The landscape of modern healthcare shifted fundamentally during the pandemic as healthcare providers sought creative ways to care for patients through technology.
Instead of filling waiting rooms at local clinics, healthcare providers scheduled virtual visits that were streamed into patients’ home via computer. They counseled individuals over cell phones and tablets, determining through face-to-face digital interactions what treatments would best relieve their pains and discomforts.
This was the rise of telemedicine — a healthcare model that brought providers closer to the people during a time of limited interpersonal interactions. Although vaccinations are allowing the world to reconnect physically, Fast Pace Health has not seen a corresponding decline in the demand for telemedicine. Truth is, telemedicine appointments continue to rise.
“It’s growing really quickly, and it’s growing faster than I think most people would have realized,” said Bob McKenzie, Executive Sponsor of Virtual Health at Fast Pace Health. “I think people originally thought, ‘well, maybe this is a fad, right?’ I don’t think so. I think it’s the service that people have been looking for.”
Telemedicine wasn’t born of the pandemic. Fast Pace Health started expanding Telehealth appointments more than two years ago when McKenzie and his team recognized a need for the service. But the initiative accelerated during COVID-19 to accommodate the need of families who still needed to see a provider during the pandemic.
“We didn’t have an at-home version of Telehealth pre-pandemic,” McKenzie recalled. “We had a virtual care option.”
But that service evolved into something more during the pandemic. Today, Fast Pace Health has team of telemedicine providers who serve patients in five different states.
So why has demand remained high in a post-pandemic world?
“Patients really appreciate the convenience of Telehealth,” said Lindsay Quebodeaux, a Certified Physician Assistant and Telehealth Team Leader at Fast Pace Health.
Quebodeaux says many patients do not want to leave their homes for many reasons, including a lack of childcare or transportation. Some patients have busy schedules. Others fear exposure to infectious diseases.
“With telemedicine, our patients can focus on improving their health without worrying about these stresses of daily life,” she said.
Fast Pace Health has seen a particularly high demand for telemedicine among stay-at-home parents. The same is true of individuals who work long hours and find it difficult to carve a clinic visit into their schedules. Telemedicine also appeals to patients with Medicaid, since many rural areas lack primary care providers.
The reaction to telemedicine has been overwhelmingly positive, Quebodeaux said.
“Most patients find it extremely convenient for their common ailments and illnesses as well as appreciate easy access to medication refills,” she said.
Truth is, many common health concerns can be addressed using Telehealth service. Think upper-respiratory infections. Think poison ivy. Think rashes. Think urinary tract infections.
“We can do most things,” McKenzie said. “As long as the patient has something that we can discuss remotely with video, we can treat them just like we do in our clinics.”
The exception would be a serious issue where a physical exam is necessary. This may be an injury that requires an x-ray. It could be a sprained ankle that requires a splint. It could be a breathing issue that would require a provider to listen to your lungs. Overall, telemedicine makes in-person visits more available for patients who require a higher level of care by treating patients with minor ailments at home.
“I absolutely think that telemedicine will continue to be a significant part of the healthcare system in the future,” McKenzie said.
So, what keeps patients from a telemedicine visit?
“The most common challenge that we face with telemedicine is fear of the unknown,” Quebodeaux said. That fear includes technology. Not all patients are technologically inclined. However, Fast Pace addresses this need by ensuring that all patients have human-to-human interaction through our call center.
“Our call center staff and providers take pride in our ability to make patients as comfortable as possible when receiving medical care through Telehealth,” Quebodeaux said. “We do our best to mirror the intimate human interactions that our patients receive in physical Fast Pace clinics.”
Telemedicine has already opened multiple doors in the healthcare community and helped break down barriers that prevent patients from receiving the medical care they deserve. That’s why the service has solidified its place as a permanent fixture in modern healthcare.
“The ability to provide healthcare to any patient within the state is not only astounding, but has such a huge impact on the way we can help these patients who rely on us,” Quebodeaux said. “It is monumentally rewarding to participate in something that has such a positive impact on patients, especially during these harsh times with COVID-19.”
If you are interested in meeting with a Telehealth provider, simply click the “Register Here” button on our website. All appointments are on a first-come, first serve basis. We want to serve your healthcare needs at a time and place that works best for you.
This blog originally published in July 2021
Select the specialty service you need. Our patient services team will contact you for more information on scheduling options.
We have received your inquiry. Once reviewed, our patient services team will reach out to contact you.