Connecting Seniors with Virtual Care

Last updated on July 28, 2023

Recent Telehealth Presentation at Senior Center Gets High Praise

April Wallace is a clinical IT business support analyst in the IT dept. at Covenant Health.  As with all Covenant Health employees, she puts patients first in everything she does. In addition to her skills and training, April has a gift for working with senior citizens. Her passion for helping others came forth in a recent presentation she gave to help senior citizens use technology to meet their healthcare needs.

She spoke with a group of two dozen seniors at the John T. O’Connor Senior Center in downtown Knoxville on July 27, 2023. The participants are older adults ages 50+ who are completing a course about telehealth, and each received a Chromebook to take home upon the completion of the course.

April Wallace
April Wallace gives a presentation at O’Connor Senior Center about the benefits of telehealth.

April covered ways the seniors can stay connected and involved in their own healthcare. Here are her key takeaways:

Benefits of Virtual Care

  • Convenience- When you’re not feeling well, the last thing you want to do is get ready and travel to the doctor’s office- this allows you to do it from your own home.
  • Access– for those that might not drive any longer or don’t have transportation and have to rely on other methods of transportation. Mobility issues can also be an issue for senior patients going to office and a virtual care visit can be very helpful.
  • Reduce Sickness. whether you are sick or someone else is- lessening contact helps reduce the spread of infection and disease.
  • Family/Friend involvement– telehealth appointments make it easier for others to attend your virtual care visit- if your loved ones live out of town or have a work schedule that prevents them from attending. (i.e. children of patient or trusted friend that helps with their healthcare) then virtual care is a great option.

How to use the Patient Portal

  • Ability to review your own medical records for accuracy and completeness- accessing your patient portal before or after a doctor’s visit helps you to be more involved in your own health care.
  • Know your numbers. It’s important to know numbers such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and other vital signs so you can adjust lifestyle factors as needed.
  • Faster results. This allows the patient to interact with their doctor’s office in a different way- the ability to send a message in your own words and receive test results faster (by accessing them online instead of waiting for a phone call or follow-up visit)

April refers to her favorite quote, which is from Bob Ross. “A motto that expresses what I like about my job would be, “As long as you’re learning, you’re not failing.

She says, “I feel this is relevant for myself personally that I feel the need to continue to learn new things which my job allows and demands of me, and I love helping others learn the skills they need to win in their situation and life.”

April provided a demonstration of the Covenant Health Patient Portal and conducted a faux physician visit using telehealth. The goal of this class was to equip senior adults with the computer skills necessary to be able to safely navigate the internet and engage in telehealth appointments. These classes are provided through a partnership with CAC Office on Aging and Tech Goes Home Tennessee.

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