David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS
Chief Medical Officer, The Doctors Company and TDC Group; Senior Vice President, Healthcare Risk Advisors
Early in the pandemic, I heard an obstetrician say that a medical setting was the last place many patients were willing to go. As a result, he was checking on prenatal patients using telemedicine. With questions about standard of care in mind, I gathered obstetric leaders into a meeting group where providers discussed ways to safely utilize phone and video modalities to continue prenatal care beyond the pandemic. Would this modality, necessary in a time of crisis, be continued in the “new normal”?
Surgical specialties present an unexpected number of opportunities for remote care, from consultative conversations all the way through postoperative evaluations. For instance, many post-op evaluations can relocate to the telemedicine space, where questions like how the wound looks and drain output can be evaluated.
Such uses of telemedicine, when appropriate, improve the patient experience, and sometimes patient safety. After all, post-op patients don’t want to leave home, and sometimes safety is an issue. I know I’m not the only one who has ever made a house call during icy weather. If we use good clinical judgment, we can offer a version of the post-op house call to some patients with arguably comparable or improved patient safety.
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