This information explains what a telemedicine visit is so you can decide if it’s right for you.Back to top
What is a telemedicine visit?
A telemedicine visit is when your healthcare provider uses technology to care for you without you having to travel to their office. During your telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider will see and talk with each other using a computer, smartphone, or tablet. Your healthcare provider will be able to check how you’re doing, diagnose any problems you have, and come up with a treatment plan for you all by video (see Figure 1). Your video won’t be recorded or saved.Back to top
What are the benefits of telemedicine visits?
There are many benefits to having a telemedicine visit, including:
- Getting you the care you need without having to travel to the hospital.
- Saving you travel time and money.
- Helping you spend less time at your healthcare provider’s office.
- Letting you have tests done at a local clinic instead of having to commute to the hospital. This depends on where you live.
- Not having to take time off from your responsibilities to travel to the hospital.
- Not having to have a caregiver travel with you to the hospital.
One of the main goals of telemedicine visits is to bring care closer to where you live. Many people say telemedicine visits are like being right in their doctor’s office. We have offered telemedicine visits at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) for several years in many services, such as Psychiatry, Genetics, Supportive Care, and in the Bone Marrow Transplant service. Almost all people are happy with the program and find the quality of care through telemedicine visits to be very high.Back to top
Will my information stay private?
Yes. Telemedicine visits meet the strict standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This means your privacy is protected just like all your visits with your healthcare providers.Back to top
How will my telemedicine visit work?
We’ll schedule your telemedicine visit for you. You can either have your telemedicine visit from home or work using your computer or smart device (smartphone or tablet) or from an MSK regional site (such as Monmouth, Nassau, or Westchester).
You can also have your friend, family member, or an interpreter join your telemedicine visit. Ask the Office Coordinator for more information
Telemedicine visits using your computer or smart device
If you have your telemedicine visit from home or work, you can use your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Your healthcare provider will tell you which app or software you’ll need for your telemedicine visit.
You should know your username and password for MyMSK so that you can log on before your visit. If your caregiver manages your MyMSK account for you, make sure they’re with you during your telemedicine visit so they can help you. For more information about how you can get the most out of your visit, read the resource Tips for Your Telemedicine Visit.
Your telemedicine visits will be billed in the same way your in-person visits are billed. For the most up-to-date information on how your specific plan covers telemedicine visits, contact your insurance provider.
Telemedicine visits from an MSK regional site
If you have your telemedicine visit from an MSK Regional site, you’ll need to go to that site on the day of your appointment. After you check in, a member of our staff will take you to an exam room. The exam room will have a video system in it. We’ll close the door to give you privacy, and a nurse will be in the room with you. Your nurse will check your vital signs and explain how the system works. At the time of your appointment, your nurse will call your healthcare provider’s office using the touch screen. You may see the Office Coordinator from your doctor’s office on the screen while they transfer your call. Once you’re connected, you’ll see your healthcare provider on a large video monitor and you’ll see and hear each other just like you would if you were in the same office together. When talking with your healthcare provider, look at the screen to keep eye contact, just like in person. If you’re having trouble seeing or hearing your healthcare provider, tell the Care Coordinator or nurse who brought you to the room.
At the end of your visit, your healthcare provider will give you follow-up instructions, such as appointments or blood work. If there are any technical problems, they’ll continue your visit over the phone, if needed. We don’t expect any technical problems.
If you don’t feel well, or if you’re uncomfortable at any time during your visit, tell your healthcare provider. If you need help, press the red call button on the back wall of the room.Back to top
Can my doctor diagnose me through a telemedicine visit?
Many exams can be done during a telemedicine visit. If needed, your healthcare provider may ask you to move a part of your body, so they can see how well you move or if you have pain.
Sometimes video isn’t a good way to examine you. This is rare. Your healthcare team knows the reason for your visit ahead of time, so we know if a telemedicine visit is a safe and effective way to see you.Back to top
Does my telemedicine visit go in my medical record?
Yes. Your healthcare provider will document the visit in your medical record in the same way they would if your visit were in person.Back to top
A few days after your telemedicine visit, we’ll send you a survey about your experience. Your feedback is important to us. We’ll use it to improve this service and keep it available to our patients.Back to top