how do telemedicine visits work?

Since March 2020, Dr. Orna has used telemedicine exclusively for all her patients — and they love it.


  • It requires no travel time.
  • You don’t need to put on a coat in the winter, or leave the a/c in the summer.
  • You can check in from anywhere — as long as you’re in Alaska or Oregon.
  • You can use your computer, your phone or any web-connected device.

All you need is a private place, decent internet service and good lighting. And, the secure, HIPAA-compliant system Dr. Orna uses, doesn’t even require a download.

A lot of folks have questions about telemedicine: how it works, what its limitations are, insurance coverage and best practices to get the most out of these appointments. So I’ve written up this guide to offer answers about how telemedicine works in my practice.

how does telemedicine work?

Once you book an appointment, you’ll receive an automated email confirmation and then reminders in advance of the appointment. Each of these emails includes the meeting link, so you always have it handy. If you accidentally delete those messages, call the office or send a message through your patient portal on IntakeQ.

Enter virtual waiting room for
Dr. Orna Izakson

Enter waiting room

Telemedicine by


When it’s time for your appointment, just hit the link and the doctor will be right with you.

The appointment then proceeds as would any other office visit. We’ll talk about your concerns, dive into what might be causing them and discuss options for treatment.

One limitation of virtual meetings is that we won’t be able to do any direct physical examination. That’s the part of the visit where I would listen to your heart and lungs, palpate your abdomen or assess muscle strength and extremity range of motion. But since most of my patients are checking in about long-standing issues, conversation is generally sufficient. If you have a concern that does require physical examination, I will refer you to a colleague who can perform this well and keep me in the loop.

insurance coverage

Since the pandemic started, rules governing telemedicine have relaxed — including access to insurance reimbursement. Some things may tighten up again when we move to whatever the new normal looks turns out to be, but many aspects of telemedicine are likely here to stay.

As of this writing, most insurances will cover telemedicine appointments the same way they do in-office visits. Your copay and access to providers should be the same. (Although when in doubt, ask. Click here for info on checking your insurance benefits.)

The one tricky thing about telemedicine is this: The doctor must be licensed in the state where you are at the time of your appointment. If you are physically in Alaska or Oregon during an appointment with me, we are golden. Some folks who live near the Oregon border will literally drive across and sit in their cars to keep appointments legal. If you’re on vacation in another state, please let me know at least 48 hours in advance of your appointment. Depending on the rules in the place where you are, we may need to reschedule for when you’re back at home.

troubleshooting tips

Like all internet things, sometimes the platform doesn’t work as smoothly as we’d all like. Here are some common issues I see with this system and what you can do to fix it.

  • can hog bandwidth. It’s best to be in a place with stable internet, and close as many windows or web applications as you can.
  • Like many common platforms, you’ll have microphone, speaker and camera options on the bottom of your screen. If you have trouble with any of these, check that you’ve got the proper input and output devices enabled.
  • Good lighting really helps! This is especially important for telemedicine, where the visual is part of the medical evaluation. You don’t need to set up anything special, but being in a well-lit place helps. If it’s bright outside, try to have the window in front of your rather than behind, as the camera will shade you to compensate for the outdoor light.
  • To improve privacy and sound quality, consider using a headset. If we have a lot of echo or lag, we can mute the sound on and talk by phone. (I will call you if this happens.)

Ready to get started? Hit the button below to make your appointment. I look forward to seeing you online!



P.S. Do you prefer Zoom? HIPAA-compliant Zoom appointments are also available. Just let us know on your intake form, in the patient portal or with a phone call.