Upgrades to both Epic and MyChart are making it easier for Johns Hopkins Community Physicians providers to offer videoconferencing appointments to their patients. Since March 2017, patients have been scheduling video visit appointments through MyChart.
It’s designed to be no different than scheduling a traditional medical appointment. “It’s just another way we are delivering care,” says Cindy Diaz, manager of systems development in the Office of Information Technology.
Patients who have a computer or smartphone can choose a video visit, while staff members use the exact same workflows in Epic as if they were seeing the patient in person, says Diaz.
Currently, the appointments are limited to medication monitoring and treating conditions such as rash, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety and depression, because providers are comfortable discussing and treating such conditions via telecommunications, says Rebecca Canino, administrative director of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Telemedicine. If someone has an earache or sore throat, the provider would prefer to see the patient in person.
In order to schedule video visits in MyChart, patients must have a participating provider who they have seen within the last 18 months, and they must live in Maryland and have insurance that covers telemedicine.
Prior to an appointment, the patient tests the device to ensure it is ready. On the day of the visit, the patient logs in to MyChart to attend the video visit. Clinic staff members greet the patient, complete registration and then connect the patient to the doctor.
Since July 2016, this and other Johns Hopkins telemedicine programs have connected patients to physicians more than 6,000 times.