Telemedicine is a Gift to High-Risk Patients

Jennifer Arnold by Jennifer Arnold Additional Needs

Jennifer Arnold

Jennifer Arnold

I’m passionate about raising awareness about disability issues through education and outreach. When I’m not wearing my writer hat, I’m usually tryi...

These past few months have been pretty stressful for everyone.

Still, if there has been a silver lining to this pandemic, it is that many medical practices and clinics are providing a telemedicine option for those who are high risk.

As the parent of two kids with significant special needs and multiple specialists who are two and a half hours away from home, this has been an absolute blessing.

No long drives with cranky kids, no worrying about being exposed to anything in the waiting room, and not taking up a whole day just for a 20-minute appointment is enormous in our world.

I love the fact that I can click on a button and do an appointment by Skype or Zoom. It’s a considerable time and money saver, and I hope the option is extended beyond the pandemic.

Even though some specialties require a face-to-face visit, (such as our pulmonologist-you can’t exactly listen to lung sounds over Zoom). The more virtual appointments we can do, the better.

We were introduced to telemedicine a few years ago when my daughter was referred to a psychiatrist. We have no almost no pediatric specialists in our rural area, but our local clinic had an option for virtual visits. They have always taken place at the clinic, but during the stay at home orders, we were able to those appointments from home as well.

Tele-health expands access to much-needed care in so many ways, whether we are in the middle of a pandemic or not.

It not only reduces the risk for vulnerable people, but gives people in rural communities, people with little access to reliable transportation, or people may not have the mobility or the resources (such as a caregiver) to leave their home, the ability to receive the quality care they need and deserve.

It can also reduce emergency room visits. How many people automatically head to the emergency room for minor symptoms? I know I’m guilty of this, especially with our youngest son who has chronic lung disease. I don’t regret bringing him in, because I would rather be safe than sorry, but it would have made life so much easier to be able to have a virtual assessment before to at least gauge whether it was warranted to bring him in at all.

Telemedicine can also be cost-effective for the clinic, with lower overhead and liability costs. It also increases efficiency in scheduling and has a higher appointment compliance rate, according to recent studies.

Hopefully, Telemedicine options will continue to increase beyond this weird new abnormal that we find ourselves in!

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