KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Summit Medical Group is now offering telehealth appointments. The move allows current or new patients to meet with physicians virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of going into a doctor’s office or clinic, patients can live video chat on their smart phone or computer from their homes.

Dr. Benjamin Huff gave WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel a look at what would be a typical telehealth appointment. Huff is a family medicine physician with Summit Medical.

“We talk to a lot of people about their upper respiratory symptoms,” he said. “We follow up on medications that we’ve started. I’ve got people that they’re following up on their blood pressure or diabetes. And we’re able to just, ‘hey how are these things going from this standpoint? How are you doing?’ It’s that face to face reassurance, with that rapport that we’ve got with our patients to just kind of encourage them in these trying times.”

The medical group is offering video and phone appointments, so patients can get the care they need without leaving their homes.

Dr. Huff sends his patients a link via text or email. By clicking the link, patients are sent to a virtual waiting room and able to connect with Huff online.

“We want it to work for all of our patients, whether or not they were technologically savvy or challenged,” he said. “I think we’re all just trying to be available and just trying to help everybody navigate through this.”

Right now, it’s also an added layer of safety. Summit Medical says patients being assessed remotely helps further limit the potential spread of infectious diseases, like COVID-19.

“This gives us an ability to see those patients that need to go that step further to where they are not exposing themselves unduly or exposing others with the virus,” Dr. Huff said.

We’re told Summit Medical Group patients should call their primary care physician’s office to set up a telehealth appointment. New patients should view the list of physicians here, who are currently accepting new patients, and then contact the office of their choice to set up an appointment.