Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Telemedicine?
A: Telemedicine is the provision of health services using a secure video-conferencing system where the health provider and the patient are not in the same physical location but they see and talk with each other in real-time.
Q: What is Telepsychiatry?
A: Telepsychiatry is the practice of psychiatry using a secure video-conferencing system. Patients and doctors can both be anywhere they have a secure internet connection.
Q: What is Telemental health?
A: Telemental health is the practice of mental health using a secure video-conferencing system which may be provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, or other mental health providers.
Q: What is the advantage of healthcare provided using telemedicine systems?
A: Convenience, Time, Cost savings, and often more timely access to healthcare.
Q: How do you ensure your doctors provide high quality care?
A: We carefully check all doctor’s credentials and have quality review processes in place similar to what happens is other health clinics.
Q: What kind of doctor or therapist will I see?
A: It depends on your needs, but all of our patients have to have an initial consultation to establish care with one of our doctors. They will work out a treatment plan with you and will arrange for you to see appropriate professionals.
Q: Do your doctors have malpractice insurance?
Q: Do you provide me with the necessary videoconferencing equipment?
A: You must provide your own equipment. Most computers have a webcam and a microphone. You also need a high-speed internet connection. We will provide you with a link to our physicians virtual clinic room prior to your consultation.
Q: Do I get IT support ?
A: Yes. We have technical support for patients using HLN to make sure our systems are functioning properly, and we have back-up systems if needed.
Q: How often can I see a doctor or therapist?
A: That is a decision that will be made jointly between you and your doctor and/or therapist. Most doctors should be able to tell you approximately how often you will need to be seen, and for how long.
Q: What if my doctor or therapist is on vacation or sick?
A: We have other providers who will cover them.
Q: How do I make an appointment?
A: You can do it online through this website.
Q: Why do I have to pay up front for my appointment?
A: We work in the same way as most specialists in private practice. That means that you have to pay for the full consultation, usually by credit card through our website, at the time of the consultation, and then you will then be able to get a receipt to claim from your insurance company. The charges our doctors make are available on this website and are similar to those charged in private practice.
Q: Why don’t you give a refund if I forget my appointment or fail to give 48 advance notice to cancel?
A: This is usual practice in most clinics
Q: What if I have an emergency?
A: You must always call 911 for an emergency. You have to provide us with you primary care doctors contact information as part of your registration process so that we can always contact your own family doctor in emergencies. We also have to have a telephone number from you so that we can contact you via phone if there are technical or clinical problems.
Q: What if I have to cancel an appointment?
A: You can do so via email or online. Once an appointment is scheduled, you will be expected to pay for it unless you provide 48 hours advance notice that you need to cancel.
Q: Can I be seen when I’m overseas?
A: Yes. Remember that you will most likely have to find and buy your medication locally as US prescriptions will not be accepted overseas.
Q: How does the doctor prescribe medications for me?
A: Medications are prescribed electronically or called into the pharmacy of your choice. Certain prescriptions do require a paper prescription and in those instances, the doctor will mail you the prescription to you.
Q: What if I need a physical exam?
A: We will ask your primary care doctor to do this.
Q: Why do you require that I give permission to interact with my Primary Care Physician?
A: To provide high quality care it is essential that our doctors can ensure that if you need a physical exam you have someone to see
Q: How do your doctors keep records?
A: We have a sophisticated electronic medical record that all our doctors use.
Q: Can I see my medical record?
A: You can request a written summary from your doctor regarding the care that has been given to you. If you wish to have a full copy of your record you have to formally request this in writing through our website.
Q: How do I communicate with my doctor or therapist, and how do they communicate with me?
A: Messages can also be exchanged through your personal health record on our website. Some of our doctors do give out their cell phone and other access information.
Q: Does the therapist or doctor record me in any way?
Q: Can I record the session?
Q: Are the consultations confidential?
A: Yes, HLN consultations are confidential just like in- person consultations.. However, just as in the case of in-person healthcare there are circumstances in which information can or must be released. Your psychiatrist may be subpoenaed to testify in a court of law . They also have an ethical duty to break confidentiality if they believe that you are a danger to yourself or others, or if others are at risk from you, where they have a duty to warn those people. If your psychiatrist wishes to communicate with someone, you will normally be asked to sign a “Release of Information” and to specify for how long the release will remain in effect.
Q: Can I be seen in the evenings or on weekends?
A: Many of our providers offer evening and weekend hours.
Q: How do I know the doctor I’m seeing is licensed to practice in my home state, and has not had complaints filed against them?
A: Every State has a Medical Board where an individual can go to check out Physicians. Every state also has licensing Boards for other health professionals where you can verify that the providers is properly licensed. In California, you may obtain information about a physician from the Medical Board of California by calling (916) 263-2382 or going to their website.
Q: Why do I have to sign a telemedicine consent form?
A: This a requirement currently in the state of California.
Q: Do you have Standards of Practice?
A: Yes. In fact our doctors were lead authors in writing the national guidelines published by the American Telemedicine Association which are linked on this site.
Q: Is it legal to see patients on telemedicine?
A: Yes. All patients must be given what is called an appropriate prior examination (Business & Professions Code Section 2242 and 2242.1). This examination, however, need not be in-person, if the technology is sufficient to provide the same information to the physician if the exam had been performed face-to-face. Hence telemedicine is completely legal, and physicians practicing via telemedicine are held to the same standard of care, and retain the same responsibilities of providing informed consent, ensuring the privacy of medical information, and any other duties associated with practicing medicine.
Q: How does the doctor know I’m me?
A: To get an initial appointment for evaluation and treatment, you must first fax or upload a government issued photo ID and evidence of current legal residence address.
Q: Will HLN doctors prescribe narcotics or other controlled substances?
A: No. But if you need these, we would refer you to your primary care provider.
Q: Can I get medical marijuana from your doctors?
A: No. Our doctors do not prescribe medical marijuana using the HLN telemedicine system.
Q: I need a disability examination or a workers compensation evaluation. Will you do it?
A: No. You will have to see a local doctor who specializes in these.
Q: If I am suicidal or homicidal. Should I use telepsychiatry?
A: No. Call 911 or go to the local emergency department.