By Rakhee Langer, vice president, healow telehealth solutions, eClinicalWorks.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it sparked revolutionary change across the health care industry, from a more focused need for ongoing communication with patients and telehealth solutions. Practices immediately had to shift their in-office visits to an online presence — changing with the times.
Initially, there was hesitation from both the patient and the provider whether conducting online visits would prove to be on par with in-person visits. However, the concerns surrounding technology adoption were quickly mitigated and both patients and providers found that telehealth was not just easy to adopt but also facilitated a productive medium for care.
During the peak of the pandemic, almost all visits were conducted via telehealth, helping to ensure the safety of both the patient and the provider. It was key to determine which types of visits could be done over telehealth.
We found that providers across all specialties—including neurology, behavioral health, pediatrics and dermatology—found ways to continue providing effective and comprehensive care. Of course, there are exceptions and certain types of visits that require an in-person physical examination.
However, physicians have found that telehealth is an avenue to conduct pre-surgery consults, post-surgery follow-ups and screenings in which it may not require the patient to come into the office. All specialties, including urgent care centers, have begun to use telehealth as well as solutions for check-in and bill payment that limit contact and thus reduce potential exposure to COVID-19.