The onset of Covid and restrictions to travel and contact required doctors to make more use of a technology many had already used: telemedicine. Conducting appointments by video, they found a surprising willing acceptance by many patients.
Dr. Justin Greiwe, an allergist in Cincinnati, Ohio, is on the Joint Task Force on Technology and Telemedicine, updating colleagues on his experiences in the video below.
On the positive side, he explains, is easier follow up for patients with chronic diseases, describing the virtual visits as generally seamless. Patients expressed enhanced comfort during the pandemic in not having to travel or sit in a waiting room with potentially infected people. Greiwe says there are fewer missed appointments and cancellations. Younger, more technologically adept patients seem to have found the most satisfaction with the new option.
On the down side, he suggests older physicians may not be as comfortable with the change. Dr. Greiwe found that the wide access of the internet makes it easy for all patients to contact doctors, but says doctors are limited to only practice medicine in the state of their license. He says telemedicine won’t work for first-time visits, and doesn’t allow for a doctor’s touch, sometime needed for a diagnosis. Nurses, he points out, are an essential element of every physician’s office, and are cut out of the equation of telehealth.