Henry Knoop: How TeleHealth Is Expanding Your Care Options

Henry Knoop, PA
Henry Knoop, PA

As a provider, you care deeply for your patients—you feel like you would do anything for them. Those who have cared for a sick child, an ailing parent, or a class of students can relate. There are many factors outside of your control, so when something comes along that will help our loved ones get the care they need faster, we jump on it.

This is why I am excited about TeleHealth. Things aren't intrinsically better with technology; it is not a fit for every patient or every situation – but for many patients, it can result in safer, faster, easier, and more comprehensive care. For those of us who call rural areas home, TeleHealth is a game-changer.

Safety First – Care at Home

We all know the safety benefits of virtual medicine very well—avoiding infection is what drove us to virtual communications when COVID-19 turned the world upside-down. Those benefits are the same if you're sick or have a compromised immune system. Plus, in winter weather, we can keep our appointments even when Mother Nature has other plans.

Video visits and E-Visits allow you to receive the care you need at home. Details depend on the specific service (some options are listed below), but video visits are a virtual face-to-face with a doctor. An E-Visit starts with an online needs and symptoms questionnaire and leads to personalized care from a Bassett caregiver.

TeleHealth Is Easier and Faster

By eliminating travel and office visits, transportation limitations, inclement weather, tight work schedules, and childcare are much less formidable obstacles to care.

This ease factor gives me particularly high hopes for well visits and post-discharge appointments. These appointments can result in better outcomes for patients, but are often delayed or canceled due to scheduling challenges. I am happy to say that we are specifically adding the Annual Wellness Visits required by many Medicare plans to our TeleHealth repertoire.

TeleHealth is also part of clinical care. Practitioners and nurses meet with patients while conferring virtually with a colleague. This allows patients to travel to their local clinic for a specialist appointment rather than to a different town or county. It also makes it easier to get expert input on labs or imaging.

Expanding Care

TeleHealth also provides Bassett patients with a wider range of specialists. For almost two years now, Bassett's school-based health clinics and a growing number of pediatric offices have been using in-clinic TeleMedicine to consult with pediatric pulmonologists at the University of Rochester. Just recently, Bassett's Cardiology team announced a similar partnership with Columbia University's Irving Medical Center. Special digital instruments enable patients to meet with experts hundreds of miles away who can monitor heart and lung activity in real-time.

These arrangements save huge amounts of time. The drive to your local clinic is much shorter than a trek across state, and more importantly, often reduces the wait for those specialist appointments.

Know Your Options

The best way to try TeleMedicine is to investigate your options ahead of time. You want to be ready should you become ill! Here's a helpful breakdown of Bassett's services:

  • Bassett E-Visits
    • Complete a dynamic questionnaire and receive a diagnosis, prescription, and treatment plan within an hour.
    • No video or phone communication are required.
    • E-Visits work best for conditions such as COVID-19/cold/ flu symptoms, headache, rashes, and other skin conditions. Plus, you only get charged if a diagnosis is made.
  • On-Demand Video Visits
    • Arrange a video visit through your smartphone or computer.
    • These visits treat many of the same conditions treated at Bassett's Convenient Care locations.
    • No appointment is necessary.
  • Scheduled MyBassett Video Visits
    • Schedule a virtual, rather than in-office, appointment with your practitioner using MyBassett Health Connection, our secure patient portal.

For a full description of services, visit our TeleHealth page.

To determine which TeleHealth service is best for your given condition, visit our Get Care Now page.

Learning about TeleHealth options may seem overwhelming at first, but as our virtual care services continue to expand, we will all learn to lean on these amazing resources just as we have with other new technology – like streaming TV services, smart phones, social media, and many additional platforms that were not part of our lives just 10 or 15 years ago.

But can you imagine life without them now? Soon enough, TeleHealth will be another household convenience we can't live without. And I'm so excited to be part of the team bringing this service to you.

Henry Knoop IV, PA-C, serves as Chief Advanced Practice Officer and Associate Chief Medical Information Officer for Bassett Healthcare Network. He has played a major role in helping Bassett expand its virtual health services to better serve patients across Central New York. This column originally appeared the the Oneonta Daily Star February 11, 2023.