Doctors turn to telemedicine to help the chronically ill

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 2:55 PM EDT
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The coronavirus has been the top priority for medical personnel, but many patients with chronic conditions still need to have their care managed during the pandemic.

More doctors are turning to telemedicine to stay connected with their patients.

"I'm able to check up on them, get a visual on how they're doing and make sure that they're still taking care of their diabetes and their high blood pressure, and all their other chronic problems," said Dr. Sonia Qadir, an internal medicine physician in Huntington Station, New York.

Carmela Cipriano has been seeing Dr. Qadir for years to manage her diabetes and recently had her first virtual visit.

"I thought it was great, she came right into my living room. I didn't have to leave the couch," Cipriano said.

Over video chat, Cipriano was able to check in with her doctor and get her medications refilled.

"You need to take your medicine every day, and it was also good to know that I could get my prescriptions and not have to be subjected to other sick people," she said.

These visits could potentially save lives in the long term, according to Dr. Ali Raja, the executive vice-chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

While his days are focused on the coronavirus, he's concerned patients with chronic health problems, as well as mental health issues, are going without the care they need.

"My main concern when we get past this surge of patients with COVID-19 is that all the patients who haven't been able to see their primary care doctors or their specialists are going to have the consequences that we've been working with them for years to prevent," Raja said.

Patients should check with the insurance providers to make sure telemedicine visits are covered.