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Published on May 05, 2020

Brian Wells and his dogs

Virtual Visits Keep Patient and Oncologist Connected

The many restrictions that now are part of life didn’t delay an appointment Brian Wells had with his doctor.

Wells met with Avera Medical Group medical oncologist Benjamin Solomon, MD, even though they were miles apart – Solomon in his Sioux Falls office, and his patient at his home in Elk Point, S.D.

“It was good meeting – the connection was clear and the sound and picture quality were really impressive,” Wells said. “It reminded me of a regular in-person appointment I would have.”

Wells was among the first Avera Cancer Institute patients to take part in the new Avera Virtual Visits service. He’s receiving Solomon’s treatment for two tumors, so “seeing” his doctor without delay was welcomed.

“It was a clear connection and I got good news – the chemotherapy we’re using has actually reduced the size of one of the masses. That means I won’t have another CT for about four months, instead of two,” Wells said. “It’s always better to get that sort of news right away – waiting for information can make a person apprehensive.”

Wells, who operates his own computer repair and tutoring business, said the steps to get “logged in” and use Avera Virtual Visits were pretty straightforward.

“It might be a little trickier for someone who isn’t as tech-savvy, but it wasn’t really too hard,” he said. “At the start, we had a little chitchat about using it, and how it looked on either end.”

After that, Solomon got to the heart of the matter: the update on his test results and the CT he had taken earlier that day.

“It wasn’t rushed, but it did feel like we got down to business a little faster than we might have face-to-face,” he said. “But Dr. Solomon’s personality was the same and it was certainly more immediate than a phone call.”

Avera Virtual Visits are expanding to include many specialties in health care.

“We appreciate our patients who cooperated with us on these first few virtual visits, so we could get used to them and feel how they work, and how they differ, from a traditional appointment,” said Solomon. “Communication between provider and patient is a critical part of care, and this new channel will allow us to maintain better communication than we might using only phone calls.”

Wells used the AveraNow platform for his visit. Patients can also use AveraChart to conduct telemedicine appointments with doctors. You should call your clinic prior to setting up your account to make sure your appointment can proceed.

Learn more at Avera.org/virtual-visits.

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