The Home Visit is Back: Telemedicine Brings the Doctor to Your Home

Phillip Erwin, MD, PhD, FACC

One positive development of the COVID19 crisis has been the evolution of the patient-doctor relationship. One hundred years ago, the doctor came to your home and was able to see you, diagnose, and treat you at your bedside. By the middle of the 20th century, the paradigm began to change such that the patient had to go to the doctor, not vice versa. One reason was that as technology and testing advanced, the doctor’s black bag could no longer hold all the equipment needed to meaningfully diagnose and treat a patient (for example, EKG, ultrasound, and so forth). Now, the pendulum has swung: for less than $100, patients can have their own blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters, and EKG watches. Combine that with video conferencing—which allows you and your doctor to see each other in real-time—and you have a return to the home visit in the form of “telemedicine.”

Historically, most insurers have not paid for telemedicine, but COVID has forced them to acknowledge that a “virtual visit” can provide meaningful care. In our practice, we’ve been able to look at patient’s swollen legs, review their blood pressure logs, and help make changes in their medications to keep them feeling well—and out of the emergency room.

Sometimes, an in-person visit is needed because of advanced testing or the need to perform a proper physical examination. At MyCardiologist, we have tackled the concerns surrounding waiting rooms and exposure to other patients by having our patients seen one-at-a-time in the office. How? Each patient checks in remotely and waits in the car until the very moment of the visit. The patient has the temperature checked before being allowed in the building and again before entering the office. All staff and patients are wearing masks. Our eyes are smiling, even if you can’t see our mouths! This way, we can ensure that patients get necessary care that is safe.

Taken together, while COVID19 has been disruptive, it has also helped spark innovation in the way we care for our patients. At MyCardiologist, we are excited about being able to provide safe, efficient care for our patients: whether by telephone, virtual office visit, or in a wait-room-free one-on-one visit.

Phillip Erwin, MD, PhD, FACC
Complex Coronary and Valvular Heart Disease
Office: 305-666-4633
Fax: 305-667-1675
TAVR Hotline: 786-505-TAVR

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