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“Don’t doctor and drive”, health officials warn

“Don’t doctor and drive”, health officials warn
When the COVID-19 pandemic made its way across the world, healthcare providers had to safely, and innovatively provide care to those who needed it from a distance as non-urgent care needs were put on hold. With this, virtual visits began to significantly increase as a convenient, safe way to receive care from the comfort of your home.

Whether it’s on your couch, from your kitchen table or even in bed, virtual visits make seeing your Carle provider easier than ever. Carle offers virtual care options from services including Convenient Care, Neurosciences, Sleep Medicine and more.

However, health officials are noticing a dangerous trend among those taking advantage of this service—driving while attending a virtual visit appointment.

A recent study of 1,000 Americans revealed major distractions for patients while seeing their provider during their telehealth appointments. Among those surveyed, 21% report scrolling social media, 18% report exercising and 11% even report smoking cigarettes while seeing their provider.

Among these distraction, the most dangerous and distracting is driving.

Tracy Grotrian, DO, Convenient Care, Carle Health warns that while virtual visits can make things easier on busy schedules, patients should never drive a vehicle while using their phones, especially to see their provider.

grotrian-tracy.jpg“When you’re distracted while driving, you’re not only putting your life at risk but also those around you,” Dr. Grotrian said. “Of course we know texting and driving is dangerous, but trying to focus on the visit rather than the road presents a clear danger and was never the intention when offering this care technology.”

When a patient is driving during their appointment providers will pause the appointment until the patient can safely park their car or reschedule the appointment for a different time. Patient safety will always be the first priority.

Dr. Grotrian also notes that when patients drive or distract themselves, it makes it harder for them, as well as the provider, to fully concentrate on the health needs of the patient.

“When you are driving, neither you nor the provider are able to fully focus on the symptoms, concerns and solutions,” Dr. Grotrian said. “It’s so important for us as providers to know your concerns so we can help, and the distraction of driving makes that hard. For the patient, it may be hard to retain the directions your provider may give you in terms of medication, next steps and more.”

When scheduling a virtual visit with your Carle provider, it’s important to make sure the environment offers a distraction free appointment. Dr. Grotrian suggests the following tips in preparing for a virtual visit:
  • Attend the appointment in a quiet, private location away from others.
  • Choose a location that is comfortable and distraction free, like a kitchen table, home office or a quiet place living room.
  • Ensure proper lighting is available to better see the provider.
  • Check for a strong connection to the internet to avoid blurry camera quality.
  • Test your camera and microphone ahead of the appointment.
  • Close all unneeded programs and applications before starting the visit to avoid possible technical issues or disruptions.
“Virtual visits really revolutionized the way we can provide patients the care they need whenever they need it,” Dr. Grotrian said. “But it’s so important to both the patient and the provider that the appointment is distraction-free. Please do not drive while seeing your provider. We want to make sure all Carle Patients receive the best care to keep them happy and healthy.”

Virtual visits are now conducted directly through MyCarle accounts and adult patients can even self-schedule same day Convenient Care virtual visits in as little as 30 minutes based on availability. When scheduling an appointment, your provider’s office may suggest a virtual visit. Many insurance providers cover virtual visits and are subject to a copay.

Visit for a video on how to perform a virtual visit and for more information about virtual care at Carle.

Categories: Staying Healthy

Tags: “telemedicine”, “virtual, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Danville, Eureka, Hoopeston, Mattoon, Olney, telehealth, visit”

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