Telehealth Q&Aby Dara Bergen, MPH, RD, CDN
What is “telehealth” and is it a good fit for me?
Telehealth is a method of sharing information electronically using telecommunications devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. While telehealth’s long-distance medical consulting abilities are obvious, using virtual health care methods to replace local office visits is relatively new. Telehealth contacts prove effective for reducing the number of office visits needed for follow-up. Many patients see the ability to schedule calls or data transfers as less intrusive than office visits.
How does telehealth nutritional counseling work?
Virtual nutrition counseling may be an ideal way to ensure diligent follow-up. Quick sessions and transfers of food logs minimize the impact on a patient’s day, compared with conventional office visits. There’s no longer a need for a patient to reschedule if work takes them out of town, for example. Workers can attend virtual appointments during breaks or lunches. While some patients still prefer face-to-face office visits, Forest Hills Wellness offers the telehealth alternative for meal tracking, dietitian feedback, and progress monitoring.
Are telehealth platforms private and health insurance compliant?
Telehealth counseling is more than simply seeing a dietitian via a communications platform such as Skype. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act sets guidelines for the security and privacy of patient’s personal health and health insurance information. A telehealth system requires certain standards for HIPAA compliance that general communications platforms don’t follow. Telehealth systems may, though, include secure video conferencing that protects the patient’s information. Web applications that share information such as meal plans or workout records also secure the patient’s information. The dietitian's notes and progress observations also stay secure and private inside the telehealth app. Call or schedule your next telehealth appointment online at Forest Hills Wellness. The practice is currently welcoming new patients and accepts most major forms of insurance.