Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

Positive Aging Blog: Using Telemedicine in the COVID-19 Era



by Harriet Epstein



A year of the Covid virus has come and gone, The world was unprepared, the human and financial losses have been staggering, and there’s very little one can say about this in a positive vein.  However, as happened before, during World War II, while people were seriously injured and dying on battlefields, all kinds of positive new technology was developed for peacetime, as well as for  war.  The development of Zoom and similar products, and the intelligent use of telemedicine, not new, but rapidly developing and improving, are two extremely important technologies to come out of the present disaster.

You may be new to telemed, or perhaps you have been taking advantage of it all year long.  The greatest pluses of making a telemed appointment with your doctor or other health care provider are:

  1. You don’t need a car, a cab, a driver
  2. You don’t need to travel a long distance to get to the doctor
  3. You can avoid sitting in a waiting room with other people who may be ill.
  4. You can keep your appointment in most kinds of bad weather

One of the biggest disadvantages I have experienced is a lack of tech savvy when preparing for the appointment.  Among the preparation requirements may be:

  1. Filling out forms in advance of the appointment
  2. Forwarding lab reports, a medication list, and information from other doctors to your telemed doctor’s office
  3. Making sure there will be no home based interruptions during your appointment
  4. Being on time or a little early
  5. Underestimating the need for an in-person visit under serious circumstances.

Perhaps someone can help you with the technological preparation issues.  Your visit may be on the telephone or on the computer.  When I met with my cardiologist on-line this year, he could see me, but I couldn’t see him.  A Zoom problem, not a medical one.  Otherwise the visit went well.

Be sure to do the follow up regarding medication, future visits, etc., just like you would have done in person..  Here’s to your good health wherever and however you pursue it!

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