Telehealth medicine has helped many doctors see their patients safely during the pandemic. It’s a way to cut down on in-person interaction to slow the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Jesse Alifano is a pediatrician at Peachwood Pediatrics in Clovis and he explains how they have been using telemedicine to see patients.
When Dr. Alifano meets with his patients, it’s typically not done over the phone. But when the Coronavirus pandemic hit…
this became an alternative to still see the little ones he treats.
“Telemedicine opened up this whole new arena where we can actually still take care of our patients, offer advice, talk to the parents instead of just unilaterally deciding these kids all have to go to the ER or urgent cares instead of their providers,” said Dr. Alifano.
Dr. Alifano now spends nearly half his time in the office doing telemedicine. If parents are more comfortable to keep their children at home they can meet doctor through video chat. In the last few months, he’s diagnosed various ailments like upper respiratory infections and ear infections through the phone.
He added, “It’s a very individual thing because it depends on how old the kid is, how able the parents are to aid us in the diagnosis, so the bulk of the diagnosis is going to come from the history, from the story that the parents are gonna tell us.”
Dr. Alifano said telemedicine has allowed parents the peace of mind to not take their children out of the home through the stay at home orders and still receive excellent medical care. It also allows well patients to be seen in the office to prevent any spread of the COVID-19 virus. But Dr. Alifano said telemedicine is not used to treat all patients.
“If the patient has some sort of obvious sign, like it’s a clear rash or a cut or something like that it was very easy, but if it was abdominal pain, or a cough or something like that it was a little bit more abstract,” explained the doctor.
He said there are many injuries or illnesses where patients will still need to be seen in person.
Dr. Alifano commented, “If they have any interest in doing the telehealth, do it. If it’s something that the provider thinks is inappropriate for telehealth we can tell them and we can schedule them a follow up visit either that day or another day.”
Dr. Alifano said nothing will ever fully substitute an in person visit. But he’s grateful modern technology allows him and many doctors around the world to still interact with patients during this health crisis.