Visiting with your doctor by video
Many Yale New Haven Health offices are scheduling appointments on video during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that you can still receive the care you need while staying safe. Here’s what you should know about video visits:
- What is a video visit?
Video visits allow you to receive health care and services from your provider who is in a different location.
- Are video visits safe?
Yes, your personal and health information is safe. Our current solution for video visits meets the same HIPAA requirements that are used for in-person visits.
- I am a new patient; can I have a video visit?
Yes. New patients can have a video visit, however, not all conditions are clinically appropriate for treatment via a video visit.
- Can my child have a video visit?
Yes. You will need to use MyChart to do the video visit. Please contact your specific provider and ask how to get the required access for your child.
- What types of appointments can be done on video visits?
Appointments include some new patient visits, follow-up visits, post-operation visits, visits to manage your medications, and ongoing health conditions and education.
- Are video visits as effective as in-person visits?
Research shows that video visits have similar diagnostic accuracy as face-to-face visits and treatment outcomes.
- How do I schedule a video visit appointment?
The first step is to call your doctor’s office to schedule an appointment.
- What will happen during a video visit?
The day before your video visit, open the MyChart app and complete the eCheck-in process. Prepare any questions to ask your provider. On the day of your video visit, five minutes before your appointment time, log into the MyChart app. Select your appointment and tap “Begin Visit.” Your provider will join the video visit shortly thereafter. In some cases, your first contact may be with a clinical assistant who will review basic medical information before transferring you to your provider.
- Does insurance cover video visits?
During the COVID-19 outbreak, many insurance companies have adopted polices for coverage of video visits.
- What technology do I need to have to do a video visit?
You can use a smartphone or tablet such as an iPhone, iPad or Android device to connect to your provider. You will also need an active MyChart account and download the MyChart app to your smartphone or tablet.
- How do I set up a video visit with my doctor?
At Yale New Haven Health and Yale Medicine, patients need to have an active MyChart account and access to the MyChart App on their personal device.
- What is MyChart?
MyChart is a patient portal through Epic, an electronic medical record platform that gives you access to your medical record. Through MyChart you can communicate with your provider, see test results, medications, request proxy access, complete questionnaires, request prescription refills and perform other tasks to help manage and receive information about your health.
- What if I don’t have a MyChart Account?
You can ask your medical provider’s office for a MyChart enrollment link or you can visit the YNHHS/YM MyChart. Click on the “Sign Up Now” button. At the next screen select “Request Access Code” and complete the enrollment screens. We use a third party called Experian to validate your identity as part of the process.
- Will I be able to get a new prescription?
Yes. A provider can assess symptoms and make medical decisions via a video visit, including sending a prescription electronically to your pharmacy. However, there are certain drugs that cannot be prescribed during a video visit.
- English is not my preferred language. Can I still do a video visit?
If your provider is unable to add an interpreter into the video visit, they can change your visit to a three-way phone call.
- How do I follow-up with the doctor after a video visit?
You will receive a copy of your After Visit Summary (AVS) via MyChart. The AVS summarizes what happened during your visit and contains important follow-up instructions. You can also message your provider through MyChart.
- If I do not want to do a video visit can I schedule a phone visit or in-person visit?
Yes, a phone visit and/or in-person visit are always options. However, due to COVID-19, in-person visits are currently only for patients who need to be seen urgently.
What to do if you think you have COVID-19
Yale New Haven Health is currently providing diagnostic testing for patients who may have COVID-19. Outdoor COVID-19 Specimen Collection Stations are operating at Bridgeport Hospital, Greenwich Hospital, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and Yale New Haven Hospital with approval from the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
Because COVID-19 testing is not appropriate for every patient with respiratory symptoms, you must have an order from a healthcare provider to receive a test.
Call your doctor immediately if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing. Your doctor will determine whether this type of diagnostic testing is necessary.
Once your doctor has submitted the lab order, you will receive a call from YNHHS central scheduling staff who will provide you with an appointment date and time and the location of the Specimen Collection Station where you will have your test.
