EUGENE, Ore. -- Throughout the pandemic, clinics have been utilizing telehealth as an option for patients who are uncomfortable or unable to attend appointments in person, a tool Oregon Medical Group says has only been improved with time.
According to family physician Dr. Gary Brandt, the option has increased access for various types of patients, and there is no reason to be hesitant about visiting your doctor virtually.
"The visits are actually quite meaningful and helpful," he said.
Most visits can be completed via telehealth, though urgent issues that require an exam like orthopedic injuries or diagnosing illness are better suited for in-person visits. Still, the urgency of stopping the spread of COVID-19 has pushed health care professionals to get creative.
"During the early pandemic, we managed those folks by introduction via telehealth and arranging for the other pieces to be done in a seamless fashion," said Brandt. "Particularly for those who are afraid to come in, are ill, or have mobility issues, it's become a powerful tool."
While seniors and others in the coronavirus risk group have taken advantage of telehealth, Brandt said that it has also proven popular with members of the workforce.
"For younger folks and people younger than 65, the vast majority of my telehealth visits are in the car. So they run out of work, sit in their car, close their door, have their visit and go back to work," he said.
Brandt said that setting up a telehealth appointment is simple for most users but estimates that a third of his patients over the age of 65 need technical assistance from a friend or family member, so having one on hand to help with your first telehealth appointment could be advantageous.
But with the popularity of telehealth, Brant believes it will be used long after the pandemic ends.