*EMBARGOED All research presented at the 2020 ACG Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course is strictly embargoed until Monday, October 26, 2020, at 8:00 am EDT.
P2542 The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Gastroenterology (GI) Outpatient Care: Pros and Cons of Telehealthcare
Author Insight from Kavitha Vijayasekar, MD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Emlhurst) Hospital
What’s new here and important for clinicians?
Telehealth medicine is becoming more utilized especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This has provided feasible and accessible care for many patients. However, patients are still facing many barriers to effective care through: 1) missing laboratory work (51%); 2) missing diagnostic and screening imaging such as ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs (23%); 3) not coming to get medications refilled due to fear (8%); 4) being unable to get medications refilled (6%), and 5) delayed endoscopic procedures (screening, time-essential, and urgent). Based on these findings, we conclude that it is critical to assure patients about safety measures established in our community and healthcare centers during this time of uncertainty. It is crucial to ensure clear communication with patients which can be achieved by utilizing and implementing more community outreach programs.
What do patients need to know?
Patients need to know that their physicians understand their fears and concerns about coming to the hospital. Delaying diagnostic or screening testing and failing to take prescribed medications appropriately can lead to progression of disease and advanced presentation of certain conditions. Many hospitals have implemented policies to ensure social distancing in waiting rooms for appointments, imaging and laboratory testing by scheduling fewer patients in a given day. With the use of technology, clear communication can be achieved with telephone or video calls as well as direct messaging within the Electronic Medical Record. Clinicians are relentlessly working on measures to promote a safe environment for patients to access healthcare.
Kavitha Vijayasekar, MD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Emlhurst) Hospital
kavitha.vijayasekar [at] gmail [dot] com
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