Posted on

Telehealth keeps patients connected to provider

Telehealth keeps patients connected to provider Telehealth keeps patients connected to provider

It may seem a little science fiction-like, but modern medicine has progressed so much, that during the COVID-19 health emergency, patients can still be seen by their health provider. With telehealth at their fingertips, physicians such as Bradley Schauer, physician assistant-certified, are taking one-onone visits to a new level.

“With the situation at hand, we have had to make some temporary changes to many of our locations’ hours and operations,” said Rebecca Baader, communications specialist for Marshfield Clinic. “However, we are still here to see patients. The telehealth technology really allows patients to be seen by their provider, as if their provider was in the same room.”

Because the Marshfield Clinic-Cornell Center is closed and will most likely remain so until the health crisis is past, Schauer now sees his patients via video chat, working from his home through the Cisco Webex program. Those who don’t have internet access or a smartphone, use the telephone to speak to Schauer, who has their lab results at his fingertips through his computer.

“I think it’s just absolutely wonderful,” said Schauer of the service he is able to offer. “Patients tell me they love it…I think in times like this, it’s really nice to have that reassurance, as well.” Baader says prior to the current situation, telehealth appointments required patients to come to their nearest health system location to see and speak to their provider over a telehealth connection.

“However with the current circumstances, new legislation has allowed for telehealth appointments to connect patients to their provider from the patient’s home…” said Baader. “This change has allowed our primary care providers to continue to provide care for their patients during this uncertain time.”

The number of patients Schauer sees each day depends on the individual need of the patient and “in between paper work,” with most appointments lasting about a half an hour.

“We can see as many patients as I would have seen in the office, potentially,” said Schauer. “This all in context of what a person can do over the phone and video.”

Schauer says it’s good that he can see a person through the video feed, to make sure they are doing OK mentally, as well as physically.

“The video aspect really does help that,” said Schauer. “We deal with the business and there are a few minutes of just chatting, which I think is comforting.”

In order to “see” Schauer, patients call the clinic, set up a “visit,” designed on their capabilities, and the patient is put on Schauer’s schedule. A medical assistant contacts the patient ahead of time to get them set up on the system.

To see/hear Schauer, patients download an app on their phone or computer, or, in the case of some, simply pick up their phone and talk.

Patients do still have to have lab work in a larger center, outside of Cornell, but Schauer said they are trying to make it as simple as possible for the patients.

“We’re still here for them,” said Schauer. “We’re working through the circumstances just as everyone is.”