Ruben Espinoza, MD, Banner Health Pediatrician
[00:01:22:08] The role of telemedicine right now with the current situation in our country and our state, it's very important because that way it gives us an extra set of tools to be able to manage our patients, and take care of our population the best that we can. So it's not a substitution for in person visits, but it is a definite tool that can enable us to serve our patients better, without exposing ourselves, our staff, or our patients. And now at Banner, we are doing this for our patients. And it allows us to take care of the patients in their home, in the comfort of their home and the safety of their home. And most things can really be managed by that. At the same time, being able to have that visual contact with our patients, it's also good for the patient, especially since most of the population is stressed out because of what's happening with COVID, just getting reassurance and the medical advice directly from your physician makes a huge difference.
[00:02:32:28] With telehealth, you're not able to check a heartbeat or listen to the lungs, but are there other things that you can do to help still extract information that you need from the patient?
[00:02:45:05] Yes. As a clinician, we are trained to use our clinical judgment and that's part of our training. But with telehealth, yes, it might be a different-- I'm not saying good or bad. It's just a different type of experience, and a different type of approach both for the clinician, and the patient, because yes we don't have any physical contact, but yet we're able to extract a lot of information just from the conversation that we have with the patient. We're able to look at their phase. We're able to see if they're in pain. We're able to see if they have labored breathing We're able to see if they have a hernia. We're able to see if they have a rash. We're able to hear the cough that they have. So yes, there are some limitations. And in any moment, if any of the both parties feel like it's not enough, we can always convert a telehealth visit to an in-person visit. But you know, we can basically establish a time that it's safe for both the patient and the facility to see that patient in person. We're in no way substituting in person. We're just having an extra tool, like I said before, for our community and for ourselves, basically to be able to continue and serve our patients the way we want to be able to serve.
[00:04:08:25] Because you want to reach patients where they are?
[00:04:10:26] Yes, we want to make sure we're reaching patients where they are. And we want to comply with all the recommendations from the Arizona State Arizona Department of Health and CDC of you know quarantining and self quarantining. But at the same time, things come up and like I keep repeating to the providers that I lead, not everything is COVID. So yes we are in a pandemic. Everybody's thinking COVID. But there's still everything else. There's still high blood pressure. There's still diabetes. There's still people that have appendicitis. So we also need to take care of our community and not just focus on COVID. Our main focus, because yes this is an emergency, but we still need to take care of everything. I personally am a pediatrician and I still need to make sure that my patients are vaccinating, because the least thing that we need now is another pandemic, or another you know, viral illness just popping out because nobody is coming into the offices. So there is a place for people coming into the office. But virtual visit has definitely changed the way we practice and it is a positive tool.