Your physician will call you with the results of the test. It may take 5 - 7 days for the test results to come back.
While waiting for your results, please self-quarantine at home. You can also review your test in MyChart. If you have not received a call after 7 days, call 203-688-1700.
If you don’t have a primary care doctor, call the YNHHS COVID-19 Call Center at 833-ASK-YNHH (833-275-9644).
Coping with COVID-19 anxiety
As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continue to spread in communities across the country, we all have mixed emotions. Many people are afraid of the virus and worried about loved ones. Others are angry and upset over disrupted schedules and upended finances. Still others are grieving lost opportunities and experiences. The outbreak and its effects can feel overwhelming, and it is easy to succumb to anxiety in the face of uncertainty and unpredictability. The important thing is to identify and address our emotions.
Frank Fortunati, MD, JD, vice chief of psychiatry at Yale New Haven Hospital, said it’s natural for anxieties to rise. “When you fear something, you want to do something about that fear and you want to take control of your situation,” he said. He suggests that people channel feelings of anxiety or loss of control in productive ways – and not by stockpiling bottles of water or toilet paper. For example, experts tell us that one way to reduce our risk of exposure to the coronavirus is by taking certain precautions: Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more, don’t touch your face and avoid large crowds.
Parents already stressed about the spread of COVID-19 face the added pressure of how to explain the news to their children. The constant stream of information available on social media or from unreliable sources doesn’t help. But instead of avoiding the topic entirely, Dr. Fortunati said parents can turn fear into a teaching moment.
“Kids really want to know that the adults around them are in control and can keep them safe. And you can help to enlist your kids into this effort by making sure they’re hand washing appropriately. Maybe if there’s an elderly individual that you want to help care for, they can help to bring food and groceries to that individual,” Dr. Fortunati said.
Kids express themselves in different ways, and sometimes they don’t voice their fears at all. Very young children might not know what’s happening unless the TV is on all the time at home.
Older children will mirror their parents’ anxieties. For example, they might refuse to go out in public. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other warning signs include unexplained headaches or pains, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits, poor performance on schoolwork and irritability. Parents can support their children by sharing the facts and reminding them about the help that is available.
While COVID-19 is causing anxiety for some, others may not be worried at all. Dr. Fortunati said that is normal, because everyone responds to a crisis in their own way, often shaped by their unique experiences. Those who already tend to worry will become more anxious, while those who are a bit more fearless may take unnecessary chances. Ideally, there needs to be a balance between these two extremes.
“It’s important to recognize that we all have these different backgrounds and respect that someone who seems less anxious or less concerned is being informed by their own past,” Dr. Fortunati said.
The most important thing is to follow COVID-19 prevention and stay up to date with the facts.
How you can support YNHH right now
Yale New Haven Health is grateful for the generosity and support of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some ways you can show your support for caregivers on the front lines and contribute to donation efforts at our facilities.
Post a note for caregivers: Share a note, a picture, or a video. We've created a digital board for loved ones and members of the community to share their support for all our Yale New Haven Health caregivers working on the front lines. Visit our kudoboard to share your thanks and encouragement with our healthcare heroes.
Make a financial donation: Yale New Haven Hospital has established two emergency funds that will provide critical financial support to the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 PPE/Capital Provision Fund will be directed toward capital expenses, including personal protection (PPE) and medical equipment. The COVID-19 Support Fund will be directed toward operational expenses and staff support, including food for our front-line caregivers. This fund will enable our clinical staff to sustain their resilience and continue to provide safe, high-quality care to our patients and community. As the outbreak continues, specific demands may increase or change. These COVID-19 funds are designed to provide assistance as needs are identified during this unprecedented crisis.
Donate medical supplies: While YNHH does not normally accept donations of supplies and equipment, the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted the quantities of protective equipment our caregivers need. Please review our list of currently needed resources.
All donated items should be in original unopened packaging. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information.
