I remember one day, fresh out of medical school, I was on vacation and my cell phone rang.
I didn’t realize it at the time sitting on that beach, but my career in telemedicine began. Year after year, I have fielded calls family and friends about symptoms ranging from sore throats to abdominal pain. I never imagined that those calls would help me realize something about my profession.
With each shift I worked, I realized just how many people were coming to the ER for URGENCIES, not EMERGENCIES.
As an ER doctor it is my job to REALLY KNOW emergencies. Watching from across the room as a stretcher whizzes by, I should know whether I have the time to take another swig of water or if I need to get in that patient’s room ASAP and I have only a few seconds to make that decision. I only have time to ask a few questions and then I have to make up my mind what I need to do for that patient. Unbeknownst to me, answering my family’s calls were making me a better doctor.
I looked up and realized that I had been practicing in the ER for 13 years. With each shift I worked, I realized just how many people were coming to the ER for URGENCIES, not EMERGENCIES. There are many reasons why this happens. Some people are uninsured and the ER is the only place that will take care of them in the middle of the night without requiring payment in advance. Others couldn’t get an appointment with their doctors because they had to work. Some just needed a doctor’s note because they had something as simple as pink eye and shouldn't be at work. I decided that I wanted to be a part of something that would help ease the burden, medically and financially.
MY NEW LOVE, TELEMEDICINE.
Please, don't tell my wife.
Telemedicine was introduced to me as a viable alternative to the ER in 2015 and is now being touted as the wave of the future. The proverbial 21st Century House Call. The need is there, especially during this pandemic caused by Coronavirus and now is the perfect time for us to educate ourselves on the many benefits that telemedicine offers. Telemedicine keeps people out of ERs and Urgent Care Clinics which is important if you are trying to avoid illness. And it’s not called a house call for nothing, you don’t even have to leave home. Some people question if a doctor can diagnose and treat something without touching you. You’d be surprised that we can diagnose you before we even walk into the room.
So now you’ve got me. I’ve been given a voice and I can’t wait to delve into not only telehealth but give you a peek into the brain of a retired ER doctor. In the meanwhile, let’s learn a little about an aspect of medicine that has been used since the 1950’s but is just now coming into the mainstream due to COVID-19. Telemedicine has been here and it’s here to stay. It will redefine how we treat urgencies and will hopefully give my colleges a chance to just treat EMERGENCIES. Plus, patients get an alternative to busy, expensive ERs.
I can’t finish this blog without mentioning my brainchild, my baby, my OWN telemedicine company, y'all, myURGENCYMD. It has definitely been a labor of love and I am happy to present it to the world. You will get more information in the near future on the advantages of using telehealth (telemedicine, teletherapy and patient advocacy) and how it can be used by you and your family. With myURGENCYMD family subscriptions starting at just $24.95, it is also affordable.
Welcome to the House Call.