What patients need to know about virtual Well Woman visits

September 17, 2020

As the pandemic forces health care to adapt, virtual Well Woman visits can be offered as a safe approach to timely care.

The following information comes from 'Guide to effective virtual visits during COVID-19,' a peer-reviewed feature article published in our September issue.

Why should I consider telehealth?

Depending on the need for social distancing, the majority of important screening performed in a well-woman visit can be done through a video conversation. This may allow you to do this in the comfort of your home in a more convenient timeframe.

When should I be seen in the office?

By using screening video visits, we ensure that only the patients who need to come to the office should come in. If in the screening, we identify a reason for you to come to the office, we will weigh the need for social distancing with the urgency of your visit.

But how can it be an annual well-woman visit without a Pap test and an exam?

In the patients without symptoms, the benefits of performing certain elements of the physical exam (clinical breast exam, speculum exam, and bimanual exam) is not clear and need to be discussed in the context of fear, anxiety, and discomfort. The decision to perform an exam should be made after a discussion with your physician.

Based on your prior Pap smear history, and risk factors, you may not need the Pap test (cervical cancer screening) this year, and it may be spaced out as far as 5 years.

These guidelines ensure that you get the fewest number of pap tests and unnecessary procedures while receiving the appropriate screening.

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