(ABC News) – The big question on many minds is how to see a doctor when we are supposed to be staying home and social distancing. The answer is telemedicine, using your phone to see your physician, and it’s becoming popular.
Seeing a doctor remotely via video, phone or text has never really picked up steam until now.
“In a crisis such as COVID-19, our goal is to benefit the public and decrease the risk of infection and telemedicine is a perfect opportunity to do that,” said Dr. Rahul Sharma.
Telemedicine allows those who are immunocompromised or quarantined to get a doctor’s advice from home. It can also keep patients who believe they may have the coronavirus out of the emergency room where they could spread the disease to others. Some are just looking for reassurance, like 54- year-old Sharon from Maryland
Sharon has concerns about exposure with her elderly mother-in-law is coming to visit this week.
“She’s 89, and she’s had cancer. So i really I’m not sure if I should be nervous or cautious.,” Sharon said.
Through telemedicine, Sharon’s doctor is able to examine her over the video call.
Some companies are seeing huge increases in telehealth visits.
“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in visits,” said Dr. Mia Finkelston. “Right now, our most common visit is an upper respiratory infection, which is, you know, common cold, sinusitis, fever, cough, a lot of these symptoms are the same symptoms you see with COVID-19.”
Dr. Finkelston said that 80% of diagnoses are made through taking a patient’s history. And teledocs have some medical tricks to help get around not seeing patients in person.
“So while I might not be able to listen to someone’s lungs, I can actually look at their respiratory pattern,” said Sharma. “If they’re actually breathing fast, we can actually have the patient take their own heart rate.”
Sharon’s visit took 10 minutes, and she says it was well worth the peace of mind
“The re-assurance is awesome. That’s number one. And number two, me not having to go into a place that has germs around it. If i don’t have to expose myself, that’s terrific,” Sharon said.