Why am I ALWAYS crying? I swear right when I think to myself… “I got this, I GOT THIS”. Tears, puddles, Niagara Falls… pouring out. Every time I’m asked to share my experience. Why cry? Because of all the LOVE I have as a healthcare provider and the genuine connections I made during our crisis immersion in collaboration with the Gallup Indian Medical Center (GIMC), Gallup, NM.
States across the country are proposing or enacting legislation that supports making the increased access to telehealth that occurred during the pandemic permanent. However, many states seem to struggle with how to appropriately regulate remote prescribing requirements as there is wide variation in approaches and priorities emerging in these proposed and new laws.
Telemedicine has for years been touted as providing access to healthcare for everyone, anywhere, anytime and it has been quite successful in doing so in many respects but disparities still exist among a number of patient populations. In particular, those who traditionally have challenges accessing healthcare due to physical challenges often experience similar or even greater challenges with telemedicine. Think about for a minute. Telemedicine is predominantly provided using audio and/or video-based telecommunications technologies. This fundamental fact of how telemedicine visits occur can actually exacerbate digital disparities.
“Take care with telehealth” – it’s an urging not a warning. Unless you have been a caregiver of a loved one, you may not appreciate the potential mental, physical, quality of life and financial impacts. My sister bore the burden of caring for our mother when Alzheimer dementia stole her sharp mind. On the rare occasions when my mother stayed with me for weeks at a time, I was overcome with anxiety, feeling like there were tight bands around my chest, and my normally low blood pressure shot up. This tracks with evidence that female caregivers experience more psychological distress than males (Families Caring for an Aging America. 2016).
Over the past year, many individuals have been staying home to help support public safety measures and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our communities. This was challenging, but current technological advances have allowed most of us to continue to stay healthy.
Part of this technology is telemedicine, which is also referred to as telehealth, telecare, telewellness, and more.
Can you imagine the opportunity to receive some of your prenatal care without leaving your home? The stress of pregnancy is certainly exacerbated by the eight to fourteen recommended prenatal visits, particularly if the woman has full-time work, lives far from the clinician, has other children at home, or lives in a part of the country with weather or other factors than makes it difficult to drive safely.
Published data show that these visits are safe, with the same outcomes as women who had traditional prenatal care visits. Patient satisfaction is high, particularly among women for which the pregnancy is not her first.