Amarillo doctors practicing more telemedicine after global pandemic forced social distancing

VIDEO: Amarillo doctors practicing more telemedicine after global pandemic forced social distancing

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Telemedicine is not a new concept, but as a result of COVID-19, many area doctors have been left with no other option than to use online mediums to access patients.

Now being able to see patients within minutes instead of having to wait for hours, some doctors are saying telemedicine is the way of the future.

“Since the pandemic, we have initiated all the primary care providers using it. My schedule, for example, went 100 percent telemedicine,” said Dr. Luke Hinshaw, M.D., Pampa Regional Medical Center.

The change leaving some area doctors hoping the way medicine is performed continues to advance.

“It’s one of the most innovated things that has happened,” said Dr. Hinshaw.

“It’s beneficial, both in terms of the logistics of not having to run the risk of exposures during a time of pandemic or seasonal flu or other things like that, but also just for the convenience sake,” said Dr. Rodney Young, M.D., FAAFP, Texas Tech Physicians Family Medicine Physician, Professor and Chair at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Department of Family Medicine.

For Pampa Regional Medical Center, telemedicine has given its doctors the ability to visit with their patients in rural areas as far as Oklahoma and Kansas.

“The people in the rural communities, even Oklahoma for example, that saves them a three hour drive. If they’re not feeling well, or if for any reason, if they’re just not able to make that drive, it allows us the ability to still have their visit at the exact time they need to give them whatever they want. It provides them the same level of care as if they were right here in the office,” said Dr. Hinshaw.

Although practicing telemedicine recently became more popular, many see it as the way medicine could be performed from here on out.

“This shouldn’t be something that is confined to the public health emergency duration. This should be something that doctors and patients are doing to make the system more efficient,” said Dr. Young.

Dr. Young says, since COVID-19, rules have been relaxed which allows doctors to perform telemedicine through mediums such as Facetime, Zoom and Facebook Messenger.

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