by Jerry Markus
Imagine seeing your health care provider in the comfort and privacy of your own home, office, car, or even miles away while you are fishing or at a cabin. As long as you have a good Wi-Fi connection or cellular signal and a smartphone, computer, or tablet, you can see your health care provider for anything from a minor illness, chronic condition management, behavioral support, or preventative care visit.

This is now a reality at most Southcentral Foundation clinics using a new, secure video telehealth program on Zoom, a cloud-based video and audio-conferencing platform. Customer-owners can use the platform with a computer, laptop, mobile device, or tablet. Primary Care Provider Allison Critchlow reported that Elders have been especially enjoying the face-to-face experience Zoom provides. “These are customer-owners that I had had some phone visits with but then we switched to Zoom. They stated that they haven’t been able to get out much and to be able to actually see the provider on their computer screen was therapeutic in itself.”
Customer-owners with children or unpredictable schedules have also found telehealth visits to be convenient for them. “[It eliminates the stress of] finding transportation and childcare. Customer-owners appreciate being able to show . . . conditions that otherwise would need to be seen in person. [Zoom is] easy to use and saves time,” says Primary Care Provider Elizabeth Harding.

If needing assistance in joining a telehealth visit, Zoom’s help center (support.zoom.us/hc/en-us) is a terrific resource for guides and video tutorials. “It is very easy to set up! Customer-owners have been very happy and grateful that they can connect virtually,” noted Anna Pfhal, a Primary Care Provider. Ask your provider team about this option the next time you call for a visit.
Here are some great reasons to use a telehealth visit:

  • No risk of exposure to other illnesses
  • Convenient and comfortable setting
  • Eliminate travel time and cost
  • No waiting rooms
  • No arranging of childcare
  • No need to take off time from work, since the visit can be done during a break time
  • You can include who you want in the visit, even if they are miles away
  • Choice of connection options — phone, computer, or tablet
  • Improves access — other health care providers can easily join the visit
  • Reduces costs to the system — helping to improve and expand services

If a telehealth visit isn’t a suitable option for you, SCF clinics have practices in place to make your in-person visits safe. SCF is performing verbal screenings with every customer-owner who enters a clinical building. During the screening, individuals are asked about recent travel, recent contact with people who are sick, and potential symptoms of COVID-19. Once customer-owners are cleared to enter the building, a wristband is provided to signify successful completion of the screening and a face mask is provided if they do not already have one.

When in a clinical building, face masks are required and must be worn correctly, covering the mouth and nose at all times. With both employees and customer-owners wearing a mask, everyone can feel more comfortable visiting SCF clinics when they need to see a provider. Social distancing is practiced when possible, and frequently touched surfaces are sanitized often.
Visit southcentralfoundation.com or use the reference below to locate the clinic’s phone number in your area and schedule your telehealth visit today.

By SCF Public Relations
While a sense of normalcy has been rare in recent months, many Southcentral Foundation departments are working to provide services for customer-owners as consistently as possible. Services such as SCF’s Physical Therapy and Exercise began offering an online option via Zoom, allowing customer-owners and employees to participate in exercise classes from the comfort and safety of their homes.

Though there is no replacement for in-person interaction, the reach for this service has gone beyond Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Borough participants. Rural customer-owners have joined in and connected with SCF physical therapists and class instructors and thanked employees for the opportunity in a time where rural visits may be difficult.

“People have shown a lot of gratitude and appreciation for hosting the classes,” said Senior Exercise Physiologist Sara Tansey. “They have also expressed gratitude for clearing spaces in our homes to allow for classes. There’s been a lot of fluctuation in online participation over the time the virtual classes have been offered, but this is to be expected during the summer when people are more able to get outside for their physical activity.”
SCF Physical Therapy and Exercise aims to provide something for everyone at various times throughout the day, including Morning Stretch, Basic Yoga, Boot Camp, Pilates, and more. A variety of classes and activities for every skill level are offered for customer-owners to participate in.

To join a Zoom class, follow these simple steps:
Visit Zoom.us in your browser on the day and time of the desired class.
Select “Join a Meeting” in the top left corner of the screen.
Enter the meeting ID for the desired class (meeting IDs are published with the class schedule).
Enter the meeting password: Exercise
Get moving!
View the class schedule by visiting the SCF Physical Therapy and Exercise page at southcentralfoundation.com. For questions or feedback, contact SCF Physical Therapy and Exercise at (907) 729-6683.