NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As coronavirus spreads and people stay home, doctors and patients are adapting to a new reality.
It’s called telemedicine.
“We went in mid-March from 20 video visits per day for Mount Sinai to 2,000 in a matter of 10 days,” Mount Sinai Heath System endocrinologist Dr. Ronald Tamler told CBS2’s Nick Caloway on Wednesday.
As the pandemic rages on, Tamler has trained more than 1,000 doctors in all specialties the skills necessary to use telemedicine to see patients.
“You don’t have to leave the confines of your home. You can do multiple doctors’ visits. You don’t have to take the full day off work to go to a doctor’s office,” Tamler said.
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Charry Ross is one of Dr. Tamler’s patients. She has Type 1 diabetes and needs to constantly keep in touch with her doctor.
“This was an absolute game-changer for me,” Ross said. “It worked out so well, because I left the city because I wanted to protect me and my family, and I wanted to keep my appointment.”
Tamler said you’d be surprised what can be diagnosed using video technology.
“You can see whether a patient is having trouble breathing, whether they are gasping for air. You can see whether they are anxious,” Tamler said.
But he said there are limitations.
“Everything that has to do with feel. For instance, I would not be able to feel your thyroid for nodules. That’s something that one can only do in person,” Tamler said.
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With telemedicine restrictions being waived due to coronavirus, doctors of all specialties across the country are now seeing patients this way. Tamler said he expects the wave of telemedicine to continue, even after the outbreak ends.
“In the longer term, as people are going to get used to having video visits, they’re going to demand it because it is just much more convenient for them,” he said.
However, he said if you have a telemedicine appointment with your doctor be sure and do it from a private place with good Wi-Fi, preferably from home.