Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions here.
Most people are doing their best to stay at home while the entire country is responding to the coronavirus pandemic. That can complicate many aspects of the medical field, including for certain parts away from the first response.
“Practices are having a hard time, honestly, keeping their lights on right now because they’re used to seeing a certain volume of patients and now the volume of patients has gone down dramatically," said Dr. Mike Greiwe, the CEO of OrthoLive and SpringHealthLive in Greater Cincinnati.
An orthopedic surgeon at OrthoCincy, Griewe founded OrthoLive and SpringHealthLive in 2016, two telemedicine companies that have since seen a surge in growth after the pandemic started.
“It was like the lights came on and everybody realized that telemedicine had so much more to give people," he said.
Instead of an in-person doctor’s appointment, telemedicine services let you use your computer or phone to speak with a doctor or healthcare provider from wherever you might be.”
“Pretty much anything you might want to do in the physician’s office you can do virtually," Griewe said. "It allows for that communication back to forth and you’re seeing that patient face to face.”
With his telemedicine service, Griewe has gone from 15 to 20 doctors' offices across the country to more than 80 in the last two months. By using video calls, doctors can meet with patients virtually, limiting the amount of in-person social interaction during the pandemic.
“Now it’s really about taking great care of patients and making sure everyone is able to stay safe. I think it’s changed quite a lot. Telemedicine is now a necessity really," he said.
Griewe says the majority of conditions can be diagnosed or properly monitored through telemedicine, but he acknowledges of course there are limitations. For certain conditions, a doctor has to see patients in person to diagnose or treat.