Doctor’s visits at Sentara go high-tech with Virtual Visits

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Doctors visits are going high-tech with Sentara. The health care agency is growing its Virtual Visit program, allowing patients to be treated from the comfort of their own home instead of in a doctor's office.

Virtual Visits work like a FaceTime or Skype call. After making an appointment, a patient calls into the Virtual Visit center and is connected to Tammy Maloney, a nurse practitioner with Sentara.

Using her computer and camera, Maloney is able to see patients from all over Hampton Roads.

"You would be amazed at the age ranges of people that are able to get on there," said Maloney. "You would think it would be the younger crowd, but honestly we have 60 and up that are doing it without any difficulty."

Before seeing Maloney, patients connect with a medical assistant. There, they go over insurance information and work to make sure the patient is able to video call in without any issues. Maloney says some of the challenges she experiences come with patients working a camera.

"They have to participate in their assessment," said Maloney. "If you have them open their mouth, they have to be by the camera so you can look at the back of their throat."

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While there is a learning curve in participating in these visits, Maloney says there is hardly ever an issue connecting online.

"It's just wonderful. For some people, if they don’t have this ease to see someone it could be months before they see someone," explained Maloney. "They would just suffer it out."

Maloney says her patients range from new mothers getting checked out while their baby naps, to working professionals calling in during their lunch break to elderly people who do not have access to transportation. She believes Virtual Visits are the future of doctor's visits.

"At home you can order something on Amazon, you can order up a car with Uber, so why not order up health care? It’s kind of nice."

Maloney is also able to write prescriptions if needed. If you are a Sentara patient, notes from your visit will automatically be given your doctor. If you are not a Sentara patient, you can still have your information given to your doctor.

If your visit requires more care than what can be given during a Virtual Visit, you will be directed to make an in-person visit.

More information about Sentara Virtual Visits can be found on their website.

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