With the primary goals of patient safety and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in mind, UT Health Austin offers telehealth appointments for those in need of primary and specialty care. This means you can see a healthcare provider from home while we remain under “stay at home” orders during the outbreak. This also gives you an opportunity to virtually check in with a clinician if you have been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to determine potential next steps. We do have capacity and have optimized our ability to see patients in person if your provider determines this is necessary.
*This page is continuously updated and information may change. For the latest information, please be sure to check back regularly.*
What is telehealth?
Telehealth allows healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology. This allows patients to talk to medical providers directly, face-to-face, and access information about treatments for themselves or loved ones virtually from the comfort of their own homes. Telehealth helps reduce exposure to COVID-19 for both patients and providers and ensures patients who need acute or ongoing medical care are still receiving high-quality patient-centered care. This is a new service offered at UT Health Austin that we are hoping to expand and continue to offer for patients in the future.
What kind of care is provided through telehealth?
Telehealth is a great care option for new patient visits, follow-up visits, medical monitoring, management of chronic conditions, medication management, specialist consultations, and non-life-threatening acute care needs. Most clinics at UT Health Austin are providing telehealth appointments. However, in-person appointments may still be recommended for patients if a physical exam needs to occur that cannot be done electronically or if there are immediate testing or imaging needs. Telehealth appointments are suggested as the main course of action for the majority of patients during this time, but providers may decide when an in-person visit may be more appropriate.
If you are suffering from a life-threatening condition or need in-person care immediately, please visit your local emergency room or call 911.
What type of technology do you need for your telehealth appointment?
UT Health Austin uses a secure video conferencing platform called Zoom, which can be easily installed on your computer or smartphone. For information on how to install and use Zoom on your desktop, browser or mobile device, visit here. For a video on how to join a Zoom meeting, visit here. Any standard computing device, including computers, tablets, and smartphones, with a modern internet browser and internet connection will work for your telehealth appointment.
*For technical support using Zoom for your UT Health Austin telehealth appointment, you can call 512-937-4394.*
How does Telehealth work at UT Health Austin?
To set up a telehealth appointment with a provider at UT Health Austin, you can call 1-833-UT-CARES (1-833-882-2737). A health representative will then help you get your appointment scheduled with the correct healthcare provider. You will need to provide or confirm an active email address and phone number. Once you are confirmed for a telehealth appointment, you will receive an email from UT Health Austin that will include the necessary pre-appointment forms that need to be filled out prior to your appointment.
It is extremely important that you fill out the necessary pre-appointment forms prior to your telehealth appointment, your provider may not be able to conduct your appointment until that information is received.
You will then receive a Zoom meeting invite via email from your healthcare provider that will include the date and time of your appointment and a link to join your virtual meeting. On the date and time of your appointment, you will join your Zoom meeting and your healthcare provider will conduct your appointment.
How can you pay your bill?
At this time, telehealth appointments are covered by most insurance companies and are billed the same as in-person appointments. Your bill will be mailed to the address you have on file, or you can access and pay your bill online through your UT Health Austin Athena patient portal.
Where can you see your patient summary?
You will have access to your results and a complete visit summary within the UT Health Austin Athena Portal. You may also continue communication with your providers after your visit by sending secure messages through your patient portal.
Tips for your visit
Before your telehealth appointment, it might be helpful to have the following on hand to help with the preliminary discussion:
- A blood pressure cuff
- Pulse checking device
- A list of medication you are taking
- Your medical history
To ensure you and your healthcare provider get the most out of your appointment you should do the following:
- Create your free Zoom account here
- Go to a quiet, well-lit, distraction-free area
- Test the video, audio, and speakers on your computer, tablet, or smartphone
- Hold device steady, rest it on a sturdy surface, or have a guardian hold it
- Keep device 18-24 inches from your body so the provider can see you and properly diagnose your condition if needed
Patient Privacy Telehealth Statement
UT Health Austin takes patient privacy seriously. We currently use Zoom as our virtual visit platform. It’s important to understand the Zoom teleconferencing platform has multiple different instances with specific levels of security for each instance. Unlike the free and basic versions of Zoom, UT Health Austin uses a secured instance of Zoom intended to provide telehealth services which contains additional security controls. The virtual visit instance includes secure video, audio, and content sharing which uses high level encryption technology (AES 256 encryption) to ensure connections between our health care providers and our patients. UT Health Austin has also enabled secure waiting room features, access control features, and transport encryption to ensure UT Health Austin and Zoom also have a Business Associate Agreement, an agreement required under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to ensure appropriate privacy standards are followed to protect patients’ health information. The Business Associate Agreement ensures that Zoom maintains the privacy and security of patient health information transmitted in the virtual platform to protect our patient’s privacy. Patients with specific questions about the privacy and security of Zoom virtual visits can contact UT Health Austin at 512-937-4394.