"I probably see about 20% of my patients a week via telemedicine right now," says Helen L. Bernie, DO, MPH.
In this video, Helen L. Bernie, DO, MPH, discusses how she uses telehealth in her clinical practice. Bernie is the director of sexual and reproductive medicine at Indiana University and an assistant professor of urology at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana.
I love telehealth, and I've incorporated it and have been seeing patients since COVID-19 started. I probably see about 20% of my patients a week via telemedicine right now. I can pretty much see everything from new patient visits to follow-up visits to erectile dysfunction, Peyronie disease, infertility patients. I can review labs or semen analysis on the phone with patients. I can do vasectomy consults; really, all of these patients can be seen virtually, and you can take great care of them virtually. There's really only a subset of patients that really need to have an in-person evaluation. For me, that's really patients with Peyronie disease and patients with infertility. But again, some of these patients live far away, so at that first initial visit for an infertility patient, if they've never had a semen analysis, if they've never had lab work done, I'm going to be ordering that anyway, and they're going to be coming to see me for a follow-up visit. So I can easily either do their new patient visit or I can do their follow-up visit virtually, whichever one works out best for them, so that you can really see them. Even for patients with orchialgia, if they haven't tried anything, if they've never tried pelvic floor physical therapy, that's something that I use a lot and often for many of my patients, so I'm going to send them to that. That's going to be a 10- to 12-week course, and then I can follow back up with them either in person or virtually, if I saw them in person first. What I tend to do with my practice is it's every morning of clinic, I have set scheduled virtual visits. I never do them in between clinic; I found through trial and error that that doesn't work. You really need to have set visits. My first 4 visits in the morning are my virtual visits, and then sometimes I do schedule some afternoon or evening clinic visits. Also, many times when I'm in the operating room, I'll stagger virtual visits in between cases, because you have that turnover time when they're cleaning the OR, after you've spoken to your patient's family. There are a lot of really, really creative ways that we can incorporate telemedicine and telehealth into your practice and and I really find that it enhances patient satisfaction and it allows me to reach patients so much easier. There are very few patients that I can't see [virtually], because even those ones like your patients with Peyronie disease or infertility, where I need to do a physical exam because that may help me in coming up with their plan and management, you can either see them for their new patient visit, their first visit, or you can see them for their follow-up visit virtually. So I just find it it's really helpful and really easy. There's essentially no one that I can't help at least initially or in their follow-up visit with a virtual visit in a men's health/andrology practice.
This transcription was edited for clarity.