Virtual Office Visits Vs In-Person Appointments

Virtual Office Visits Vs In-Person Appointments

By: Alecia Parks • Posted on December 21, 2017

Online Health Information

As a nurse for Dr. Holly L. Thacker in the Cleveland Clinic Center for Specialized Women's Health and a Family Nurse Practitioner student, I have been learning about women's health care as well as comprehensive care for adults and the intersection between the medical and surgical fields.

I find that many patients in our Center as well as across the country and globe, often use the Speaking of Women’s Health website as a valuable tool. Information on is from Dr. Thacker and other reputable physicians, including:

  1. Nurses
  2. Allied health
  3. Nutritionists
  4. Fitness experts
  5. Medical colleagues in many different specialties An Invaluable Resource for Women's Health Information is an educational and empowering digital platform for women and their families to go to in order to answer the many questions we all have:

  • Pregnancy
  • Contraception
  • Sexual function
  • Menopause and beyond

We have all the health topics covered! In addition, there are terrific treatment guidebooks that are free to download.

It is not easy being a mother, sister, daughter as well as working while experiencing symptoms that often make you not feel like yourself. Dr. Thacker’s nurses and I all use Speaking of Women’s Health as a resource to help our women patients. We encourage all women to browse the website because many of your answers can be answered in a matter of seconds to minutes from vulvar careto the latest news on hormone therapy.

You can also find the following on

Who Should I Make an Appointment With?

However, sometimes digital health information is not enough and you should be seen by a health care provider for your health concerns as well as preventive care.

That brings up the question: Who should I make an appointment with? The question about whether to go to urgent care, your primary care doctor, a women's health specialist like Dr. Thacker, or a mid-level provider or another specialist can sometimes be difficult.

Should I be seen in person? Or can I access a virtual electronic visit?

Many physicians like Dr. Thacker, as well as midlevel providers are now offering virtual appointments, which is exciting and a convenient option, especially for the following types of patients:

  1. Those who live far away
  2. Those that can not take time off of work or time away from family members
  3. Those who need evaluation and treatment plans that do not require an in-person visit

When an In-Person Visit is Necessary

Some times, however, an exam or procedure is required which is a reason for a face to face appointment. Many physicians, both specialists like Dr. Thacker as well as primary care physicians work collaboratively with mid-level providers like Physician Assistants and/or Nurse Practitioners.

While Dr. Thacker offers CustomFit physicals for women, her nurse practitioner handles routine pap smears, IUD placements and common outpatient problems like bladder and vaginal infections. Mary Clarkin, CNP works closely with Dr. Thacker and can prescribe certain refills and perform an annual breast and pelvic exam visit.

We have specialists that focus on:

Scheduling an Appointment with the Center for Specialized Women's Health

Dr. Thacker’s office is just a click away by calling or sending a MyChart message to the nurses. We can answer most of your questions and/or help direct you to the appropriate provider.

As a sunflower donor club member and/or in advance of your CustomFit physical, we can also direct you to the right department for your symptoms and coordinate this conveniently for you. Sometimes the hormone therapy regimen is just not quite “working” how you want it to, so this warrants a follow up visit with Dr. Thacker to discuss other treatment plans perhaps in one of her popular 90 minute shared visits.

Maybe you might be having abnormal vaginal symptoms such as itching, abnormal discharge, or an odor, Mary Clarkin, CNP can see you in the office the same or next day for this in order to start treatment. However, if you experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or feeling as if your heart is racing too fast, then this warrants a visit to the Emergency Department as well as a follow up with your Primary Care Physician.

Do not ever hesitate to utilize the health tools and resources you need. Be proactive, keep your medical records just like you do for pet health and car repairs! Speaking of Women’s Health can enhance your knowledge on issues pertaining to your health as well as your family.

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!
-Alecia Parks, RN, BSN and Nurse Practitioner student

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