“I’ve been using telemedicine and telehealth since I went into private practice 10 years ago. I take care of young men’s sexual health problems. You’re never going to see those patients more than once, because they’ll never come in twice. With telemedicine, you can engage younger men if you take the care to them, in the way they want to be communicated with.
I built the telemedicine practice around that and have telehealth equipment in my office so I can do distant visits. It’s not just using telemedicine; it’s designing care that involves telemedicine around the patient.
In one visit, I do everything that needs to be done in person; everything else is followed through either with video or telephone. This works for patients around the world.
Having people come into the office for a follow-up visit is primitive. By using FaceTime, my extenders can do it, we can prescribe medication, and do most everything else. Clearly, if there’s a complication, patients may need to be seen.
Probably the best example of effective telemedicine is HealthLoop. It’s a digital house call system. I’ve been using it for 10 years (full disclosure: I’m an adviser to them). But there are several others that offer preoperative/postoperative care through an app.
You can, algorithmically, develop a postoperative care plan and check in on a regular basis through the app. The app sends questions to the patients. ‘How is your pain, how is your swelling, how’s your bruising?’ You get this data without even communicating with the patient. We set alarms for their responses, and if the alarms go off indicating a problem, the system will let us know to contact them.
I am a surgeon who operates in two cities and take all my own call. That’s how wired the program is.”
Paul Turek, MD
Los Angeles/San Francisco