Mayo Clinic is happy to offer telemedicine as an option for patients interested in seeking care. Modern technology provides a virtual platform for health care providers and patients to initiate partnership in care in a secure, safe and convenient way.
From a New York Times article (May 5, 2020):
“Calling my patients at home, with or without video, has become my new normal. After 25 years of being a pediatrician, telemedicine is teaching me new ways to communicate with families.“
“I try to hear the mother above the babbling of her baby. And then to listen to the babbling of the baby. Is it joyful? Are there big breaths between the babbling?“
A federal government waiver, issued early in March, expanded the use of federally funded health insurance — Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program — to pay for telemedicine visits. The goal was to allow more people with symptoms of illness to be heard, and sometimes also seen, by a health care provider without the risk of exposure to coronavirus at a doctor’s office or hospital.
The federal government has been expanding the use of telemedicine for years — but like so many changes in this pandemic, what used to take years to transform, we are now doing within weeks.
From Johns Hopkins Medicine (April 30, 2020):
“A lot of our pediatric divisions are now seeing 80% or more of their patients by video or telephone,” says Hughes.
The Children’s Center’s preparations for the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, were unwittingly sparked by pediatrician Helen Hughes and her early work in telemedicine outreach for pediatric subspecialists. In 2018, she spearheaded development of a telemedicine collaboration with the Talbot County Health Department on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
The goal was to ease the burden of long treks to Johns Hopkins’ Baltimore campus for young patients — especially medically complex patients — for follow-up visits. At the time, she said, “This is where the future of health care is headed. Video technologies can allow us to do so many things for our patients without having to see them in person every time.”
The Children’s Center, notes Hughes, had been conducting between zero and eight video visits per month for the past two years. In the second half of March, after the coronavirus had clearly arrived, Johns Hopkins pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists saw 800 patients via telemedicine. That number increased to 1,400 telemedicine visits in the first half of April. Additionally, MyChart users in April jumped to 71%.