Save a life: Be an organ donor
How many lives can one organ donor save? Would it surprise you to learn that the answer is eight? It’s true. One single organ and tissue donor help to restore eyesight, damaged tissues or vital functions for many others.
The need for organs, however, is far greater than their availability. Right now, there are more than 110,000 people in the United States waiting for an organ transplant.
Yale New Haven Health is marking National Donate Life Month in April by increasing awareness about organ and tissue donor registration and living donation. Yale New Haven Transplantation Center is one of the nation’s top transplant programs and serves as a destination center for patients from around the world who are candidates for liver, kidney, and heart transplantation.
According to Donate Life America, more than 80 percent of those on the transplant list are waiting for a kidney and 12 percent are in need of a liver. A living donor is an option for these and other patients who otherwise may face a lengthy wait for an organ from a deceased donor. In fact, studies show that those who receive a liver transplant from a living donor have better outcomes.
Yale New Haven Hospital’s Center for Living Organ Donors is a program that arranges for kidney and liver transplants from living donors. Learn more about becoming a living kidney or liver donor or call 866-925-3897.
To register to be an organ donor, visit Donate Life New England or Donate Life America. You can also express your wish to become a donor when you receive or renew your driver’s license at the DMV.
Spring clean your medicine cabinet
If your medicine cabinet is chock-full of expired or unneeded medications, what’s the best way to throw them out properly without endangering your family or harming the environment?
The first step is to follow any disposal instructions that came with your meds. If there are no disposal instructions, dispose of drugs in your household trash by doing the following:
- Keep the medication in its original container. Use a permanent marker or duct tape to cross out your personal information, or remove the label.
- Make medication less appealing to pets or children. Mix your drugs (liquid or pills) with hot water to dissolve them. Add an undesirable substance, such as salt, ashes, saw dust, used coffee grounds or kitty litter.
- Contain and seal. Place it inside a container such as an empty yogurt or margarine tub to ensure that the contents cannot be seen and tape it shut.
- Throw out the container in your trash can. Do not put the container in your recycling bin! Don't flush medication down the sink or toilet. Why? Because flushed medications can get into our lakes, rivers and streams.
April 25 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications. Visit the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection for a list of prescription drug drop box collection sites near you.
Have you made your advance care plans?
Yale New Haven Health will join organizations across the country on Thursday, April 16, to observe National Healthcare Decisions Day. It’s a day to get the word out about the importance of advance care planning. Find out more by viewing or downloading these advanced directives forms or email YNHHPublicRelations@ynhh.org with “Advance Directives” in the subject line.
Referrals for physicians and surgeons
YNHH provides free information about and referrals to more than 2,600 affiliated physicians 24 hours a day. Call 888-700-6543 or visit our Find a Doctor feature on the hospital website for information on physician specialties, office hours and locations as well as insurance plans accepted. YNHH physicians represent more than 70 medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties, including internal medicine/family practice, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedics, pediatrics and psychiatry.
What would you like to know?
Want to learn more about a particular health topic or service? Questions about classes and events at YNHH? We want to hear from you! Tell us what you like about Advancing Care or send suggestions for improvement or changes. Email us and let us know how we can better serve your health needs.
YNHHS patients: Do you have MyChart?
MyChart gives Yale New Haven Health System patients secure, online, 24/7 access to portions of your electronic medical record (EMR). There you can see your medical history, most laboratory and test results, appointment information, medications, allergies, immunizations and other health information. You can schedule appointments with your doctor, request or renew prescriptions, see your billing and insurance information and send and receive secure, confidential electronic messages with your doctor’s office. Sign up by using the activation code on the after-visit summary from your doctor, request a MyChart Activation Code at your next appointment or visit MyChart and follow the link for “Sign Up Now” under "New User?"
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Yale New Haven Hospital offers financial counseling to patients and families. Spanish-speaking counselors are also available. To make an appointment with a financial counselor, call 203-688-2046.