As hospitals are becoming inundated with a surge of COVID-19 patients, those with chronic illnesses are hesitant to seek specialist care with some even chosing to forgo care altogether. The effect of COVID-19 on chronic care patients unable to access specialty care is alarming and could become a much more serious problem as the pandemic continues. Read on to hear more from Dr. Maria Barrell on the importance of continual specialty care and how telemedicine for chronic disease management improves care access and patient experience.
Featured in PatientEngagementHIT, April 2020
Starting the week of March 9, California-based Primary Care Medical knew it needed to pivot. Like so many primary care providers across the country, the clinician team was growing increasingly concerned about ensuring quality chronic disease management and patient care access as the rest of the nation shuttered its doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“As COVID-19 cases started to pop up in our area, we very quickly, within a matter of five to 10 days, converted to telemedicine,” said Maria Barrell, DO, a family medicine physician at the clinic. “We had no telemedicine capabilities prior to the outbreak, but we have a phenomenal CMIO who was able, with her tech whiz husband, to come up with a platform for telemedicine visits and get I’d say 90 percent of our workforce to operate in a telemedicine platform from home while maintaining open offices.”
Employing a strong telehealth strategy, fueled by technology from AristaMD, not only made good business sense — although that was important — but it was essential to keeping the patient at the center of care.