Telemedicine climbing amid pandemic

Health

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Non-Covid questions have many of us turning to the next best thing: virtual doctor visits or telemedicine.

The coronavirus outbreak has many of us avoiding the doctor’s office and turning to high tech.

Now getting care is just a touch away on a smart phone or personal computer. Daily visits through telemedicine are skyrocketing.

“We had around 34 video visits, today we have around 2,200,” says Dr. Pamela Hoffman, in just a little over a week.

She’s the Medical Director of the joint Yale Medicine & Yale New Haven Health System Telehealth program.

“We have everyone from psychiatry doing telemedicine,” she says. “Dermatology doing telemedicine, certain oncologists/cancer doctors are seeing their patients via video visits.”

Who can benefit from a virtual appointment? Dr. Hoffman says mostly everyone.

“It really is a clinical decision for the provider to decide, can we get the most that we can from a video visit or do we want that patient to come in?”

What should patients expect?

Dr. Hoffman says, “I can’t touch an abdomen to see if it is tense. I can’t listen to the lungs. But I can watch a patient and actually get their respiratory rate. I can get some vitals over video.”

Anything suspicious like a rash or mole is easily shared.

“Get yourself comfortable with it. This is not going to be a one and done thing. We don’t know how long this is going to last, so getting comfortable with the technology is going to be helpful,” says Dr. Hoffman.

Also helpful she adds, “Once you’re in that visit, this is the same thing as when you are in-person, please come prepared with questions. Your provider can only answer the questions that you give.”

Yale New Haven Health patients can access telehealth through the electronic medical record system – EPIC My Chart. There are a number of systems who offer it.

Long term, the pandemic could change inpatient visits as we know it.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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