Local clinics turn to telemedicine for everyday appointments

Local clinics are embracing telemedicine as a way to help patients with everyday medical concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Apr 2, 2020 6:22 PM
Updated: Apr 2, 2020 7:01 PM

EUGENE, Ore.-- Local clinics are embracing telemedicine as a way to help patients with everyday medical concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

Springfield OB-GYN clinic Women's Care is one of the many clinics that quickly put a telemedicine plan in place in the weeks following Gov. Kate Brown's social distancing guidelines and mandate eliminating non-emergency medical visits.

Dr. Brooke Kyle believes patients with non-urgent appointments will find telemedicine to be much like a regular check-up. In the system they have implemented, patients will receive a text message with a link to a video chat and are connected to medical assistants who will update their medical history before moving to a video chat with doctors for an exam.

"I've been practicing for almost 20 years now and I felt like it was my new first day," said Kyle. "I was able to see patients in a new way that I haven't been able to see patients before. So it was really great, and you really feel that you have that one-on-one care."

She said that gynecologic and mental health appointments are easily transitioned online, while obstetric appointments can prove more complicated.

"We can assess any skin lesion or incision or things like that, but abdominal pain is something we see people for all the time, and that's been a bit trickier," said Kyle. "One of the things I've done to see if I need to bring the patient in to see in the office is just have them touch."

South Hilyard Clinic in Eugene implemented a similar telemedicine system two days after Brown's mandate. 

Primary care physician Brittany Alloway agrees that most symptoms can be examined over the camera. 

"I worried about that part of it, but surprisingly it has been easier than I thought. Patients are very in tune with their bodies and their health and really have a good idea of what's going on before they ever see us," she said. 

Alloway said the largest challenge so far has been educating patients about the technology and making sure they are comfortable with the change.

Telemedicine is a welcome innovation at Gastroenterology Consultants, where leaders say nearly 65% of their business came from elective procedures.

"We decided we needed to move to telemedicine at that point, for one, to help with that piece of our business being gone, but also our patients because we noticed patients getting a little nervous to come into our office," said CEO Angela Wilson.

According to the Oregon Department of Financial Regulation, under state law, most comprehensive health insurance plans are required to cover in-network telehealth service.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 43228

Reported Deaths: 671
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9401165
Marion5963108
Washington588578
Umatilla339345
Clackamas320666
Lane245127
Malheur194338
Jackson17427
Deschutes116113
Yamhill100515
Linn82715
Polk66315
Jefferson60510
Morrow5467
Lincoln51813
Union4772
Benton4486
Klamath4213
Douglas3638
Wasco34916
Hood River2791
Columbia2701
Josephine2693
Coos2591
Clatsop2460
Baker1333
Crook1122
Tillamook720
Curry581
Wallowa462
Lake410
Harney340
Sherman190
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00
Eugene
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 49°
Corvallis
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 48°
Roseburg
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 58°
North Bend
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Most Popular Stories

Community Events