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Virtual Visits: Ideal for Kids and Busy Parents

Published on Mar. 24, 2021

virtual visits with munson healthcare

If you have kids, then at some point, you’ll have sick kids.  

And most parents will agree that piling even one sick child in the car for a doctor’s visit can bring on a massive headache. It’s even worse in a Michigan winter. The coats. The boots. The roads... Sometimes getting your kids to the doctor can be downright exhausting. 

So here’s some good news for stressed-out parents in northern Michigan: if you have a smartphone, there’s another way to get your kids in front of a Munson Healthcare physician. Virtual Visits are here. And they’re a game-changer.

Virtual Doctor’s Appointments for Kids

Sometimes called “telehealth,” Munson Healthcare Virtual Visits allow you and your family to see your doctor without ever leaving home. Think of virtual care as an easy alternative to an in-office appointment when you’re juggling a million different responsibilities.

Munson Healthcare began offering virtual care as a way to see patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, Virtual Visits have become more common and more requested. Video chat platforms have gotten easier to use for both doctors and patients.  

“My virtual appointments are going very well,” said Jennifer Atkins, MD, FAAP, at OMH Medical Group – Pediatrics. “We’re seeing more parents and more patients coming around to the benefits.” 

Why are Munson Healthcare Virtual Visits so great for busy parents? Let us count the ways:

Virtual Visits eliminate travel time.
You don’t need to leave the house. Just two chairs in a well-lit room will do the trick. You can sit down at the kitchen table to see your family doctor, or relax in your living room and receive expert care from your favorite chair.

Virtual Visits are fast. 
You’ll receive a text message or an email at your child’s scheduled appointment time. Just tap or click to start your Virtual Visit right away. There’s no navigating the waiting area or finding ways to entertain your kids in the exam room. 

Virtual Visits put your kids in front of their own doctor.
A variety of smartphone apps might allow you to see a virtual physician, but they’re likely not the family doctor you’ve chosen for your kids. Munson Healthcare Virtual Visits allow you to connect with your actual primary care physician and maintain that important relationship. 

Virtual Visits don’t require complicated technology.
A smartphone with WiFi or a good cellular connection are typically all you need to complete a Virtual Visit. A tablet will work. A laptop or desktop computer is fine too, as long as there’s a working camera and microphone. 

Virtual Visits can give you the same high-quality care as in-person visits.
Our pediatricians review each appointment to ensure we can provide the same level of high-quality care in a video visit as an in-person visit. When you contact your Munson Healthcare practice, they will work with you to determine what type of visit is most appropriate based on your needs. 

Those families without a strong home Internet connection are also finding success using Munson Healthcare Virtual Visits. Many will take a virtual appointment at a nearby location that offers a stronger cellular signal. Even a short drive to a safe parking lot with plenty of light can replace a longer drive to a practice location.

If your internet or cellular connection isn’t the greatest, here are a few resources for locating strong public WiFi in your area. 

What Can We Treat in a Virtual Visit?

Munson Healthcare virtual doctor appoints are ideal for common or routine conditions. Things like:

  • Allergies

  • Athlete’s foot

  • Bee Stings

  • Bug Bites

  • Cold Sores

  • Diarrhea

  • Lab reviews

  • Lice

  • Mental health

  • Minor cuts and bruises

  • Pink eye

  • Rashes and other skin problems

  • Swimmers ear, and more

The benefits of virtual care are even greater if your child’s condition requires a series of doctor’s visits. The ease of scheduling and completing these appointments from home compounds as the frequency increases. 

Dr. Atkins said the majority of her virtual appointments are for conditions related to mental health, including ADHD, anxiety, and depression. She’s also had success diagnosing things like skin rashes and sinus issues. Munson Healthcare’s virtual care platform allows doctors to see and speak to both the child and the parent(s) together, which typically leads to an accurate diagnosis.

“I remember seeing a family in the early stages of the pandemic who took their sinus-related virtual appointment while outside on a four-wheeler trail,” Dr. Atkins said. “The connection was great, and I was able to see what I needed to see to properly prescribe antibiotics. 

“It’s all about convenience. The parents I’m seeing know they won’t have to drive to a clinic and can simply find a place with a good connection and get their kids the care they need.”

Is There a Difference in Cost?

Nope. Munson Healthcare Virtual Visits are billed the same as an in-office visit. You should always double-check your insurance, but there’s typically no difference in appointment cost.

What if I Want a Face-To-Face Visit?

Not every type of visit is right for virtual care. For example, standard well-child and immunization appointments must be held in the office. Special equipment or technology that some care requires simply can’t be replicated through a video chat. 

If your appointment calls for an in-office visit, don’t worry. Munson Healthcare clinics can accommodate you. Our facilities follow strict masking and social distancing guidelines to reduce your risk of COVID-19 exposure. We’ll provide you and your children with high-quality care in a clean and comfortable environment. 

What About Emergencies?

If your child is experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately. Don’t take a chance or ignore warning signs of anything that appears life-threatening.

How Do I Schedule a Munson Healthcare Virtual Visit?

Booking a virtual appointment for your child (or for you) is no different than scheduling a standard in-office visit. Please contact your Munson Healthcare family doctor to request an appointment. Your physician or your clinic’s front office staff will let you know if virtual care will work for your condition. 

Whether your kids receive care virtually, or in person, we want to see them get back to their healthiest. 

7 Steps to a Successful  Virtual Visit