Virtual doctor office visits

Dr. Jody George is beginning to conduct virtual visits with some of his patients during this time of “social distancing.”

WESTLAKE — Dr. Jody George and his staff at the Family Care Center of Southwest Louisiana are implementing new ways to see and treat patients that can also aid in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The staff at the FCC are sporting isolation gowns complete with gloves and masks as they see patients. Even office manager Amy George dons a mask.

Patients are screened before they can check-in where they are asked questions such as if they have been to areas where the virus is rampant like Houston or New Orleans and their temperature is taken.

Physician assistant Kasey Hardy and nurse practitioner Ramona Whittington continue to see patients face to face while George conducts virtual visits in his office with help from is a telemedicine service that helps providers connect with patients who may not be able to come into the office and are conducted with help from smartphones, tablets and computers. The service is free for patients and they do not need to create an account in order to see their doctor.

Patients can request a virtual visit when they call the office to schedule an appointment. On the day and time of the appointment, one of the office's receptionists will call the patient to check them in on the computer, verify their insurance and collect their copay if needed. The nurse then sends a link to the patient's cell phone that will invite them to the waiting room.

If a patient is using a computer or tablet, they can visit to check-in and wait for the nurse to invite them into the waiting room. George said he then begins the video call to start the visit.

Any patient can request a virtual visit, he said. is secure as well as HIPPA compliant and does not store patient information, George said.

By using these virtual visits, George said the staff is not only doing their part to flatten the curve but also giving patients who have difficulty coming in for a visit a chance to see their doctor.

Virtual Checkup PA Family Care Center

Lucy Daigle LPN, left, and Kasey Hardy, a physician assistant, wear face masks as part of the new normal at Family Care Center of Southwest Louisiana in Westlake.

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