(HealthNewsDigest.com) – These days it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t use digital health technology. Most of us go online to make appointments, access our medical records, look at test results and exchange notes with our doctor’s office. Many of us take advantage of remote virtual appointments and use devices to track health data that can give providers a broader picture of our well-being.
Digital health technology is also helping Stanford Children’s Health offer patients and their families better access to Stanford Medicine pediatric experts. This year, Stanford Children’s plans to more than double its number of telehealth appointments — from 1,100 visits in 2018 to 2,500 visits in 2019.
Currently, telehealth visits are offered to patients for follow-up appointments. Some of those are clinic-to-clinic visits, in which a nurse practitioner at a primary care office connects with a physician at a specialty clinic.
During a clinic-to-clinic visit, a nurse practitioner at the remote clinic examines the child while a high-resolution camera and microphone let the physician at the specialty clinic see and hear exactly what the nurse practitioner does.
Vandna Mittal, director of digital health services at Stanford Children’s Health, said these clinic-to-clinic telehealth visits are used for an array of appointments, from diagnosing eye problems in premature infants to performing video electroencephalogramsfor neurology. Because the Stanford Children’s Health network spans from Santa Rosa to Salinas, these virtual visits help families fit appointments into their schedules.
“Through virtual visits, we are not only saving families time traveling to appointments and taking their kids out of school and work, we are also maximizing our providers’ ability to see more patients, fill in last-minute cancellations and accommodate urgent requests,” Mittal said.
Enabling more realistic evaluation
Patients also benefit from clinic-to-home telehealth visits. Through the Stanford Children’s Health MyChart patient portal, patients and families can connect with their physicians remotely using their own devices, such as phones and tablets. Mittal said such virtual visits are popular among teen behavioral-health patients who go away to college but want to maintain a close relationship with their mental health provider at Stanford. Providers at the developmental-behavioral clinic are using these visits to observe patients in their natural play environments, at home or even on the playground, enabling a more realistic evaluation of the child’s condition.