There are certainly times where I probably don’t need to make a patient physically come in to the office.
As part of trying to figure out where telehealth and video visits fit into the primary care setting, this week I got an amazing tour from the director of our emergency department, during which he showed me the program they’ve developed over the past year.
An incredible system, they take patients from triage who report to the emergency department with nonemergent issues, and move them to a consultation room off to the side of their urgent care space. There they are linked via video to an emergency provider who is located elsewhere in the hospital, who can go over their (hopefully) nonemergent issue and come to a quicker, safer, more efficient, and likely less expensive solution than a day in the ER.
They told me they get things like rashes that have been there for months, travelers who’ve arrived in New York City and have run out of their medications, simple musculoskeletal issues — the list goes on and on.
Through a video link-up, the provider can take a look at a rash, and look at various other things, pretty much anything that falls short of the laying on of hands or a diagnostic instrument. And certainly nothing that involves any invasive tests like labs or imaging.