NASHVILLE, Tenn. – During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth options became more popular for patients to seek medical care.
But as the weeks continue, medical professionals are warning people not to ignore doctor’s visits or preventative screenings.
“We were able to ramp up our telehealth, our telemedicine activities to maintain continuity of care for our patients, but that only goes so far,” Executive VP of Adult Ambulatory Ops Tom Nantais said.
Nantais said there’s a fear surrounding visiting the doctor’s office or hospitals, and that’s understandable.
“Of course there’s a concern about ‘will I be exposed to COVID going to a healthcare facility?’ And we’ve taken every precaution to alleviate that fear we believe,” Nantais said.
As of March 16, Nantais said Vanderbilt doctors were seeing around 40 patients per day via telehealth. As of last week, that number grew to more than 2,500 per day.
“It’s become a great avenue, we have online scheduling as well, we’re trying to find various portals where patients can enter our system as well, but telehealth played a big role particularly during COVID,” Nantais said.
But certain things cannot be ignored, and must be done in person. Things like testing moles on your skin, diabetic check ups, colonoscopies and mammograms.
“Invariably I think people do need to come in periodically and let the physician lay their hands upon you to ensure there is nothing else going on that could be more serious,” Nantais said. “If you let these go it could affect your health significantly.”
New data suggests that fear of visiting the doctor’s office and hospital may be decreasing as time goes on.
On any given day, Nantais said Vanderbilt sees around 8,000 patients for visits. This week Vanderbilt saw a growth of 1,000 patients, now bringing that average up to 5,500 visits.