March 20, 2020

Physical or Virtual?

Either or both, depending on your needs! Rheumatology started using telehealth years before COVID pandemic began, since it is one of the few medical fields that does not benefit from physical contact. Diagnosis in this field is complicated, but is purely analytical – we have no tools we can apply to patients’ bodies. We consider a ton of data points, but they come from lab testing, radiographic studies, interviews with patients and families, and the art of deep listening. Most patients feel intimidated in an in-office setting, and a casual environment offered by virtual visits produces faster results.

Since many of our patients are immunosuppressed, Dr. Bard is continuing to see many of our patients via a telehealth solution. All you need is an Internet-connected device (computer, tablet, or a phone) with a camera and a microphone. We can also offer this service to patients anywhere in the State of Texas, whereas physical appointments require proximity to our office.

If this is your first visit to our office, physical or virtual, please complete new patient forms ahead of your visit – there are two of them.

Prior to starting your telehealth visit, please download and install the WebEx Meetings application on your computer or mobile device. Once, done we encourage you to visit WebEx’s test meeting. This way you can make sure your setup is working properly. We don’t want you to waste the valuable time you can spend with the doctor! See more tips below to help you.

Just before your virtual visit, we will send you final directions by text, so stay tuned!

Additional tips for a successful telehealth session you should review at least a day before your appointment:

  • Find a quiet space where you will not be interrupted.
  • Use a headset instead of a speakerphone. You will hear the doctor better and she will hear you instead of background noise.
  • If you have a computer, laptop or a tablet, try to use one of them instead of the mobile phone. You’ll see us better and we’ll see you.
  • Position yourself so that there is no light source behind you (such as a window or a lamp). Backlight will make it very difficult to see you and to make an accurate diagnosis.
  • Don’t walk around with your phone/tablet! We don’t want you to trip and it causes us vertigo.
  • Please make sure you are dressed adequately. Remember, we have to see you!
  • If you need an interpreter, let us know! We can invite them into the same session, so they don’t need to be in the same room as you! You’ll just have to approve their presence once we all join.
  • Don’t forget to test your virtual meeting well in advance of your appointment time. Visit WebEx’s test meeting to do so. We want to make sure you get as much time as allotted instead of fighting with technology.
  • If you are a new patient, please make sure to fill out both forms. We cannot proceed without them. If you need help, please ask a family member or a friend to assist you.
  • If you have not seen us before, we need to confirm your identity. We trust you, but we have to follow the government’s rules. Please text us a picture of your government-issued ID with your photo (a driver’s license, a non-driving permit or a passport). Make sure your face is clearly visible in the photo, or we won’t be able to confirm your identity. We also need a photo of your insurance card (front and back). Our text number is (917) 473-0303 .