Ottumwa Health Group Launches Telehealth Services

Virtual visits connect patients and providers beyond the clinic setting

Ottumwa Health Group announced today that it has added telehealth to its offerings. Specialties available include Primary Care, Urology, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Gastroenterology (GI) and Wound Care.

“We are pleased to offer convenient telemedicine solutions to help connect patients and providers, and ensure the continued delivery of high quality care,” shared Wayne Gatewood, Director of Physician Practices at Ottumwa Health Group. “As the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve, telehealth capabilities enable our clinical team to practice social distancing to further reduce the spread of illness while still meeting our patients’ health needs. We look forward to the many ways this new offering will further advance our mission of Making Communities Healthier.”

For patients who meet certain clinical criteria, Ottumwa Health Group is offering two types of telehealth visits: telephonic and televideo. A telephonic visit is simply a patient phone call with a provider, and a televideo visit is a virtual, face-to-face visit with a provider using a video conferencing service. Virtual visits may not be available in all cases and will be evaluated based on a patient’s specific clinical needs.

New or existing patients can request a telehealth visit by calling the provider’s office, just as they would for an in-person visit. The provider will determine if a telehealth visit is appropriate based on the patient’s health condition. If the virtual visit is deemed clinically appropriate, the patient will be given an appointment time and instructions for the best way to connect given the available platforms. Then, instead of coming to the office, he or she would call back at the scheduled time and be “checked in” by a nurse or front office receptionist, and then transferred to the provider for the call or two-way video.

“My wife Kristi and I needed to set up appointments to see our primary care provider, Shelley Bechtel, NP. We are both in our mid 50’s and have preexisting medical conditions. So, the thought of leaving the house made us nervous,” said Joe Hollingsworth, a patient at Ottumwa Health Groups Eddyville Clinic. “Then we found out telehealth was available. They set us up immediately. Check-in was quick and easy. We received the same great care we have come to expect from Ottumwa for years. We’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

A few restrictions on telephonic visits may apply, including that they cannot be utilized to treat patients for a condition that the patient has been seen for in the previous seven days, and they cannot be used to treat a condition that the patient is already coming in for within the next 24 hours.

Patients who are concerned they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to consider telemedicine appointments to help further reduce the spread of respiratory illness. Leveraging telemedicine also conserves personal protective equipment (PPE) and other clinical resources that are needed when treating a patient with suspected COVID-19 in the clinic or hospital setting.

To learn more or to set up a telehealth appointment, please call Ottumwa Health Group at 641.684.3241.