Telemedicine at South Boston Community Health Center
Staying connected with your care team is important to help maintain your ongoing health and to be able to address issues that may arise without having to expose yourself to others.
SBCHC is offering two types of Telemedicine Visit to help you connect with your provider: (1) Video Visits and (2) Audio Only Visits. We are also scheduling some patients in person if this is preferable to you as the patient, or your need cannot be effectively addressed using Telemedicine.
Here is how you can prepare, depending on your type of visit:
- For an Audio Only Visit, you will just need a phone, and we will need your phone number.
- For a Video Visit, you will need either a smartphone, tablet, or a computer with a webcam and a microphone. You will also need to download the Zoom App onto the device you want to use.
If neither Video Visit or Audio Only Visit works for you, please let our scheduling staff know so we can work to meet your need in person.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine, Telehealth and Virtual Visits are terms you might have been hearing a lot about since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand the terms can be confusing, and we are here to help.
- Telehealth - a broad term encompassing any health care that uses technology to connect a patient with either their provider or information about their healthcare (such as MyChart)
- Virtual Visit - another broad term that includes any clinical interaction in health care that does not involve the patient and provider being in the same room at the same time
- Telemedicine Visit - A Telemedicine Visit specifically allows you and your provider to have a medical or behavioral health visit without having to be in the same physical location.
South Boston Community Health Center is pleased to be able to offer two types of secure Telemedicine Visits for our patients: (1) Video Visits and (2) Audio Only Visits. We are also scheduling some patients in-person if this is preferable to you as the patient, or your need cannot be effectively addressed using Telemedicine.
You may want to use a Telemedicine Visit to address:
- Symptoms you are having that might necessitate testing for COVID-19
- Skin concerns (send your provider a photo via MyChart)
- Behavioral health appointments for concerns such as anxiety, depression, or for a medication follow-up
- Chronic care follow-up for stable diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, lung disease, or liver disease
- Medication follow-up visits for asthma, acne, birth control
- Seasonal allergy or food allergy concerns
- Nutrition or weight loss counseling
- Any other concern that can be addressed without coming to the health center
How do I make an appointment for a Telemedicine Visit?
Simply send us a MyChart message or call the health center at (617)269-7500. Our scheduling staff will help you find a time for your appointment as they do with any other medical appointment at the health center. If you opt to do a Video Visit, please let our scheduling staff know whether you will be using a smartphone or a computer, so your provider knows where to send your Zoom link when it’s time for your appointment. Text (vs. email) is the easiest way to receive your Zoom link.
Do I need to come to the health center for a Telemedicine Visit?
No, you do not need to come to the health center for your Telemedicine Visit. You and your provider can connect from wherever you are each located using technology. However, we can only serve patients located in Massachusetts. If you're traveling or if you have relocated to another state, please send a MyChart message to your PCP or call us at (617)269-7500 to discuss how we can help you while you're away.
Please do consider how you might present yourself for an appointment if you were coming to the health center, and dress accordingly.
We recommend a Video Visit so you can be both heard and seen by your provider, which can allow for better assessment of many health conditions. Also, so much of human caring and active listening is expressed through our faces, so seeing your provider also allows you to experience care and empathy, even when no words are being exchanged.
Do I need special equipment for a Video Visit?
Yes, you will need one of the following:
- a smartphone
- a tablet
- a computer with a webcam and microphone
Whichever device you use, you will need to download the Zoom App before your visit (check out our Telemedicine Guide here). Keep in mind that Video Visits work best with a good internet connection.
What is the easiest way for me to join a Video Visit?
We have found that using a smartphone (which already has a webcam and microphone built in) and receiving a Zoom link via text is the easiest way to join a Video Visit. With the Zoom App already downloaded onto your smartphone, joining your Video Visit is as simple as clicking on the link in the text your provider sends you when it is time for your appointment.
You also have the option of requesting technical assistance ahead of your provider appointment should you need help getting your technology set up. Please give us at least 1 business day before your appointment to get back to you if you have requested technical assistance.
What if I have barriers to Telemedicine Visits?
Many people have barriers to Telemedicine Visits, so you are in good company. It is our mission at SBCHC to provide accessible, high quality care to all our patients. We invite you to be honest with our scheduling staff about how we can best meet your health needs. If a Video Visit is not an option for you, let us know. If an Audio Visit (just phone to phone) also does not work for you, please let us know, and we will help you schedule an in-person appointment onsite at the health center. We have reduced in-person visit capacity to minimize exposure during the pandemic, but we are still booking some in-person visits.
Where can I learn more about Telemedicine Visits at SBCHC?
Here is more information to help you prepare for your Telemedicine Visit at SBCHC: Telemedicine FAQs