Virtual doctor's appointments surge in popularity amid coronavirus pandemic

Pikeville Medical Center is using telehealth services to communicate virtually with patients....
Pikeville Medical Center is using telehealth services to communicate virtually with patients. This will help patients avoid unnecessary office or hospital visits as a preventive way to help lower the risk for contracting COVID-19.(WSAZ)
Published: Apr. 16, 2020 at 5:22 PM CDT
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Instead of postponing non-essential medical appointments, virtual appointments grow in popularity and efficiency.

"There are a lot of things that I can do virtually now, just as well, whether in person with me or not," said Dr. Michael Corcoran.

As a family physician, Dr. Srivani Sridhar can see a multi-generational household, all in one virtual appointment.

"Patients seem to be very happy to have the option to do the telemedicine. We have two options we do either telephone visits, or if these patients do have a smartphone available or a laptop, we can do video or virtual visits. We do prefer the virtual visits because we can actually see the patient. That's gone really well," said Dr. Sridhar.

For specialty medicine, like podiatry, providers like Dr. Michael Corcoran said the use of online consultations is a game-changer.

"I still want you to do these exercises. It's not something I want you to just sit and wait through until the pandemic is over," said Dr. Corcoran.

Both doctors say by treating the telehealth sessions with the same detail that they would an office visit, it can save a lot of time and trouble.

"The main thing is you just want to make sure really, it's just one person talking at a time, because it can get kind of confusing. So, you want to try to make sure that you arrange in order for everyone to be seen, you know, quote unquote, so that it's still organized and you get the full history about every single patient," said Dr. Sridhar.

The doctors say an added benefit is many insurance companies are recognizing the sessions as in-person appointments, easing concerns over payment.