With coronavirus concerns sweeping the state and nation, local hospitals are increasingly using telemedicine to limit contact and conform to social distancing.
Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, AdventHealth Central Texas, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and Baylor Scott & White Hospital all have telemedicine procedures in place to serve their patients.
Telemedicine appointments are conducted via video or phone call and the person with the appointment can speak to their physician from the comfort of their home and receive immediate feedback, according to Lucy Taylor, the marketing and communications specialist for Seton.
Taylor provided more information on telemedicine within the hospital in an email on Thursday.
The hospital is providing telephone and televideo visits for its patients.
“This technology became available earlier this year when SMCHH and Wellstone Health Partners launched Epic, a new electronic medical record system. This system is used by over 250 health care organizations nationwide. Epic allows for one chart to follow patients through the multiple areas in which they receive care,” Taylor said.
Taylor also shared what has changed when it comes to appointments.
“Appointment times are not changed without electronic or verbal consent by the patient. Once a patient schedules a telehealth visit, an email is sent to the patient with login information and a meeting invitation is sent to their calendar,” Taylor said. “An email is sent to the patient with the visit date and time and includes details on accessing the portal.”
Mikaela Cade is the spokeswoman for Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and she said that telemedicine is nothing new for the hospital.
“CRDAMC has been using telemedicine for quite some time. Telemedicine allows us to expand our capacity to provide care to our patients,” Cade said. “Telemedicine also allows us to expand our capacity by connecting beneficiaries to services that may not be offered here. Telemedicine is an efficient and also convenient option for care in the current environment as it allows people to access medical care without leaving home.”
Erin Riley, the public relations and marketing manager for AdventHealth provided information on telemedicine for the hospital as well.
“At our clinics, we have implemented a tele-health option for establishedand new patients for our AdventHealth Medical Group and our AdventHealth Family Medicine Rural Clinic providers,” Riley said in an email.
She also outlined the changes to appointments because of telemedicine.
“Patients still go through every step as if they were in the clinic. From the front desk, medical assistant, and to the provider — just no physical exam. In addition, our specialists are seeing emergent patients, who cannot be seen via telehealth, in the clinic. The providers work with patients to see which option (tele-medicine or in-person) best meets the patient’s needs,” she said via email on Thursday.