Explore Virtual Visits

Overview

The Mass General Hospital (MGH) Center for TeleHealth Virtual Visits Program expands access to care by connecting patients to their Mass General clinicians through a real-time, video-based technology. Patients can save on the time, cost and effort of traveling to their appointments by conducting virtual visits from the comfort of their home, workplace or any other private location. All that a patient needs to connect with their clinician is a computer (with webcam), tablet or smartphone and high-speed internet access. Virtual visits are easy to access through Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway, a secure patient portal providing access to appointment information, test results and prescription refills.

 

Since 2013, over 400 MGH providers have conducted 28,000 virtual visits in over 100 clinical areas. These areas range from the Cancer Center, Endocrine and Gastroenterology to Neurosurgery, Orthopedics and Surgery. You may learn more about some select areas that are involved by visiting their websites.

Please contact your clinician to determine if they offer virtual visits.

Tips & Best Practices

Preparing Your Computer/Device

  1. You can use almost any PC, Mac or mobile device as long as it has:
    • A high-quality camera
    • A high-quality microphone
    • High-quality speakers
    • A strong internet connection
  2. It’s best to restart your computer every day (or at least every few days) for it to run as efficiently as possible.
  3. Close any unnecessary programs and applications. These take away from resources needed for your computer to run efficiently.
  4. Install recommended updates from sources you trust, such as Microsoft and Apple. Keeping software up to date will help ensure the performance and compatibility of your device.
  5. Locate the volume control on your device. You may need to adjust the volume or mute/unmute your speakers.
  6. If possible, use a wired network connection instead of Wi-Fi to ensure the best connection possible.

Preparing Your Environment

  1. Sit a comfortable distance from the camera so your doctor can see and hear your clearly.
  2. Sit in a location without windows or bright lights behind you.
  3. Place your device on a table or desk facing you to stabilize the camera and to prevent the speakers/microphone from being blocked. We do not recommend holding your device during your visit.
  4. To keep background noise to a minimum, close any doors and shut any windows.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently questions that we receive from our patients on Virtual Visits. If we haven’t answered your question, please contact us using the information above. 

Pre-Visit

What happens during a virtual visit?

The Mass General Virtual Visits Program will allow you to conduct secure, video visits with your care provider from a computer, tablet or smartphone. It is the same world-class Mass General care from the comfort of your home, the convenience of work or from any other private location.

Am I still able to see my clinician in person if I start using virtual visits?

Of course! You and your clinician will develop a plan of care that will work for both of you.

Am I able to do these visits from work?

Yes, you may conduct these visits from your workplace, but you should check with your IT department about any firewall/network restrictions. You should also confirm that you have a reliable internet/Wi-Fi connection from your workplace location.

I’m interested in conducting virtual visits with my doctor. How do I begin?

Currently only select providers are conducting virtual visits. Please check with your Mass General provider to find out if they are participating in the Virtual Visits program or visit our Find a Virtual Visit Doctor tool.

Payment

How much will I be charged for my virtual visit?

Depending on your insurance coverage, you will be charged your usual co-pay/deductible or a Mass General TeleHealth patient fee for each virtual visit. Patients with Medicaid, AllWays Health Partners - My Care Family, Workman's Compensation, and Health Safety Net as a primary insurance will not be responsible for any fees. Please contact the Mass General Billing Office at 617-726-3884 for any additional information.

Will I still be billed if there are technical challenges during my virtual visit?

If you cancel your virtual visit or end up completing your visit by phone without a video connection, you will not be charged.

How do I pay for my virtual visit?

Following your virtual visit, you will receive a bill by mail or electronically via Patient Gateway. You may pay by phone, mail or electronically through Patient Gateway. All major credit cards and personal checks are accepted.

Is this expense HSA or FSA eligible?

Most patient payments or co-pays for medical services are eligible expenses for most HSAs or FSAs. However, we recommend that you check with your employer or health insurance company to confirm.

What should I do if I think I’ve received a bill in error?

Please contact the MGH Billing Office at 617-726-3884 if you believe you have received a bill in error.

Technical

How can I get access to Patient Gateway?

To sign up for a new account, reset your password, or access your existing account, visit Patient Gateway. You can also download the Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway app to your mobile device or tablet.

What do I need to participate?
  • A Patient Gateway account
  • A reliable internet connection
  • A reliable device that meets the following minimum requirements:
    • PC/Mac with:
      1. Chrome or Firefox as an internet browser (Virtual Visits will not work in Safari or Internet Explorer)
      2. Webcam
      3. Microphone
      4. Speakers or Headphones
    •  iPhone/iPad/Android Device with:
      1. The Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway Application
      2. Front-facing camera
Is the connection between myself and my clinician secure and private?

Yes, just like a regular doctor’s appointment, your virtual visit is entirely private and confidential. Virtual visits are never recorded or shared. However, it is very important that you conduct your visits in a private, secure location.

Why can’t I just use Skype or Facetime?

We cannot guarantee those programs are secure enough for a visit with your provider. Mass General Brigham Health System and Mass General use the most advanced and secure videoconferencing software that will protect your visit from being hacked or intercepted.

How do I start my visit?

A few minutes before your scheduled visit, log into Patient Gateway and hit the button to start your appointment. Your care provider will meet with you shortly.

How do I locate my volume control?

Depending on your device, there may be physical buttons you can use to adjust the volume, an icon on the desktop of your computer or it can be raised or lowered in the virtual visit once you are connected with your provider.

Can I invite a third party (spouse, caretaker, etc) to my appointment who would be joining from another location?

Yes, you can invite a third party to join your appointment. Please let your clinician know that you would like someone else to join at the beginning of your visit. Your clinician will send you a link to the visit, which you can pass on to the third party.

Benefits

What are the benefits of virtual visits?
  • Receive personalized and convenient care in the comfort of your home, workplace, or other private location.
  • Reduce the time, cost, and effort associated with traveling to an in-person office visit.
  • Stay more connected with your provider.

Technical Help

If you need assistance getting ready for your visit, please call us at 617-724-2654 or email us.

We know what time to be on and we just connect. I find a sense of comfort doing virtual visits with the doctor in my own home. It allowed us to achieve what it is we want to achieve. I feel like we’re a team.

TelePsychiatry Patient

Find a Virtual Visit Doctor

Please contact your doctor’s office directly to see if your provider offers virtual visits.