April 09, 2020
A 100-year-old patient at The University of Kansas Health System successfully participated in her first telehealth visit. Her 99-year-old husband provided the technical assistance.
"It was just amazing and so touching," says endocrinologist Rajib Bhattacharya MD, who held the telehealth visit. When they made the Zoom connection, he adds, "I told her, 'You must have set some sort of record.'"
Dr. Bhattacharya says the 20-minute online visit worked well. He and the patient, who lives in the Kansas City area, reviewed her labs and discussed her overall health, her osteoporosis and how she is tolerating a new medication.
She enjoyed recounting her recent birthday festivities. Her neighbors sang and wished her a happy birthday from a physically safe distance in her front yard, she told her doctor.
For Dr. Bhattacharya, the telehealth visit is an indication virtual medicine's day has arrived in full force.
The online connection not only means an elderly woman and her husband didn't have to get behind the wheel for a routine clinic visit, but also hints at many more opportunities for health system providers.
"We have to meet people where they are," says Dr. Bhattacharya, himself new to telehealth visits. "To be honest, once we get through this pandemic, telehealth is where we really can succeed and show our reach and value. It will get easier and better. There's such a huge need, especially in rural Kansas."