North Alabama doctors adjust to new way of seeing patients during coronavirus pandemic

Doctors say the hardest part is connecting with patients via telephone

Posted: Apr 21, 2020 6:19 PM

Across the country people are using Telemedicine to stay up to date with doctor's appointments.

At the same time, physicians are adjusting to it as the new normal for now.

Usually Dr. Sunitha Ghanta would be seeing patients at Whitesburg Family Medicine in Southwest Huntsville. Instead, she's working from home. She said like anything new it takes some time to get used to.

"Spending time and connecting with a patient, we want to make sure we do a good job at that while we're doing the Telemedicine," Ghanta said.

But, connecting with patients is something Ghanta said is a little harder to do when talking with patients over the phone or through video chat. She said most patients understand, and realize physicians are doing their best.

"This is a transitory period so i think that will kind of overcome because we, I think we all are trying to avoid having increased infections," Ghanta said.

Ghanta said during a Telemedicine visit the doctor will usually meet with patients through video, but they can also talk over the phone if patients don't have access to a webcam. She said the televisits are very similar to in-person appointments.

Your doctor will run through a checklist of questions, but may ask you to check your own temperature or blood pressure. Ghanta said even though it is something new, she's found some benefits in telemedicine

"Having access in a time that is like this where we're trying to social distance and avoid infections, and also it helps for the patient to know that their primary care provider is available to them at their neccessity," Ghanta said.

After the coronavirus pandemic ends, Ghanta said it will be up to individual insurances if they'll still offer Telemedicine.

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