There’s never a good time to face a serious medical condition — and certainly not in the middle of a global pandemic. But that’s where Tiffany found herself on September 4, 2020.
“I had a unique case in that I was 44 and having a stroke,” she says. “I’m young and healthy. No issues. No high blood pressure or anything like that.”
In fact, a large percentage of people have strokes and never know why. Tiffany adds, “I needed someone who was going to really be persistent about figuring out what caused my stroke. So, I knew I needed to go to Emory.”
Tiffany chose neurologist Fadi Nahab, MD, stroke quality director at Emory Healthcare, to provide her care. “I chose Dr. Nahab because he’s the best,” she continues. “I mean, he leads the stroke program at Emory.”
Safe, Secure and Convenient
Emory Connected Care is Emory Healthcare’s telehealth service. It offers a safe and secure way to have a visit with your health care provider from a distance via the internet. With the aid of your smartphone, computer or tablet, you and your provider can see each other almost like you would if you were in the same room together.
The service uses Zoom, a videoconferencing tool that became especially popular during the coronavirus crisis. Our version is specifically designed for health care settings. It is HIPAA-compliant, meaning it meets all the standards to keep your personal health information private and secure.
Patients like Tiffany often need ongoing care after they’re discharged from the hospital. But getting to a face-to-face appointment can be challenging for many people. And, during COVID-19, when social distancing was important, it was safer, in many cases, not to be in a room together. Emory Connected Care lets people in Georgia see their health care team without having to leave their home.
“All of my conversations with Dr. Nahab have been through telemedicine, which has been great because it’s really convenient,” says Tiffany. “And if you think about it, most of your visits with your doctor, nine times out of 10, are conversations.”
What to Expect with Emory Connected Care
While not appropriate for every medical appointment, telehealth visits can be used for specialty care management in brain health, cancer care, women’s health and several other areas of medicine. They may also be helpful when people have acute illnesses like colds or sinusitis, require follow-up care for chronic conditions, or need to see their provider before getting a prescription refilled.
You get complete instructions on using Emory Connected Care before your scheduled visit, and there is a number to call if you need assistance.
Telehealth visits are much like in-person appointments and generally last about as long. In many cases, you first see your provider’s assistant or nurse. Then you visit with your provider directly, offering updates on your health, asking questions, or sharing concerns just as you would if you were in your provider’s office.
Benefits of Telehealth
Tiffany’s telehealth visits may have started during the COVID crisis when there was a need to socially distance, but she quickly realized Emory Connected Care’s value. Her doctors identified the cause of her stroke. And now, with treatment, she’s nearly back to her pre-stroke self. Telehealth follow-up visits are focused on monitoring her recovery and keeping her from having additional strokes in the future.
“It’s been super convenient because I’m not driving 45 minutes to an hour or having to park and go into the building,” she says.
What’s more, she’s been able to have her husband join her on her chats with Dr. Nahab. That was important, because after her stroke, she felt like her brain wasn’t working as quickly as usual. She found it helpful to have a second set of ears to hear what the doctor said and make sure she processed the information correctly.
At the time, due to COVID restrictions, only patients were allowed to attend in-person appointments. With Emory Connected Care, Tiffany’s husband could quickly jump on a call while at work, hear everything Dr. Nahab said to her and get back to his job with minimal disruption to his schedule.
“That is the one positive that I can say came out of the COVID pandemic,” says Dr. Nahab. “The tremendous work that Emory Healthcare did to really revamp how we provided care through telemedicine, not only just in-person. And it made a huge difference in terms of Tiffany’s care.”
For many people, it can be intimidating to try something new, especially if a computer is involved. But according to Tiffany, that shouldn’t hold anyone back.
“For patients who are kind of apprehensive about telehealth, I would say get over the fears of the technology, because it’s worth it, especially if your life is at all busy,” she says. “You can be on and off, and back to your life in no time.”
Emory Brain Health Center
The Emory Brain Health Center uniquely integrates neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, rehabilitation medicine and sleep medicine and transforms patient-centered care for brain and spinal cord conditions through research and discovery.
Bringing these specialties together allows more than 400 researchers and clinicians from different areas to collaborate to predict, prevent, treat or cure devastating diseases and disorders of the brain more rapidly. These collaborations are demonstrated in numerous centers and programs across the Brain Health Center, including the Epilepsy Center, Pituitary Center, Stroke Center, Treatment-Resistant Depression Program and Veterans Program.
Emory’s multidisciplinary approach is transforming the world’s understanding of the vast frontiers of the brain, harnessing imagination and discovery to address 21st century challenges.
Learn more about comprehensive, diagnostic and innovative treatment options at the Emory Brain Health Center.