Pollen, dust mites and pet dander! Oh, my!

allergy-sick-wipe-nose-sneezeFamilies struggling with the spring allergy season have a high-tech tool in the battle. The telehealth service, called Sentara MDLIVE, offers patients easy and immediate access to a team of board-certified physicians licensed in the state of Virginia, via Webcam, phone or email. These doctors can diagnose allergies and prescribe necessary medications during the “virtual visits” – saving patients a trip to the doctor’s office.

Over-the-counter medications, including saline nasal sprays as well as antihistamines currently available are often sufficient to effectively control the symptoms of hay fever, says Kimberly Smith-Griffin, M.D., a physician with Sentara Internal Medicine Physicians in Chesapeake, Va.

Smith-Griffin also recommends taking a shower and putting on fresh clothes after being outside for any length of time to avoid even more exposure to the yellow stuff. When over-the-counter medications aren’t controlling the symptoms, Smith-Griffin recommends consulting a doctor.

“The good news is that there are effective allergy treatments available for adults and children. Sentara MDLIVE allows you to receive the care you need whenever it’s most convenient,” says Smith-Griffin, who also takes call for Sentara MDLIVE.

The service is available to all Virginia residents (and nationwide) and the visits are often covered by insurance providers. If not, the cost of a visit is $45 —  significantly less than an ER or Urgent Care visit.

Sentara MDLIVE is not limited to seasonal allergy ailments; patients can use the service for any non-emergency condition including a cold or flu, sinus infection or mild respiratory problems.

How does it work?
Log on to www.mdlive.com/sentara or call 1-800-335-4836 to get started. You’ll consult with a board-certified doctor using your computer and a webcam or the telephone. Virtual appointments are usually scheduled within minutes of registration and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sentara employees covered by Optima Health and Cigna insurance benefit from a substantially reduced co-pay. Employees can learn more by searching for “Sentara MDLIVE” on WaveNet.

 

Read More

grandfather&childatholidays

Holiday gatherings may stir Alzheimer’s concerns

 Know the Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

(L-R) Bethany Gilstrap, PsyD, and Melissa Hunter, PsyD, are clinical neuropsychologists with Sentara Neurology Specialists.

By Melissa Hunter, Psy.D. & Bethany Gilstrap, Psy.D.

The holiday season is a time families gather and spend quality time with loved ones. It is also a time that can raise questions about the cognitive health of aging family members. With Alzheimer’s disease in particular, it is important to know that it is not a part of normal aging. If you notice any of the following warning signs, encourage your loved one to see a doctor.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on one’s own.
What’s normal: Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.

2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
What’s normal: Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
What’s normal: Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.

assisting a patient at Sentara Neurology Specialists.

4. Confusion with time or place:  People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
What’s normal: Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, vision problems are a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.
What’s normal: Vision changes related to cataracts.

6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).
What’s normal: Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
What’s normal: Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.

8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
What’s normal: Making a bad decision once in a while.

9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
What’s normal: Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
What’s normal: Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

Editors note: This post was originally published on Dec. 19, 2012.

About the Authors:
Melissa Hunter, Psy.D., and Bethany Gilstrap, Psy.D., are clinical neuropsychologists at Sentara Neurology Specialists
in Norfolk, Va. They work to evaluate and recommend care for patients with cognitive and emotional problems.

 

 

Read More

pollen138009198[1]

Hampton Roads Allergy Sufferers Can Log on for Relief

Sentara MDLIVE Helps Families Cope with Allergies this Spring

Allergy season has arrived, bringing telltale yellow pollen-covered cars and a battle against itchy eyes and runny noses. The 2013 Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American ranks two Virginia cities (Virginia Beach and Richmond) among the top 22 cities in the US in their “Spring 2013 Allergy Capitals” list (allergycapitals.com).

Over-the-counter medications, including saline nasal sprays as well as antihistamines currently available are often sufficient to effectively control the symptoms of hay fever, says Kimberly Smith-Griffin, M.D., a physician with Sentara Internal Medicine Physicians in Chesapeake.

Smith-Griffin also recommends taking a shower and putting on fresh clothes after being outside for any length of time to avoid even more exposure to the yellow stuff. When over-the-counter medications aren’t controlling the symptoms, Smith-Griffin recommends consulting a doctor.

