The Pandemic Silver Lining
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the rapid transition to virtual health care for everything from preventive care and treatment of minor illnesses to specialty care, including behavioral health. Virtual care is a broad term that encompasses all the ways health care providers remotely interact with their patients. In addition to assessing patients by phone, doctors and other providers may use live video, audio, and instant messaging to communicate with their patients remotely.
At the onset of the pandemic, many health care providers shifted from mostly or only office visits to solely virtual care, allowing patients to receive both acute and ongoing care while staying safe and socially distanced at home.
Even before COVID-19 occurred, University of California Health (UCH) was reshaping health care delivery by expanding virtual care services to complement in-person visits and increase patient access. The longer-term goal is to use virtual care for increasingly complex medical needs, giving patients greater access to specialists without the nuisance and expense of traveling. The pandemic accelerated the realization of this goal with UC providers now providing multiple levels of care for more people across the state.
While virtual care is expanding health care access to more and more people, it's not always the best choice for everyone or in every situation. For example, the elderly and those with cognitive or physical limitations may be challenged to operate computers and mobile devices. Many rural communities offer only limited broadband. And those who have difficulty reading or understanding the log-in instructions will be challenged to connect. Technology can also make it more difficult for providers to recognize non-verbal cues, such as subtle facial expressions that may be more apparent in a one-on-one setting. For these people, in-person office visits may continue to be the most appropriate choice.
What's Best for You?
If you need help deciding, talk to your doctor about what they recommend for your situation, or call the Nurse Advice Line at (800) 893-5597 to receive real-time support for routine health concerns.
Providers on Call
Access video appointments 24/71 with a board-certified doctor through Babylon. Download the Babylon app and follow the steps to register your account. Use the membership registration code: HNCOM.
1 Behavioral health services are open Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Pacific time.
Are You Vaccinated?
Health Net Makes It Easy to Get Vaccine-Protected
Every year thousands of adults in the U.S. become seriously ill and are hospitalized because of diseases that vaccines can help prevent. Many adults even die from these diseases, including measles, meningitis, hepatitis B, and others. By getting vaccinated, you can help protect yourself and your family from serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.
For hundreds of years, vaccines have helped control and wipe out disease and viruses. Thanks to vaccines, many serious diseases are no longer common in the United States. But these diseases still exist and can spread when people aren't vaccinated. Even if you received the vaccines you needed as a child, the protection from some vaccines can wear off and can leave you at risk for disease due to your job, travel, or health conditions.
Work with your doctor or nurse to stay up to date on recommended vaccines. Getting vaccinated is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself against serious, preventable diseases.
Health Net has a variety of resources and tools to manage your health needs during this crisis. For more information and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine, go to Health Net COVID-19 Resource Center.
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