Patients now using telehealth for checkups

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Since the move into the virtual world came fast, doctors are now finding ways to see their patients virtually through Telehealth.

The technology has been there for years.

“I found it very helpful. I have a lot of patients in long-term follow stages and breast cancer survivors, so they don’t need to physically come to the breast cancer center,” Dr. Beth Riley said.

Drs. Riley and Daniel Metzinger say they’ve shied away from using Telehealth in the past because strict regulations brought up problems with privacy, billing and even accessibility.

“We were using it infrequently but what occurred with this virus hitting is there was massive deregulations,” Metzinger said.

More doctors are now are going virtual.

UofL Health recently expanded its telehealth program and last week, 3,100 patients made appointments.

“I’ve enjoyed getting a window into my patients homes I just learned about a coocoo clock which is pretty cool, I’m meeting all my patients’ pets,” Dr. Riley said.

Elizabeth, a patient, added, “It went well with Doctor Riley I didn’t have to get out of my house, I avoided big crowds in the waiting area.”

For patients that need in person services, the option is still there. Those who travel to their appointments, Telehealth can be a game changer.

“I drive from Owensboro which is two hours away,” Larkin, another patient, said. “I was happy because he told me I was through coming to visit. He said the 5 years had been up and I looked good and I asked him how often do I come in now and he goes, ‘you graduated!’”

 And for those fearing the virtual world, Telehealth users share tips.

“I can say it’s very easy, convenient and they can ask their kids to help them throughout the process which I asked my youngest to do,” Elizabeth said. 

Both doctors say this is not a flawless system.

If Telehealth continues, there will have to be some changes made to accommodate those patients without access to the internet or laptops. 

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