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Telehealth: Yale Specialty Care, From Home

Yale Medicine Telehealth is at the forefront of innovative and convenient ways for you to connect with your doctor using your tablet, mobile phone, or computer. Your referring physician is also able to communicate directly with Yale Medicine specialists and remotely share images, electronic medical records, and other tools to help examine, diagnose, and treat you, as well as provide you with continuous follow-up care for your medical condition.

From video visits to remote patient monitoring, we are excited to provide specialty health care to our patients in the ways that are most convenient for them. Telehealth programs have grown nationwide, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we plan continued expansion of Yale Medicine’s telehealth service offerings.

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The Benefits of Telehealth at Yale Medicine

“Telehealth” refers to the broad category of electronic telecommunications technologies, including things like smartphone apps, while “telemedicine,” or video visits, are specific to remote doctor-patient services, allowing you to receive health care and services from your provider who is in a different location. To participate in telemedicine, patients need to download the MyChart app to their device (smart phone or tablet). When the appointment time comes, the patient and provider log in and talk to one another over a video connection. The platform is completely compliant with HIPAA, the federal law that protects patient privacy, says Pamela Hoffman, MD, medical director for Telehealth Services for Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Health System. “It provides the safety and security that patients deserve. For instance, videos are not recorded,” Dr. Hoffman adds. To maintain social distancing protocols, all Yale Medicine appointments that can be handled via telehealth are currently being converted to telehealth. The transition has been quick, Dr. Hoffman says. YM has had experience with telehealth, with some doctors doing these visits for several years now, but the services have expanded dramatically in recent weeks. For example, Dr. Hoffman said that there were 34 video visits scheduled on one particular day in the pre-COVID-19 era, whereas in a single day this week, more than 1,500 video visits were scheduled. If someone is uncomfortable with a video visit or doesn’t have a device that can support it, a telephone consult is another option. But Dr. Hoffman says a video visit is preferred, because it allows for better interactions between patient and provider. “If patients have any concerns about doing a video visit, they can talk to their provider about it, or even whoever calls to schedule the appointment,” she says. “We know that these visits work well, and we don’t want people to wait for in-person visits because we don’t know when those will take place. This is the new normal.” As for insurance coverage, Dr. Hoffman says video visits are covered just like a regular appointment would be. “Right now, we don’t want that to be a hindrance to getting care,” Dr. Hoffman says. We asked Yale Medicine specialists in different disciplines to discuss how they’ve adapted to Telehealth.

Video Visit Quick Guide

View the telehealth appointment quick guide from MyChart.

Telehealth Video Visits

This technology is available to you if your provider determines that video visits are recommended for your care. All you need is a computer, laptop, or smart device, an active MyChart account, and the MyChart app and Zoom app downloaded onto your device.

Second Opinion Program

Yale Medicine offers a second opinion program using PinnacleCare, a confidential health care advisor service that can coordinate second opinion appointments using your mobile phone, tablet, or computer.

Telehealth eConsultations

Yale Medicine has an Enhanced Referral and eConsult initiative to improve communication and care coordination between primary care providers and specialists. This platform helps medical providers exchange information more easily to better manage care for their patients.

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)

RPM is the sharing of medical information outside of traditional health care settings. RPM uses technology to collect medical and other forms of health data from you as our patient and electronically transmit that information securely to your provider for monitoring, assessment, and recommendations. Yale Medicine is on the forefront of offering these types of programs to help you better engage in your health care.

Other Telehealth Programs

  • TeleStroke
    In collaboration with Yale New Haven Hospital, Yale Medicine’s TeleStroke program uses video and image-sharing telecommunications, to provide remote neurologic expertise when patients present with acute stroke symptoms at an affiliated hospital. Yale Medicine stroke specialists can examine patients at remote hospitals and recommend a plan of care.
  • Tele-ICU
    InSight Tele-ICU offers virtual physician consultations with Yale Medicine specialists for patients who are in intensive critical care units at hospitals throughout Connecticut.