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Expert: Consider telehealth as first line against coronavirus

In the current issue of Part B News (subscription required) we talk about best practices for handling potential or confirmed cases of COVID19 — AKA novel coronavirus — in your office. But is there also a role for telehealth in this intervention? Samant Virk, M.D., founder & CEO of MediSprout, a healthcare and telehealth solutions company in Valhalla, N.Y., says there is, and explains it for us:

Amidst the “race to contain” COVID19, telehealth can mitigate the risks associated with treating patients without sacrificing the speed and quality of care.

Telehealth solutions enable physicians to examine and speak with patients without risking further spread of the virus in doctor’s offices, hospitals and urgent care facilities. Telemedicine also extends the reach of quality care access to patients in rural locations and makes it easier for a limited number of doctors to diagnose and treat a large number of patients in diverse, far-reaching geographic locations with minimal travel.

In terms of best practices for diagnosis, examining a patient virtually when COVID19 is suspected isn’t that unlike how doctors would approach the patient if he or she were physically in the office. As always, the first step is gathering evidence through some basic questions in order to understand the risk factors that the patient may have been exposed to, such as Has the patient traveled? If so, where? Has the individual been in contact with people suspected of having the disease? And so on.

The physician then needs to use this information to make the call. The stakes are high, so if multiple symptoms are present (such as upper respiratory symptoms and/or exposure to the virus), the patient should be sent for definitive diagnostic testing.

Blog Tags: COVID-19, telehealth
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