Telemedicine is not a new concept. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it might be something that many providers or patients are becoming familiar with. Recently, it was announced that over 200,000 virtual primary care and specialty visits have occurred since the start of the pandemic at UCHealth, where University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center doctors provide care.
“Overnight, we’ve learned how to do things remotely. I’m seeing patients from very remote places and it’s almost as good as if they had driven 10 hours, stayed in a hotel, saw me for a short appointment, and then drove back 10 hours,” says Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, director of the CU Cancer Center Director, and professor and chair of the CU Department of Surgery. “I see this as a long-term benefit that is coming out of this horrible disease.”
When a patient is identified for a telemedicine visit, the providers are very confident they can learn everything they need. Telemedicine visits are useful for people at every stage of their cancer journey, whether they are currently in treatment, finished with their care or recently diagnosed. Most of the things our doctors would learn about a patient in an office visit are communicated just as well in a telemedicine visit. Of course, the inability to examine the patient is a potential downside, but many decisions can be made despite this.
It seems like telemedicine is here to stay so we wanted to make sure our cancer patients know how to get the most out of there telemedicine visits with the following tips.