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  • Cameron Oglesby

Telemedicine isn’t just good for primary care.

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

Last month, as Virginia was starting to reopen, I wrote about the advantages of using telemedicine for primary care. It turns out that, thanks to modern high-definition video, it’s just as good for many kinds of specialist visits, too – particularly periodic visits for managing chronic conditions. Obviously, telemedicine eliminates exposure to possible Coronavirus infection. But it also saves you the time and bother of driving to a specialist’s office and the delay of sitting around in a waiting room. It also lets specialists see more patients per day. That’s good for both of you, because you won’t need to schedule appointments as far in advance.

While telemedicine doesn’t work for every condition and every specialty, you’ll be surprised how many it does work well for:

Cardiologists can check how well your ongoing treatment plan is working (particularly if you own a blood pressure cuff and know how to use it), make modifications if needed, and help you comply with follow-up instructions.

Dermatologists can diagnose and treat many skin conditions via high-def video – from checking moles to triaging more serious problems.

Endocrinologists can manage chronic conditions including diabetes (especially if you have a glucometer) and thyroid disease. They can also adjust hormone and hypertension treatments.

Gastroenterologists can treat long-term illnesses that entail managing multiple medications – such as ulcerative colitis, hepatitis C, and Crohn’s disease. In addition to medication management, they can review diagnostic test results and provide dietary counseling.

Hematologists and Oncologists can use video visits to monitor patients, control meds, and administer treatment plans for patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, iron deficiencies, and other complex conditions.

Infectious Disease Specialists can monitor symptom progression, manage medications, and respond to unexpected side effects – all while reducing exposure risks to you, other patients, their staff, and themselves.

Nephrologists can help patients slow the progression of kidney disease and minimize the need for dialysis or kidney transplants. They can also provide at-home plans for patients recovering from kidney-related surgery.

Psychiatrists and other mental and behavioral health specialists can diagnose and treat using telemedicine.

Pulmonologists can use telemedicine to help asthma, bronchitis, and COPD patients, among others, to manage their conditions.

Urologists can treat patients with urinary tract infections, kidney stones, incontinence, frequent urination, and other urinary tract disorders using telemedicine.

Even Urgent Care Clinics are adopting telemedicine to deliver timelier care and reduce unnecessary emergency room visits (and the waiting time for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries and conditions).

So while the move to telemedicine is mostly a response to the this year’s pandemic, it should continue to be a great benefit, particularly to elders, long after Coronavirus becomes as distant a memory as the polio outbreak of the 1950s.

If you have any questions about coping with the Coronavirus outbreak, or your retirement years in general, please feel free to call or email us. Just as we always have, we’ll be happy to give you honest, objective answers.

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