Telehealth: Virtual Office Visits
Due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic and our goals of reducing your time spent in clinic and the level of exposure with other people and our staff, Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC) is encouraging our healthcare practitioners to utilize telemedicine when appropriate to replace in-person healthcare visits. Your cancer care provider will determine whether it is appropriate for you to be seen via telemedicine or whether an in-person visit is necessary.
If you are asked to use telemedicine, this may consist of either a Zoom video/audio conference from your home, FaceTime or a telephone call to your personal phone.
Zoom is a HIPAA-protected encrypted online platform for conducting telemedicine visits. It should be noted that these visits are considered official visits that are billable and subject to insurance claims and deductibles just as in-person visits are. This applies to all consultations, follow-up/re-evaluation, and weekly radiation visit appointments.
If you do not have the ability to visit with your cancer care provider via Zoom telemedicine (see requirements below), then please let us know and we can still visit with you in our clinic, but our providers may choose to perform the majority of the in-depth consultation/visit with you using Zoom in one of our clinic rooms but meet with you briefly for the physical examination. You always have the ability to see your provider in person at your request for more urgent or emergent issues regarding your cancer diagnosis or cancer treatments.
We really appreciate your flexibility, understanding, and acceptance of telemedicine during this critical time of social distancing due to the viral pandemic. We realize this is a significant change in how we all are used to meeting and interacting, but we are committed to reducing our levels of interaction during this time and believe that the use of telemedicine will significantly help during the pandemic.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is connecting with a doctor through a live-video call. Using telehealth, your Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC) doctor or APP can assess you, give you a treatment plan that fits your needs, and discuss your ongoing management and care.
Why use telehealth now?
- Telehealth can reduce your risk of getting sick by limiting your exposure to others.
- Telehealth can help you get medical advice faster.
- By using telehealth, you help keep hospital resources available for people who are seriously ill. You are also potentially limiting the spread of COVID-19 in your community.
What does it cost?
- In Colorado, telehealth is covered by all insurance plans. To learn more, contact your insurance company directly. If you live outside of Colorado, please contact your insurance company for their specific rules and coverage.
- Telehealth visits cost the same as an in-person visit for Medicaid and Medicare patients.
What are the technology requirements for Zoom telemedicine?
- Computer with internet access and/or smart phone with the Zoom application downloaded.
- A computer camera and microphone is not necessary but if you want your provider to see you during the visit, it is encouraged.
- If a microphone is not available, Zoom will provide telephone numbers on the meeting invite to call to be able to talk to your providers.
- If a smartphone is used, then most are equipped with a camera and microphone that can be used during the visit.
- Email address so that Zoom invite can be sent with the link to Zoom meeting.
How do I connect with my cancer care providers at RMCC via telehealth?
- If you don’t need to physically be at RMCC for your appointment, ask to schedule your next appointment with your provider through Zoom. There are many types of visits that can be done through Zoom. Zoom is a HIPAA Compliant telehealth platform that your RMCC provider will use to connect with you in a private virtual room.
- To utilize Zoom, you will need to download it onto your computer through this link. Download the Zoom app to your smartphone, tablet or laptop/desktop.
- Provide an email address to RMCC so we can send the invite to your own private Zoom visit room. Go to your email and click directly on the link in your email to be directed and “roomed” in your virtual room and wait for your provider to see you at the scheduled time.
- Make sure you have camera and audio both connected. If you do not have a desktop or laptop with microphone/audio, you may use your computer camera for the video part and dial in separately from a land line or cell phone following instructions in your email invite or in the app. You will be prompted when you arrive in your room to choose phone call audio or computer audio. If possible, join the visit a few minutes early to make sure your microphone and camera on your device are working properly.
- We highly recommend a test run with friends or family. Practice using the Zoom application with a friend or family member to get ready for your RMCC Zoom visit. This will make sure you are ready to go and are familiar with the app to make the most of your provider visit.
- If you have a thermometer, heart rate monitor, blood pressure cuff, blood sugar monitor, or other medical tool, have it with you at the time of your telehealth visit. Sit in a well-lit room so that the provider can see you well.
Instructions for Zoom:
- Prior to your scheduled telemedicine visit, your provider will send you a Zoom invite by email address. If you do not receive an invite, please check your spam or junk folder as it may have been filtered out. You may receive reminders or alerts when the meeting time is approaching.
- When you are ready to join the meeting, please open the email with the invite and click on the link provided. This will open a separate web browser to the meeting room. Depending on the meeting settings, you might have to wait until your provider accepts you or gives you access into the full meeting room. Please give the provider time to get the meeting and room setup for the visit.
- To ensure proper functioning of the Zoom meeting, please make sure your volume is turned up, microphone is not muted, and video is enabled (if applicable).
- Since Zoom operates on a web-based platform, there may be occasional delays or lags in both the audio and video. If this occurs frequently, then your provider may ask to conduct the visit over the phone.
- After the visit is over, the provider will end the meeting and you cannot return to the Zoom room at that point.