About virtual visits
What is a telemedicine virtual visit?
Telemedicine uses a video conferencing platform, much like Skype or FaceTime, to connect providers with patients in different locations for an outpatient appointment. Patients report great satisfaction with receiving care this way and most would recommend it to their friends and family.
What’s the difference between "telemedicine" and "telehealth"?
“Telemedicine” is the practice of medicine using electronic communications and typically involves the use of secure videoconferencing to replicate a traditional in-person appointment between a provider and a patient.
“Telehealth” is more broadly defined as the use of medical information exchanged via electronic communications and may include telephone or “audio only” services, secure email or other methods of transmission.
What are the benefits of a telemedicine virtual visit?
Telemedicine virtual visits allow patients to get care from the comfort of their home, eliminating the time and cost of traveling for an in-person visit. By seeing your provider from home, you are limiting your exposure and helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.
What are the limitations of a telemedicine virtual visit?
During a telemedicine virtual visit, you may experience technical difficulty with your connection or the software. If this happens, you or your provider can decide to stop the telemedicine visit and connect instead by telephone. It’s important to remember that if you choose to use data with your mobile phone carrier, depending on your phone plan, you may incur data usage fees.
Is telemedicine safe and secure?
Telemedicine has been used for decades and is a safe and cost effective way to attend your medical appointments. Telemedicine is subject to the same privacy rules and regulations as in-person health care services. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health’s telemedicine technology is safe, secure, and HIPAA compliant.
During the COVID-19 emergency, government regulations are allowing for the use of some videoconferencing platforms that are not-HIPAA compliant. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health is continuing to use our standard secure and HIPAA compliant tools to the greatest extent possible; however, to expand our ability to offer telemedicine services to our patients as broadly and as efficiently as possible, we may introduce other platforms. In this case, please be assured that we will do everything we can to protect your privacy and will always comply with the current governmental regulations.
Are interpreter services available for virtual visits?
Yes. If you or a family member need interpreting services, they will be made available to you, with an interpreter participating in your video visit. Be sure to let the scheduler know when making your appointment, and note your language preferences. This also applies to members of our deaf community.
What if my condition requires an in-person visit?
If, after your virtual visit, your provider determines that you need to be seen in person, the office staff will work with you to find a convenient time for you to come in.
Can my family member or caretaker participate in my virtual visit with me?
Yes, those who participate in your care may be present in your visit.
Setting up appointments
How do I get a telemedicine appointment?
Many providers throughout Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health are offering telemedicine appointments. To schedule an appointment, you can contact your provider’s office the same as you would for an in-person appointment.
What kind of technology do I need?
- You can attend your telemedicine appointment with a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health physician or provider from home using a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer.
- Make sure your device has a built-in camera/microphone, or one that you can attach.
- Preferred internet connections:
- Wired Ethernet (cable plugged into a router or wall jack)
- WiFi (wireless network in home or office)
- Cellular Network: 5G recommended; 3G or 4G not recommended unless only option available
To get ready for your virtual visit you will:
- Download Zoom, a free, easy to download, and 100% privacy compliant software.
- If you are using a mobile device or iPad/tablet, download myChart.
- At the time of your visit, log in to your myD-H portal, find the visit in your appointments list, click Details and then click Video Visit. This will place you in a virtual waiting room, where you will wait for your provider to connect with you and you will chat via video, just like you would in a Skype or FaceTime session.
What if I don’t have a myD-H portal?
We strongly recommend you sign up for a myD-H account. With myD-H you can check in for your appointments in advance, request medication refills, access your medical record and billing information, and communicate with your Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH) health care team.
The process to create a myD-H account is quick and easy.
What if I don't have the right technology or internet connection? Is there a telephone office visit option?
D-HH is committed to providing health care remotely whenever possible and clinically appropriate to keep patients and staff safe. Your provider may also be able to offer a telephone office visit option, if you are unable to connect by video.
How do I get the software?
As soon as your telemedicine appointment is scheduled by your provider’s office, instructions for downloading the software and connecting to your appointment will be available in your myD-H account, along with the appointment notification and any other documentation that may be needed at the time of your appointment.
If possible, you should download the software a day or two before your scheduled appointment.
If you do not have a myD-H account, you can also find the instructions for preparing for a telemedicine appointment on our website.
What if I have trouble or need assistance?
Does my health insurance cover telehealth?
Please note that during the COVID-19 emergency, there are special waivers expanding telehealth coverage. Under usual circumstances, Medicare, New Hampshire and Vermont Medicaid, and most commercial health insurance plans* cover many telehealth services. For Medicare there are some restrictions related to where you live and eligible locations for receiving care by telemedicine (for example, telemedicine appointments to Medicare patients at home are typically not covered). There may be limitations related to what kinds of services providers may deliver by telehealth.
How do I know if I am covered?
It is always best to contact your insurance company to ask about their coverage of telehealth appointments.