Telehealth

Telehealth through Bayhealth and Community Physicians

Thursday, May 7, 2020 | Expanded Services
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) having disrupted normal operations for many medical facilities, telehealth services have gained popularity as an alternative method for patient care. The doctor’s offices of Bayhealth Medical Group and affiliated physician practices in the community are still operating at this time, but with new processes in place, such as seeing patients virtually via telehealth. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, telehealth refers broadly to using electronic and telecommunication methods to provide healthcare services from a distance, whereas telemedicine is more limited in scope to a practitioner’s delivery of clinical care through technology.

Among the various physician practices connected with Bayhealth, there are different telehealth methods being used. Many have introduced new platforms and processes to make this a seamless experience for patients and providers.

Among Bayhealth Medical Group, one of the leads for telehealth is Family Medicine Physician Paul Pulchny, DO. Dr. Pulchny said that when the outbreak first hit, they already had plans in place for a new telehealth platform that would run through Epic, Bayhealth’s electronic health record, and MyChart, a personalized online tool for patients to access their health information and communicate with providers. This platform, however, was a few months out from a projected launch. The threat of COVID-19 soon prompted doctor’s offices to postpone routine office visits. It then became clear they needed to shift gears to start something up more quickly to allow their physicians another option to safely treat patients.

“Thanks to the help of our IT and billing/coding teams, the platform was up and running in a very timely manner and our physicians were all trained on using it,” said Dr. Pulchny. It has been rolled out to Bayhealth Medical Group primary care and specialty practices so each can use with patients as needed.

Family Medicine Physician Sharad Patel, MD, said he and the staff at their practice are offering telehealth options through a popular online video conferencing platform. They’re looking a month ahead at scheduled appointments to see which can be done virtually so patients don’t have to come in to the office. “We’re encouraging many patients to use this for routine visits,” said Dr. Patel. “I’d say we have about 70 percent using the platform and most find it pretty easy and have gotten used to it. When needed, we can provide the basic technical support to help make this go smoothly for the patient. We also do telephone visits as a back-up option.”

Amid this pandemic, these telehealth options are safely providing needed care for those with chronic conditions and other medical issues while keeping other patients on a regular check-up schedule to maintain wellness. Please contact a physician practice directly to find out their processes for existing and new appointments. If needed, visit Bayhealth.org/Find-a-Doctor to search for your doctor and find their office phone number.