Last year, Covid-19 forced many aspects of our lives online, and medicine was no exception. We had to avoid non-essential outings, including some visits to hospitals and doctors’ offices. So, patients swapped in-person appointments for phone and video chats. Google searches on the telehealth approach spiked.
Virtual visits are well-suited to many medical tasks, including simple ones like refilling prescriptions, as well as diagnosing and treating conditions that rely on a doctor’s sense of sight—pink eye, rashes, varicose veins—or a patient’s description of symptoms, such as back pain and sore throat. Telehealth also excels at monitoring chronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure, where doctors don’t need to provide a new diagnosis but rather check up on patients, monitor new symptoms and discuss side effects of medication. Diabetes is also a good fit : people can electronically share their blood-sugar levels, dosing and other information for a nurse to review.
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