Rising to the Occasion with Telehealth
GBMC is taking every precaution to keep our patients and employees safe (click here to learn more), including providing telehealth video visits. According to Dr. Motter-Mast, “this was a project we had been working on prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and we were ready to go when this happened. I would say it’s going amazingly well.” By the end of May 2020, GBMC practices will have completed more than 18,000 video visits and patient feedback has been very positive.
“Patients generally find it much more convenient than coming into the office,” she explained, “they appreciate that there is no travel and that wait times have decreased.” The primary challenge that clinicians and patients are facing is technical. It can be difficult at times to ensure the technology is working and that patients have everything they need to complete their appointment. GBMC uses the MyChart patient portal to perform video visits and the team works proactively with patients to make sure everything is working before the time of the visit.
Appointment preparation may also include having the patient gather information that would normally be measured in the office such as weight, blood pressure, and glucose levels. “Those little pieces of information provide us with a lot of facts that help us do our work as clinicians. They are very important and that is something that we communicate with the patient to see if they can gather any of that information before their appointment,” explained Dr. Motter-Mast. “Our goal is to provide care for patients with chronic conditions, not just those with acute issues.”
She acknowledged that while video visits are an excellent option for most patients, there are still cases that need to be seen in the office. Clinicians actively work with their patients to determine when in-person care is needed. Dr. Motter-Mast encouraged patients to communicate with their care team if they have any concerns.
When asked about the future of telehealth, Dr. Motter-Mast responded: “I think it’s absolutely here to stay.”
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