, wearing a face mask and isolating yourself from others is indicated. Yet, higher fever or breathing difficulty would certainly require hospital emergency evaluation.
If an active COVID-19 viral infection (or known exposure) is confirmed, doctors might recommend a medication like hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) or potentially the non-prescription herbal medicine quercetin. Research continues to evaluate these and other medications potentially to be used as treatment or even as prophylaxis (early treatment or prevention).
A vaccine is obviously needed, in addition to effective antiviral drugs. However, until we have proven vaccines (or so-called heard immunity), avoiding exposure is the only way of effectively combating this viral illness.
Over the last month or so, information has come to light indicating possible overreach in our nations legitimate efforts to curtail the ill effects of the viral epidemic. The early models do not seem to have been correct. Have authorities honestly looked at all of the epidemiological science? Have we gone too far? In the current politically charged environment, are alternative perspectives being censured?
The answers are not fully in, but one day this episode in our nations history will be behind us. When we look back upon 2020, how will our decisions be judged?
At Northlake Urology we have a very cautious but very optimistic outlook. Americans will and all of humanity must .. pull together to defeat this viral nemesis. May God bless our efforts and see us through!
Taking care of your urology health ..
even in under challenging circumstances
We accept most health insurance, healthshare ministry arrangements, Medicare or discount direct cash-payments for in-office visits and telehealth consultations.