A Telehealth Q&A
By: Laura Goodwin, NP
I get a lot of questions when I tell my colleagues I am doing telemedicine. They include:
Question: Don’t you miss seeing patients face-to-face?
My Answer: I do see my patients face-to-face – it’s just on a computer screen.
Question: But isn’t it impersonal? I mean, I would feel strange talking to someone on a computer screen instead of in person.
My Answer: The technology is so good you feel like you are right in the room with the patient. It’s still a therapeutic relationship and really feels almost identical to a site visit to me. (And I’m not the only one who feels this way! Read this post by Dr. Laura Etre, for example!)
Question: Do the patients complain about seeing you that way?
My Answer: Most people I see don’t seem to mind. Some patients even seem to enjoy the novelty of the visit, asking me where I am, telling me about their town. Sometimes the patients even seem to enjoy seeing themselves on the computer screen. One patient “dances” because she “always wanted to see herself dance on TV.”
Question: How do your patients get to the computer?
My Answer: I have excellent assistants who assist the patients to the computer or bring the computer to them if they are unable to get out of bed. They also assist me by getting me the chart paperwork I need to review in order to see my patients. Some assistants are even bilingual, which is very helpful!
My goal is to alleviate fears and encourage patients and their care givers to try telemedicine. It really is the wave of the future, and it is a great way to provide psychiatric and psychological care to patients who might otherwise not receive it.