Pandemic piques interest in Telemedicine

At the start of the pandemic when people were staying home to limit their risk of exposure to COVID–19, places like Bryan Health saw the use of telemedicine skyrocket.
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – At the start of the pandemic when people were staying home to limit their risk of exposure to COVID–19, places like Bryan Health saw the use of telemedicine skyrocket.

“It was a massive increase in utilization we saw on Bryan Health Easy Visit about a 700% increase from February to March,” Andy Whitney, the Director of Platform Strategy at Bryan Health, said.

It was a feature that became the go to in the midst of the pandemic, telemedicine was the safest way for patients to get health care while keeping doctors healthy as well.

“Patients were excited about the fact that, you know, I’m getting my care, I’m able to make my regular appointments. I’m not going to miss continuity of care, but yet I’m not at risk,” Whitney said.

While it was a huge benefit on the pandemic front, hospitals also found ways to expand their reach and make life a little easier for rural communities.

“In rural facilities, we have a lot more specialists doing telemedicine into rural facilities. So, the patients don’t have to come to Lincoln or drive to Omaha to see a specialist. People just see it as just another treatment option,” Whitney said.

Not only does it save patients time on their trips, it also helps doctors see more people, and keep beds free.

As telemedicine has become used nationwide, hospitals like Bryan Health are able to capitalize on bringing more doctors to Lincoln, even if it means they don’t live here.

“We have a nationwide physician shortage, and it’s not getting better. That used to be a rural problem but now it’s impacting larger cities like Lincoln. So,  we’re starting an infectious disease program where an infectious disease physician will backup the existing staff here and be able to do rounding by telemedicine,” Whitney said.

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