Families struggling with the spring allergy season have a new high-tech tool in the battle. The telehealth service, called Sentara MDLIVE, offers patients easy and immediate access to a team of board-certified physicians licensed in the state of Virginia, via Webcam, phone or email. These doctors can diagnose allergies and prescribe necessary medications during the “virtual visits” – saving patients a trip to the doctor’s office.

“The good news is that there are effective allergy treatments available for adults and children. Sentara MDLIVE allows you to receive the care you need whenever it’s most convenient,” says Smith-Griffin, who also takes call for Sentara MDLIVE.

The service is available to all Virginia residents (and nationwide) and the visits are often covered by insurance providers. If not, the cost of a visit is $45 —  significantly less than an ER or Urgent Care visit.

Sentara MDLIVE is not limited to seasonal allergy ailments; patients can use the service for any non-emergency condition including a cold or flu, sinus infection or mild respiratory problems.

How does it work?

Sentara MDLIVE visits are covered for Sentara employees covered by Optima Health insurance – learn more by logging onto your optimahealth.com account.

Or you can log on to www.mdlive.com/sentara or call 1-800-335-4836 to get started. You’ll consult with a board-certified doctor using your computer and a webcam or the telephone. Virtual appointments are usually scheduled within minutes of registration and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Read More

stethoscope

Sentara/MDLIVE partnership in virtual medicine

Sentara/MDLIVE partnership to create a new model for virtual access for healthcare.

Sentara vice presidents Grace Hines and Ken Krakaur have been working hard with a team of Sentara employees to create a unique partnership in virtual medicine. We wanted to find out more about our partner, MDLIVE, and what this partnership means for how we deliver care, so we spoke to Krakaur and Hines. 

Sentara Today: Virtual Medicine sounds very futuristic. Tell us about MDLIVE and why Sentara partnered with them.

Ken Krakaur (KK): MDLIVE created a state-of-the-art virtual consult platform that connects patients with a licensed physician to diagnose and treat simple illnesses such as allergies or a urinary tract infection. Sentara partnered with MDLIVE because we saw the opportunity to establish the industry standard for virtual care within an integrated health system.

Ken Krakaur

Grace Hines (GH): We know healthcare is changing and Sentara is on a mission to transform the way we provide care. We need to increase our patient capacity as more than 1 million uninsured Virginia residents gain access to health insurance in 2014 under provisions of the Affordable care Act. Virtual consults are one way to expand patient capacity and address consumer demand for 24/7 healthcare options.

Grace Hines

Sentara Today: How does a virtual consult work?

GH: I tried out MDLIVE early on when we were working on the project. It’s such a convenient option. The patient speaks to the doctor by a secure, real-time connection either via online video or by phone. It can be done using tablets and mobile phones, too. The patient receives a diagnosis and follow-up instructions. Patients can have a prescription filled if needed.

KK: One of the nice features is that it’s available 24/7. Late night ear infections, weekend sinus flare ups or holiday flu, Sentara MDLIVE is there. We love that about the platform.

Sentara Today: What does the partnership mean for Sentara?

GH: In addition to offering a co-branded, Sentara-powered MDLIVE experience in Virginia, this positions us to pave the way for future advances in virtual healthcare delivery. And for some of our physicians it will be an opportunity to participate as part of MDLIVE’s panel of providers. In time, the virtual visit will become part of the toolkit to care for patients.

KK: And though we don’t have the final just details yet, Sentara employees will receive this service as part of their benefits beginning in 2013. Stay tuned for more details during open enrollment in October 2012.

Sentara Today: Now that the partnership is in place, what happens next?

GH: MDLIVE.com is currently available to consumers and the Sentara option will launch to consumers in Virginia beginning in October.

KK: Next steps also include adding interested Sentara Medical Group physicians into the MDLIVE panel of expert physicians and launching a campaign to spread the word about this service in Virginia. At the same time, we’ll be looking at how to best integrate this technology into how we provide care.  We expect to talk to a lot of different parts of our organization to see how the virtual health platform can help them succeed.

For more information on Sentara MDLIVE, go to www.mdlive.com/sentara. You can also sign up to receive email updates.

 

 

Read More