Urology of St. Louis Doctor Highlights How Telehealth is Transforming the Future of Patient Care

San Francisco, California (UroToday.com) -- Like many healthcare practices, the COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionized the way Urology of St. Louis (USL) offers care to their patients. Within weeks after the pandemic started, USL, which has fifteen locations in the Metro East and St. Louis, created and rapidly adopted a virtual platform which allows all thirty of its physicians to see patients virtually and treat a variety of conditions while also taking steps to ensure in-person visits were conducted safely. The question many doctors and patients are now facing; what role will telehealth services continue to play in the future?

“It is something we will need to continue to evaluate from a patient convenience stand-point, as well as best-care practices,” said Dr. Travis Bullock. “One thing we have learned from this pandemic is that there are some conditions that are very well-suited to be treated virtually, and some that we know are not. The advantage of virtual appointments is that they are generally more convenient for patients which means fewer missed appointments that could lead to more serious complications if they aren’t treated in a timely manner. On the other hand, there are other conditions that really do need in-person evaluation and cannot be done virtually.”
Dr. Bullock said any type of an appointment that doesn’t require a physical exam, such as a post-operation check-in, suspected kidney stones, bladder conditions, or urinary tract infections, could continue to be done virtually in combination with lab test orders. However, he has also seen in recent months that insurance policies regarding telemedicine appointments are still in limbo.

A bill was recently introduced in the U.S. Congress which also addresses this question and could partially decide the future of whether telehealth appointments are covered by insurance.

“We are extremely proud of the efforts our doctors have taken to ensure our patients continue receiving convenient, top-quality care at an affordable price for both in-person and virtual appointments,” said Dr. Bullock. “We also want patients to know that we are taking extra precautions, such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and additional sanitation procedures to ensure patients feel safe during in-person visits. While we don’t know what the future will be for telehealth appointments yet, this pandemic has proven that our team can rapidly adapt to changes without losing any quality of care.”

Source: "News | Urology Of St. Louis". 2020. Urology Of St. Louis