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Virtual Care Center Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Click each question below for its answer:

What is telehealth?

Telehealth, also known as telemedicine or virtual care, is care by a licensed health care provider using telecommunication and information technologies, often from a distance.

Is telehealth safe?

Yes. Guided by technical standards and clinical practice guidelines, and backed by decades of research and demonstrations, telehealth is a safe and cost-effective way to extend the delivery of health care.

Is telehealth secure? Is it recorded? Who can see me?

St. Luke’s telehealth network is extremely secure. Your images and video calls are all conducted on a 526-bit encrypted private network. Although no computer network is 100% secure, St. Luke’s uses the latest security technologies to protect your health care information. At no time will your telehealth session be recorded or broadcasted without your permission. 

Why should I consider receiving care via telehealth?

The availability of specialists and other health professionals can be limited, depending on where you live and the services you require. St. Luke’s has invested in an expansive telehealth network that will benefit our patients in several ways:

  • Reduced travel time and travel expenses
  • Reduced time taken off work
  • Easy access to care in a familiar environment
  • Less stress, especially if you aren’t feeling well
Are there other benefits of telehealth?

Through telehealth, you can have real‐time, two‐way communication via secure online virtual sessions.

  • It’s convenient—you’ll receive services from a location close to home at a time that fits best into your schedule.
  • It’s simple—you’ll connect with a provider on our secure HIPPA-compliant network by using a computer, speaker and camera.
  • It opens up access to more patients, such as those who live in rural areas or with mobility issues.
What types of services can be delivered via telehealth?

The same services that are provided in a face‐to‐face session can be offered via telehealth. Note that telehealth services must be a covered benefit under the member’s benefit plan to be reimbursed.

What are my rights?

You can always elect to obtain your care through an in-person visit. You have the right to refuse telehealth care at any time during the visit. You may ask all other parties to leave the telehealth video conference session/suites if you’re uncomfortable.

What if I prefer a face-to-face consultation?

Telehealth can be part of your care plan, but only if you want it to be. You can always choose to see your provider in person if you prefer. 

Do I pay extra for telehealth services?

St. Luke’s suggests you review your insurance policy and benefits before scheduling a telehealth visit. If you have questions regarding your policy, please contact your employer or insurance carrier.

What happens during a scheduled telehealth appointment in a clinic?

With the use of secure videoconferencing equipment, you’ll have a live, real-time interaction with a specialist, almost as if he or she is in the same room. Your appointment will feel a lot like a traditional face-to-face appointment. You will be able to see, hear and talk to the provider. During the consultation you can discuss your health and any concerns you have. A member of the local health care team will be present, if necessary. If you wish, you may bring a friend or family member to the appointment.

Who is involved in a scheduled telehealth visit?

Apart from you, the provider, and if necessary, a member of the local clinic staff, no one else will be present unless you want them to join. As with a face-to-face appointment, your spouse, partner, family member or friend may accompany you.

How can I schedule a telehealth visit with my provider?

Ask your provider if a telehealth consultation is right for you. Not all specialists offer telehealth consultations. Your health care provider will discuss options with you. 

How does telehealth work in the hospital or emergency department?

Some of our emergency department services are offered via telehealth services. Your local provider will still be the primary physician handling your care but may choose to ask a specialist to provide a telehealth consultation. Telehealth services are conducted via a secure two-way audio/video network and delivered at the patient’s bedside.

Who is involved in a hospital/emergency department consultation?

The consulting telehealth specialist will be present via two-way audio/video. Your local attending provider and staff such as a nurse or respiratory therapist may also be present in the room with you.

What is remote patient monitoring?

Remote patient monitoring is a type of remote health care in which patients use mobile devices to share their condition with care providers. These devices may also offer two-way audio/video connection to providers.

How does St. Luke’s remote patient monitoring work?

Telehealth devices, including a small tablet, are shipped to your home, and you’re guided through a simple set-up of the equipment. You may be asked to take your blood pressure, weight, blood glucose or oxygen saturation daily using the devices. All of this information is sent to a clinician for review and follow-up.

Who manages my care while I’m on remote patient monitoring?

Your primary care provider manages your care. A team of nurses and other health professionals (such as a social worker, diabetes educator, pharmacist or dietitian) will review your information daily and offer you support and encouragement as we work together with you to improve your health.

What are the benefits of participating in remote patient monitoring?

Think of remote patient monitoring as a “daily house call.” Your telehealth team can identify a slight deterioration in your condition so it can be managed quickly and you can avoid a trip to the hospital or clinic. And through your devices, you’ll receive tips and guidance to help you better manage your illness to support your long-term health.

If I have a complaint, concern or praise about a telehealth provider, what do I do?

Your feedback is extremely important to us. There are several ways to submit comments:

  • Complete a post-visit evaluation.
  • Talk directly to the clinic manager.
  • Email your comments to telehealth@slhs.org

Please consider leaving your name and contact information so we can follow up with you.

If I have questions about telehealth, what do I do?