“The genie has been let out of the bottle.”
Virtual Visits with your provider are here to stay, according to CHI Health Orthopedic Surgeon Matt Dilisio, MD. “The pandemic is going to change the way we deliver health care in many ways. One positive change is how providers are using telemedicine.”
The “genie” he refers to is a virtual doctor visit using a computer or cell phone. The patient and Dr. Dilisio see and talk with each other using Zoom, a video conferencing tool. He’s visited with patients at their work, their home and – in one memorable case – a fast food parking lot.
He says his patients love the virtual doctor visits. “We see a large number of patients from western Nebraska and other locations who travel several hours to get to us. This is going to be tremendously more convenient for them for both initial visits and follow-ups.”
Another doctor whose patients appreciate Virtual Visits is CHI Health Obstetrician/Gynecologist John Cote, MD.
“Virtual Visits fit perfectly into the social distancing paradigm,” he said, because it allows patients who are concerned about coming to the clinic the option to still see their doctor. “And it’s also convenient for the patient to not have to leave his or her home or place of employment.”
While not all appointments are appropriate for Virtual Visits, he said, it’s a good option when the provider deems it appropriate.
Another physician said not only are the visits convenient, they’re good for providers.
“They miss their patients and truly care about their patients,” said Michael Schooff, MD, CHI Health Primary Care Medical Director.
After recent weeks of semi-isolation, he said there’s a joy in the patient and provider being together again – even if only virtually. “It lets providers and patients reconnect and video strengthens that connection beyond what a phone call does. Everyone I talk to smiles when they talk of their experiences.”
There are times when providers need to listen to patients’ hearts and lungs, examine their abdomens and extremities, check their vital signs, perform procedures and more. That’s when patients need to come to the office, according to Dr. Schooff.
But that’s not every time. And providers appreciate being able to reach out to patients in the comfort of their homes, easing their concerns while providing care and a genuine connection.
“Isn’t that what we want – now of all times – to bring joy and happiness in our lives and in the lives of others?”