In order to expand access to healthcare, OSF HealthCare has developed more options for you to take control of your health. We’ve expanded options for in-person and virtual urgent care for minor injuries and illnesses, virtual primary care options, and the traditional face-to-face office visit.
But even with all these changes, the basic exam remains the same. Mark Meeker, DO, an internal medicine physician and vice president of community medicine for OSF HealthCare, talks about what to expect during your next office visit.
“With a view to safety, healthcare physicians are providing different and convenient ways for you to monitor your health and connect with your physician or advanced practice provider,” said Dr. Meeker said.
Both types of visits allow you to discuss a variety of topics, including:
- Chronic disease management
- Coordinate care with other specialists.
- Lab results
- Changes in lifestyle
- Medication renewals or changes
- Mental health
- New problems or physical concerns
- Recommendations for health exams
The main drawback of a virtual tour is the lack of in-person interaction. Being in the same room allows your Primary Care Provider (PCP) to get a sense of your general well-being and to perform a hands-on physical exam.
However, if you haven’t experienced any new symptoms or have any concerns, a virtual visit is a safe and convenient alternative to reaching your overall health goals, says Dr. Meeker said. But it doesn’t completely replace the need for an office visit.
Regardless of the type of visit you choose, you should prepare a list of questions and concerns to discuss with your PCP.
During a virtual visit, you meet with your PCP via smartphone, tablet, or computer.
The first step is to log in or log into your OSF MyChart account. You will go through a registration process where you will need to enter your personal and insurance information. You may need to take a picture of certain documents, identification, and insurance card, and upload them to your account, so please have this information readily available.
Then a nurse or assistant will conduct a basic health assessment before your doctor joins the video call.
Your PCP can still order lab tests, fill prescriptions, and decide if you need to come to the office for a physical exam.
“Our main goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy. Virtual tours allow an open line of communication and avoid unnecessary risks, ”said Dr. Meeker said.
At OSF HealthCare, safety is always our top priority.
We follow the guidelines of state and federal public health agencies to ensure that we are doing everything possible to provide care at all of our facilities in a safe manner. This is especially true in times of increased community risk, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
While office visits are the same as before the COVID-19 pandemic, a big difference is the pre-visit assessment.
A member of your doctor’s office can call you the day before your visit and ask you a series of questions related to COVID-19. Also, when you arrive for your appointment, the staff will take your temperature and ask you again for COVID-19 screening questions.
If you are at risk for COVID-19, staff will assess your situation and determine the best course of action.
“With an office visit, I can examine your heart, ears, head and neck, lungs, stomach and throat to see if you have any pain or problems in those areas,” said Dr. Meeker said. “It is important to do a body exam from time to time because problems can arise that have no symptoms and can go unnoticed.
“In-person visits also allow us to take accurate readings of body mass index, heart rate, and blood pressure. Often with something like high blood pressure, there are no signs or symptoms. “
Be sure to bring a valid photo ID, insurance card, medical history, and a list of your medications.
Regardless of the type of visit you choose, be an active participant. Your Primary Care Provider (Physician or APP) is a long-term partner in managing your health, so it is crucial to select a supplier who is right for you and your family and the methods of receiving your care.