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Lexington doctor believes telehealth services will remain important part of healthcare after pandemic is over

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 9:29 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Telehealth services have taken on a greater role in healthcare since the COVID-19 pandemic as video chat appointments are becoming increasingly popular among patients and healthcare providers.

In some cases, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment can all be determined from the comfort and safety of the patient’s own home.

“I think it’s definitely safer because I mean the alternative is going to a hospital, there are sick people and there are some COVID-19 patients there,” telehealth patient Kayla Chambers-Reed said. “So, I think it is safer.”

Telehealth services have been a part of healthcare for years but their benefits have really been pushed into the spotlight recently.

“It’s amazing what you can do,” UK Healthcare Dr. Carol Steltenkamp said. “People are pretty creative, and you can do a pretty reasonable exam on video chat.”

But there are limitations with this kind of appointment.

“The biggest drawback is that I can’t do hands-on,” Steltenkamp said. “But, patients are really creative, they’re very helpful, they know what’s bothering them and therefore they’re generally prepared to help me examine them the best way we can with the limitations that we have.”

There’s no substitute for the emergency room or hands-on interaction between doctors and patients, especially when it comes to medical emergencies. But, telehealth has found a place in medicine that Dr. Steltenkamp believes will remain long past the pandemic.

“It has great benefits for patients, it has benefits for providers,” Dr. Steltenkamp said. “I think that after we’re through this state of emergency and through the pandemic, things will normalize out and patients will begin to choose. But, patients are consumers of a service and if this meets their needs it’s incumbent upon us as providers to meet them and provide what they want within a reasonable fashion, and I think telehealth really meets that.”

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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