Virtual appointments give doctors new view on patient care

Digital Now

COLORADO SPRINGS — Telehealth is changing up patient care for some doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado. 

For Dr. Wendy Pierce, it’s access she wouldn’t overwise get at the clinic.  

“The layout of their home, or how their child climbs up on their couch,” said Pierce, a physical medicine rehabilitation physician at  Children’s Colorado Briargate Outpatient Speciality Care Clinic. 

Her virutual appointments help her better treat patients with mobility challenges.  

“Sometimes families are trying to explain to me what the bathroom is set up is like and why this particular piece of equipment isn’t necessarily going to work. And so, this allows me to be able to visualize it,” Pierce said. 

According to Children’s Colorado, telehealth services can help reduce anxiety for families, especially for those with transportation challenges. 

Now, telehealth is taking on a hybrid form with some visits done virtually, and some in-person. 

“We will maintain telehealth services, but also maintain a ratio of clinic visits so that the patient and the family had a full comprehensive care model,” said Stacy Gahn, Operations Director for Children’s Colorado Briargate Outpatient Speciality Care Clinic.

While good access to the internet can be challenging, telehealth improved the hospital’s reach to patients in rural areas. 

“Ideally, we would love to have internet as a utility rather than a commodity. So, we’ve had a few instances, even though we do a tech check before the visit, sometimes we have a couple of delays during the visit. And if you think about it, once again, everybody is home, you have children doing their homework, you have families working,” Gahn said.  

Children’s Colorado says since the stay-at-home order took effect on March 18, more than 2,000 patients in southern Colorado were still able to receive care, virtually. 

“It’s kind of if you think about it, like online learning for school. We’re doing the same thing. So, we set up every 20 minutes and so, the family once again, will get a full visit with everyone present, but it doesn’t mean we all have to be in the same exam room,” Gahn said. 

Patients with urgent needs continue to be seen in-person. 

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