Doctors transition to virtual visits to reduce in-person encounters

In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, social distancing is key. Even at doctor's offices. 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, social distancing is key. Even at doctor’s offices.

“The message is loud and clear: bringing people together in any groups larger than 10 is dangerous. Putting people in your waiting room, that’s dangerous,” said Dr. Ed McGookin, MHCDS Chief Medical Officer of Coastal Medical. “It’s not just dangerous for your patients, but I have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our physicians.”

To protect as many people as possible, Dr. McGookin and many other doctors are turning to virtual appointments.

“Yesterday we had 900 visits by telephone,” said Dr. McGookin.

He said most of what would be done in-person can be done from a distance. He added phone call appointments are possible, but video calls are the best when it comes to telemedicine.

“I can look you in the eye and see your body language. I can tell I’ve got your attention and you can tell you’ve got mine. That actually adds a tremendous amount more than what a telephone could do,” said McGookin.

He said if the symptoms are really serious, he will ask the patient to come into the office.

“A lot of what the patient wants is for us to give some reassurance or information,” McGookin said.

Telemedicine appointments can be done after hours and on weekends. McGookin said almost all insurance companies cover the appointments.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island, Your Health