Hello Everyone! I have been navigating the abrupt change in moving my clinical practice to the virtual world. In the past few weeks, I have learned at least 8 new computer programs, and how to navigate more apps than I can count. At times it has been exciting to learn new skills, and others, truly overwhelming.
Now that I am coming up for air, I wanted to explain what a virtual appointment is and how it can be of service to your health.
What does Telehealth look like?
Well, it is basically a virtual appointment. We meet in a secure video meeting room hosted by the same program that I do my charting in. The program is called Jane (see Jane run your clinic). I do love puns, and I honestly love Jane as a practice management software.
When you schedule a virtual appointment with me, we set up your Jane account, if you don’t already have one activated. Jane will remind you of your Telehealth or virtual appointment 48 hours ahead of time by email, and 24 hours in advance via text. Both of these reminders have a clickable link to enter your virtual waiting room for your appointment. This means no hunting for the login or joining procedure. Once there, I can join you at your appointment time and we can see each other with video.
It has been really endearing to be able to see people during this period of social distancing. While it is not the same as being in the same room, there is a significant sense of togetherness that occurs in these virtual appointments. I have been honored and overjoyed at being able to continue my patient’s healthcare via this virtual platform.
What can you expect?
Just like any appointment at our office, we start the appointment with a check in on how you are feeling mentally and physically. We talk about your health goals and objectives. I follow up with questions that help me to suss out your patterns from a Chinese medicine perspective. Then depending on an individual’s goals, we will plan a treatment together. That often involves seeds or pellets that we have you order to be shipped directly to your home. I teach you how to put these on points in the ear and on the body to address the condition you want addressed. For some cases, I teach you how to do indirect moxa, or how to properly use silicone cups for pain management. I often give exercises and stretches, just like I do in the office. And since I absolutely love Chinese medical nutrition, I often weave a little nutrition based on your patterns into the mix. Finally, we utilize Chinese herbal medicine to best support your health. If you are new to the idea of Chinese herbal medicine, please read my previous blog post on what it is, safety concerns, and my training here.
What conditions lend themselves well to a virtual appointment?
Most conditions lend themselves well to a virtual appointment. I have been able to effectively manage strong pain conditions through the use of Chinese herbal medicine, ear seeds, and instruction in icing/heating protocols paired with foam rolling. Stress management, feelings of anxiety and depression also respond very well to ear seed usage. We’ve been successfully addressing women’s health concerns such as painful periods and heavy periods. Insomnia, digestive concerns, and natural allergy relief all lend themselves well to virtual appointments.
Our clinic is currently working with other acupuncture clinics nationally to create a plan on how and when we will safely reopen to in-person visits. I am not quite sure when that will be, but I do hope soon. I do not want to rush reopening until we have a solid list of procedures to protect both patients and staff. Even when we re-open, virtual appointments are going to be a very important tool. We will use them for our more vulnerable patients, and for anyone that comes down with any respiratory illness or stomach bug.
For those that come down with any respiratory or digestive ‘bug’, we will no longer be able to see you in-person while you are sick. This is where the virtual appointments can be an exceptional tool even after we re-open. We can connect virtually, assess your symptoms, and create an herbal formula to support your symptoms, as well as an acupressure protocol for you to use at home with the seeds or pellets mentioned above. Chinese herbal medicine is exceptional at addressing colds, flus, coughs, fever, acute nausea/vomiting and diarrhea from a virus or bacteria.
In the case of COVID19, should anyone of our patients come down with it, please reach out for a virtual or email assessment to enable us to be part of your health care team. It seems that it is also important to stay in touch with your medical team after recovery due to a number of strange clotting disorders that can occur. Please refresh your memory on how to identify a stroke. This is good information to have on hand in general, since you never know when you might be a first responder to a stroke.