Telemedicine is a great way for patients to see me, stay connected, but not have to drive in.
In the era of social distancing, many clinicians are now adapting their practices to meet the needs of patients outside of a traditional office setting. Telemedicine has historically been used as an emergency response tactic to offset overutilization of health services.1 Through its capacity for effective remote assessment and triage of patients, telemedicine may decrease the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19. When clinicians are able to work remotely with patients, it prevents unnecessary in-person visits, which frees up critical clinic and hospital space.1 In turn, it helps lessen the burden on front-line healthcare workers in hospitals.2
Telemedicine is also a convenient option for at-risk populations, such as the elderly or immunocompromised, who can seek care at home and minimize risk of exposures. Virtual visits help patients stay connected and offer peace of mind during these challenging times.
Additionally, adopting telemedicine as a practice modality may allow clinicians to expand the scope of their practices without having to relocate and can provide greater access to care for patients who live in rural areas. Studies suggest that telemedicine visits may be as effective as in-person consultation,3,4 and patients report high satisfaction with the quality of the communication with their clinician and their perceived time saved.5,6
In the following video, Cynthia Worden, DO, discusses her practice model and the advantages of telemedicine, for both patient and clinician.
Dr. Worden is board certified in family medicine by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians and is a diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Medicine. After practicing integrativefamily medicine for over 10 years, Dr. Worden opened her own practice, Bloom Functional Medicine, which serves the greater Portland, OR, area. In addition to telemedicine, she also offers group visits with a focus on cardiometabolic disorders and their prevention.
- Portnoy J, Waller M, Elliott T. Telemedicine in the era of COVID-19. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. Published online March 24, 2020. doi:10.1016/j.jaip.2020.03.008
- Smith AC, Thomas E, Snoswell CL, et al. Telehealth for global emergencies: implications for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). J Telemed Telecare. Published online March 20, 2020. doi:10.1177/1357633X20916567
- Speyer R, Denman D, Wilkes-Gillan S, et al. Effects of telehealth by allied health professionals and nurses in rural and remote areas: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Rehabil Med. 2018;50(3):225-235. doi:2340/16501977-2297
- Bashshur RL, Howell JD, Krupinski EA, Harms KM, Bashshur N, Doarn CR. The empirical foundations of telemedicine interventions in primary care. Telemed J E Health. 2016;22(5):342-375. doi:1089/tmj.2016.0045
- Polinski JM, Barker T, Gagliano N, Sussman A, Brennan TA, Shrank WH. Patients’ satisfaction with and preference for telehealth visits. J Gen Intern Med. 2016;31(3):269-275. doi:10.1007/s11606-015-3489-x
- Kruse CS, Krowski N, Rodriguez B, Tran L, Vela J, Brooks M. Telehealth and patient satisfaction: a systematic review and narrative analysis. BMJ Open. 2017;7(8):e016242. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016242