As we’ve all learned in recent years, many things can be done online, from business meetings to academic classes and even primary care. Kinwell didn’t have to look far to find their first virtual care clinician. Dr. Jlyn (pronounced JAY-lin) Pritchard worked for Vivacity Care in Spokane and stayed on as those clinics merged with Kinwell. With ten years in practice, Dr. Pritchard was an early proponent of delivering primary care online.
“I’ve been doing this since 2017,” Pritchard said. “I was in private practice and right on the frontier of telemedicine. And then Covid hit, and everyone was on the bandwagon, but we were already set up and ready to go. A lot of primary care really doesn’t need an exam, just good communication and close follow up. There are conditions that can’t be managed virtually, but for the vast majority of people, it’s the perfect way to bounce thoughts off their clinician.”
Kinwell knows how important such communication is for effective healthcare. Their approach to primary care is based on longer appointment times that encourage honest conversation between patient and clinician. Pritchard estimates that three-fourths of primary care involves asking questions and listening, with only one-fourth requiring a hands-on exam.
“Kinwell’s longer appointment times already establishes the environment for more thorough care,” Pritchard said. “In virtual care patients can show us the location of pain, demonstrate their range of motion, or indicate the nature and distribution of a rash. We utilize video chat similar to how we might utilize a physical exam. Most of all, we listen. This is important in virtual care because the physical exam aspect of the visit is removed.”
Patients receiving care online only need to visit a clinic for lab tests or when additional screenings or referrals are necessary. Virtual care is a popular choice for busy patients who want to avoid a drive to the nearest clinic. Patients who live in rural areas can even designate Dr. Pritchard as their primary care provider.
“Virtual care better fits into the lives of busy people,” Pritchard noted. “As a mom, nothing bugs me more than having to drive 45 minutes to see a pediatrician. With virtual care, the patient has a unique experience because much of the inconvenience of driving and parking is removed. This is my favorite part. It removes the typical barriers to care in many cases, allowing convenient care from your home, your office, or on the go. And according to research, outcomes from virtual care with a skilled clinician are the same as those from in-person care.”
Virtual care appointments can be made online or by calling 833-411-5469. Patients will need to download required software and test their system before their first virtual appointment. For information on how to prepare for a virtual appointment, read this how-to article.