health care

Telemedicine's Popularity Soars During Pandemic

Sharp Healthcare doctor says telehealth visits are here to stay

NBC Universal, Inc.

A trip to the doctor’s office is rarely a fast, fun, and inexpensive event. Hence the rise in popularity of “going to the doctor” using Zoom or FaceTime.

“Why waste your time? Why waste my time?” asked Scripps Ranch resident Peter De Bear. “I don’t have to get in my car and drive for you to tell me the same thing you can tell me this way.”

“With any crisis, there’s always opportunity for innovation,” said Sharp Rees-Stealy Ophthalmologist Dr. Tommy Korn.

Dr. Korn said telemedicine is one of the few good things to come out of the pandemic.

“We’ve been doing telemedicine for as long as computers have been invented,” he said. “But what has really changed is the appetite for wanting to take it to another level.”

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, Sharp Rees-Stealy in San Diego did only a few dozen telehealth visits with patients in the entire month of February in 2020. That number skyrocketed to roughly 2,000 a day during March of 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic sent everyone home.

“We can’t go back to the way it was. We have to go forward,” stressed Dr. Korn.

He said telemedicine saves patients time, money, and stress. He said it saves doctors' time as well.

“It’s really a win-win-win for society,” Dr. Korn smiled.

The week of Sept. 19 is National Telehealth Awareness Week. Dr. Korn suggested people ask their doctors if telemedicine is an easier option for their next appointment.

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