Why I Use MyChart and Telemedicine
When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in August of 2020, the pandemic had just started, and although MyChart was available through most doctors and hospitals, it was not used nearly as often as it is now.
Telemedicine visits were not the norm. But once COVID was running rampant, it became almost impossible to schedule appointments for any other illnesses or follow up visits. Something needed to be done to alleviate the situation.
I was skeptical at first as to how effective these tools would be in facilitating my Parkinson’s care as well as other conditions I had recently developed. The frustration of long waiting times to communicate with my medical team led me to give MyChart a try.
Benefits of using your online patient portal
There had been so many updates made to the site that I have become a proponent of utilizing this form of communication with all the various specialists I see. Instead of waiting long periods of time for an answer to a question, I generally receive a reply in 36 to 48 hours.
I find I have established a rapport with the nurse practitioner at my movement disorder clinic as well. In addition to sending messages in the MyChart portal, in many cases you can schedule or cancel appointments as needed and generally get a timely follow up phone call. Also being able to obtain test results after a procedure is very helpful. Usually, they are available within a week. There is always an email alert that you have new information available.
My experience with telemedicine appointments
Telemedicine calls were a little harder for me to accept at first. I wondered how a doctor could determine what you were dealing with. My first experience did not go well while I was in skilled nursing due to scheduling and technical difficulties. To be truthful, it turned me off to the whole process.
Since then I have had several very successful telemedicine appointments where no physical examination was needed, but they were follow up visits. They were helpful since I am temporarily bedridden.
I easily discussed the outcome of a knee ablation to determine whether to proceed with the second knee. I also had a telemedicine appointment with a nutritionist and it did not involve the need for a physical examination - I am satisfied with the outcome.
What surprised me about telehealth
What really surprised me was a telemedicine appointment with the nurse practitioner at my movement disorder clinic. We could discuss medication and symptoms. By angling my iPad she could observe my mobile agility. With my husband’s help, she observed me walking with my rollater which is something I have difficulty with in their office because they are all too high. Mine is adjusted to suit my extremely short stature. I will go to my movement disorder specialist in a few months for a more thorough assessment.
Take advantage of the technology
As you can probably tell I have become a fan of telemedicine calls when applicable. My advice to anyone who is hesitant as to the efficacy of both MyChart and telemedicine is to take advantage of this technology while there is such a shortage of specialists and long waiting times.
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