When COVID-19 concerns shut down a whole nation, starting in March 2020, one the issues that immediately arose was where to get medical help for injuries and illnesses not related to COVID-19. An infection from a cut that was getting worse, could cause more damage than if you had COVID-19. If you could not find a doctor to see you to examine the wound, and you were not allowed to go to the hospital or any medical clinics, then what was a desperate person to do? Enter the rise of telemedicine which is turning out to be successful for many patients and doctors, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, 9/2020).
Telemedicine is not a new service. Many rural areas already use telemedicine for those patients that need regular medical monitoring but do not actually need to make an office visit. For some, it is inconvenient to find someone to drive them an hour or two to get to the doctor’s office.
Unless x-rays are involved, most medical visits can be done either by telephone or by online video chat. This saves hours for patients who can get on with life after leaving the call. The doctor does his notations in the patient’s records, then hops on the next call with another patient.
MomDoc, an OB/GYN and women’s wellness group of Arizona medical providers in multiple locations, began using telemedicine in March 2020. The group successfully transitioned all its care to a virtual platform before full statewide shutdowns were ordered. Accordingly, they avoided having cancellations so those in need had available continued care. Today, most appointments are continuing as telemedical, along with their telehealth platform. They remotely treat over 200 patients each week. according to eVisit blog by Leslie Becker.
Doctors also have patients who move to another state but want to stay with their original doctor. They do not want to find another doctor in their current location. Doctors can apply for permanent licenses to continue treating patients in another state. In an emergency, doctors can apply for temporary licenses until they can get a permanent one. But why not have a national licensing model, like the one used by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense, as the article suggests.
Doctors can keep track of patients even when they move to another state for one reason or another. It makes sense to keep the doctor you like who already knows everything about you and can plan a treatment for an illness with the records the doctor already has available.
This is especially important for those patients on workers’ compensation who move to another state because a spouse got a better job. The patient wants to remain with the same doctor who can report back with the required records gathered, based on telephone or video calls. Test kits can be sent out when specimens are needed, or other kinds of tests must be conducted. The patient simply returns them through the mail or has a connected system whereby on-the-spot test results are sent through the internet to the doctor’s software program.
Patients on Arizona workers’ compensation benefits can renew prescriptions, virtually visit their doctors on a regular medical basis, while doctors can assess how their patients are doing in their home environment during COVID-19. For some patients, it is a chance to talk with someone when, ordinarily, there is no one else living with them. Being alone in a lockdown can be devastating for some patients.
As our country continues to vacillate between closing down, then opening businesses, you can remain safe and still get the information you need by calling or video-chatting with an Arizona workers compensation attorney when you need help. Arizona Injury Law Group offers experienced and Certified workers’ compensation lawyers and legal services for injured workers. Call for your free consultation! 602-346-9009.
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