Atlantic General Health System announced patients now have the option to schedule telehealth visits with their primary care providers and specialists.

These video visits are conducted securely through the FollowMyHealth patient portal, and patients can log in to consult with their provider using a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone.

“When patients can’t easily make it to the office for a visit due to their schedule, transportation issues or because they’re observing social distancing efforts during the pandemic, video visits may be the perfect alternative,” said Jonathan Bauer, vice president of information services at Atlantic General Hospital and Health System, who oversees the development of electronic medical record and patient portal features.

Video visits aren’t appropriate for every situation, with much depending on the reason for an appointment. Sore throat, cold and flu symptoms, suspected urinary tract infections, rashes and other skin issues, diarrhea and vomiting, and eye problems are among the most common reasons for a video visit. Medication check-ups for those with chronic conditions are another good use of the technology.

Atlantic General launched the service during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when Medicare and commercial insurance carriers relaxed their restrictions on video-based telehealth.

However, in addition to allowing patients to avoid public places, thereby reducing the spread of the virus, the convenience of video visits removes barriers to care often encountered by populations with known health disparities.

“Not having a car to get to an appointment or an inability to get time off work — those problems aren’t as significant when you can talk to your doctor from work or home during a video chat,” said Donna Nordstrom, director of community health at Atlantic General Hospital.

In addition to video visits, patients with a FMH portal account can send messages to their provider, view a vaccination history and other health records, review test results, request prescriptions refills and review medication lists with a few taps or clicks. Patients can also print or securely share portions of their records through the portal.

Atlantic General continues to modify the FMH patient portal to improve the overall experience. Within the next few months, patients will be able to complete pre-appointment forms through the portal. Future goals include adding appointment scheduling and bill management features.

For more, visit agh.care/videovisits.