A Smile is Worth A Thousand Words: The Benefits of Virtual Health Care

**By Nicholas Moy, MD**

Virtual care is changing the way we think about health care. According to theCDC, there was a 50% increase in the number of telehealth visits in the first three months of 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. As an internal medicine doctor at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, I see the benefits of telehealth firsthand as we continue to weather the pandemic. In particular, my patients who have been concerned about leaving home have appreciated the convenience and the security of getting the care that they need.

There are other, more surprising benefits to virtual care. Video visits allow faster access to care in some cases. When I or one of my colleagues has an opening for an appointment, we can quickly invite someone into an appointment without having to worry about travel time, check-in time, traffic or other reasons for being late. In some cases, patients have forgotten about their in-person appointments, and instead of rescheduling them to come in weeks later, we can send them a video invite that very minute and complete the visit.


Telehealth proves that not all care has to happen in-person. Any visit where I don’t need to physically examine a patient makes sense to start out as a video visit appointment. We have even been able to complete Medicare Annual Wellness Visits. If I feel during a video visit that there is a need for a physical exam, or something more in-depth is needed to further diagnose or treat a patient, we can schedule tests and an in-person follow-up.

If you haven’t experienced a telehealth appointment before, no need to worry – it feels just like an in-person doctor’s appointment, just over a video call. A few tips I have for someone looking to schedule their first virtual appointment with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health would be to:

  • Mom and child on computerCheck to ensure you have Virtual Mason (our app for virtual care) downloaded onto your phone or tablet. If using a computer, make sure to use Google Chrome as your web browser.
  • 确认我们的最佳电话号码和电子邮件地址,以获得您的抗拒。如果您在预约时没有在预约时在预约时在预约时在虚拟考试室内看到您,我们会打电话给您!
  • Make sure you have a camera, microphone and speaker or headset.
  • Make sure your Wi-Fi is working.


只是因为有pandemic doesn’t mean routine check-ups or health problems should be ignored. Telehealth and video visits have been a productive way to connect patients and providers, especially in a time of high stress and the unknown. Despite all the fears and concerns, it is so worth it to see my patients’ smiles once the video connects. Those smiles are worth a thousand words!

Dr. MoyNicholas Moy, MDis a primary care physician and the Associate Chief Medical Informatics Officer atVirginia Mason Hospital and Seattle Medical Center. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.


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