David Mulligan, MD, talked with kidney transplant patient Thomas Martinsky during a recent video visit.

On Oct. 20, a few weeks after receiving a kidney from his brother, Thomas Martinsky had a follow-up visit with David Mulligan, MD, Yale New Haven Hospital Transplantation Center director.

The visit was fairly routine, but the way it was conducted marked a first in Connecticut. Dr. Mulligan was able to examine Martinsky's surgical incision, review lab test results with him, answer questions and discuss his patient's progress – all by video.

YNHH, in collaboration with Yale Medicine, is the first hospital in the state to use technology integrated into Epic to conduct a "video visit," in which patients use the secure MyChart patient portal app to connect with their physicians live.

"The video visit does not replace in-person, hands-on interactions between doctor and patient," said Dr. Mulligan, section chief of Transplantation Surgery and Immunology at Yale School of Medicine. "But office visits require patients to travel, park and wait to see the physician. For some routine follow-up appointments, video visits are just as effective and much easier for the patient. We're using technology as a tool to help us provide patient-centered care."

Martinsky had previously visited the Transplantation Center for his follow-up appointments. He will work with Dr. Mulligan and center staff to determine which future appointments should be in-person and which are appropriate for video visits.

Before each video visit, patients complete an online questionnaire, listing symptoms or side effects they're having, verifying medications they're taking and noting questions or concerns. They can have their lab tests done at an outpatient facility close to home before the video visit. "Bringing world-class care to the palm of your hand is our vision for technology at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale Medicine," said Lisa Stump, Yale New Haven Health System chief information officer. "Video visits are the perfect example of bringing this vision to life."

"This is much more convenient," said Martinsky, who connected to Dr. Mulligan's office from home for his first video visit. "Instead of two-and-a-half hours, it's a half an hour. Now I can get back to work."