Stay-at-home orders may still be in effect, but your child’s health doesn’t know that. Whether it’s routine visits or an unexpected health concern, Stanford Children’s Health’s telehealth options can be the solution when you can’t get to the doctor’s office. We caught up with Dr. Anita Juvvadi, a Stanford Children’s Health pediatrician at Juvvadi Pediatrics, and asked her how telehealth can help parents and kids stay healthy. Read on to learn more!
How can telehealth help parents and kids?
Parents can save time doing a telehealth appointment not only with diagnosis but also follow-up visits, which means less time missing work or school. Telehealth can help prevent the spread of illness by allowing parents to get that assessment before sending a sick child to school. It’s really convenient.
What types of appointments are a good “fit” for telehealth?
I like to divide them up into four categories. One is behavioral and developmental assessments and routine screenings. This can be helpful because kids behave differently in an office environment then they do at home, so it can give a doctor a really nice window into a child’s day. The second thing would be skin conditions like rashes, scrapes, bruises and even wound follow-up. The third thing would be allergic reactions and common contagious or bacterial issues like pink-eye. The fourth thing would be injuries: with a lot of young athletes who get hurt at soccer practice or the playground, we can use telehealth to assess if it’s a sprain or more serious and decide how to treat it. We can determine if a child has a concussion and if that child needs further treatment.
How does a telehealth appointment work? Do I need to make an appointment?
Telehealth appointments are a great alternative to an in-person visit. Essentially, the doctor can connect with the patient either from their office or even their own home for an appointment, using a secure live forum. You typically need to have a smartphone or laptop to ensure you can use the system. Sometimes you can do it with a phone call and sharing a photograph, but most of the time it is using some form of secure video chat.
Should I keep my child’s regular check-ups during shelter in place?
Most pediatric practices are continuing to recommend that you can keep the appointment for babies under 2 years of age, especially so that they can keep up with their scheduled vaccinations. For children over the age of 18 months, we are asking that parents consider postponing visits until later in the year so that the appointments can be kept for children under 18 months and more urgent visits.
Are there precautions I should take if I go into an office for an appointment?
The first thing you want to do is confirm with the office before a visit. Please do not walk into an office or an urgent care clinic without calling ahead first. The other thing is that during this phone call your doctor’s office can help determine if an in-office visit is necessary or if a telehealth appointment is possible.
If you do go in for a visit, prior to the appointment it is really important to let the office know if the child has symptoms of any kind; a cough, a runny nose, how long these symptoms have been present, etc. The more information, the better so that we are not putting yours or other kids at risk.
It is a good idea to ask, although the answer will likely be yes, if the clinic has adequate PPE (personal protective equipment). You should also wear a mask, as well as your child. And, lastly, we are recommending that just one parent come in with your child.
Is there anything that I need to have ready for the appointment?
Your office will make the appointment in advance, just as with a regular appointment. They will call you, usually a few minutes prior to the appointment, to confirm the connection works. You’ll need access to a webcam and good lighting.
As with any appointment, it is essential to provide the doctor with as much information in advance as possible, including symptoms and even a photograph if there is an injury. The goal is to be able to diagnose and provide a prescription or care as needed, just as with an in-person appointment. If the doctor needs additional information, such as a follow-up image, they can request that as well.
How long should I expect the appointment to last?
Anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
Whether you’re looking for care during shelter-in-place or an ongoing way to communicate with your doctor, telehealth is an excellent way to “visit” your doctor from the safety and comfort of your home. Learn more about telehealth at Stanford Children’s Health.
Dr. Anita Juvvadi
Dr. Juvvadi completed her pediatric residency training at the University of California San Francisco and has been in practice since 1997. She founded Juvvadi Pediatrics in 2004. Her special interests include behavior and developmental pediatrics. For her, becoming a pediatrician was a clear path. She never thought of doing anything else. Dr. Juvvadi, a board certified pediatrician, says she finds the long-term relationships that she builds with families to be the most rewarding part of being a pediatrician.