Even though social distancing protocols and other complications may make it difficult for patients to see their doctors in person, many Alabamians are still receiving medical attention through their computer screens.

Dr. Eric Wallace, the medical director of UAB’s telehealth efforts, said that seeing your doctor online is just as simple as it sounds. Though telehealth is relatively a new practice, UAB has been using online medicine for over five years. But now, during the current pandemic, there is even more reasons to utilize telehealth.

“There was a fear that if all patients came, high risk patients congregating in waiting rooms that they would actually spread virus to some of our sickest the ones who use health care systems the most, actually the ones who are most at risk,” Wallace said. “So, by UAB having a concerted effort to change our visits as much as possible to telehealth, we have limited the spread by encouraging social distancing and keeping our most vulnerable at home.”

Telehealth can lead to unusual methods of doctors examining patients, but sometimes that is necessary.

“With video visits you can actually do a full physical exam,” Wallace said. “With the only exception, being you can put a stethoscope on a patient’s heart. But, you can look at the back of the throat; we review your records just as if you came here.”

Telehealth is designed to help as many patients have access to a doctor as possible. However, some patients don’t have access to an internet connection that would allow them to video chat with a doctor. Those patients are encouraged to seek in-person medical attention if needed.

Categories: Local News