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Telemedicine Is Here to Stay

Hand holding cell phone with female doctor on it

01/04/2021

In the wake of the COVID-10 pandemic, medical practices will look at ways to incorporate videoconferencing “telehealth” visits more broadly, says Nursing Chair and Prof. Heidi Fantasia.
 
Before the pandemic, telemedicine was available but underutilized, often because insurers wouldn’t pay health care professionals for telehealth appointments, she says. Now, practitioners know how valuable and convenient it is, especially for mental health services, follow-up appointments, or an early assessment of symptoms such as a rash or cough, she says.

“Providers are going to look more closely at what can be handled via telehealth and what requires an office visit,” she says.

One likely benefit of providing services via telehealth in the future is that some patients will seek care for potentially serious conditions when they first experience symptoms, instead of waiting until they’re sicker and treatment is costlier, she says.

“Often, it takes people longer to drive to the office, find a parking space, get checked in and wait in the waiting room than it takes for the actual visit, and that causes a lot of frustration,” she says. “Sometimes, that’s all a person needs as an excuse not to go to the doctor.”

Fantasia also predicts that home care visits by nurses will increase, especially for frail, elderly patients.