Vir­tual medicine has great po­ten­tial

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Pa­tri­cia Bayly Miedusiewski, Monk­ton

The ar­ti­cle, “Vir­tual vis­its to the doc­tor be­com­ing more com­mon” (Nov. 1), was very in­for­ma­tive and hope­ful. A demon­stra­tion per­formed by Dr. Brian Grady from the Univer­sity of Mary­land us­ing telepsy­chi­a­try in our more ru­ral ar­eas of Mary­land has shown suc­cess as well.

Wouldn’t it also be ex­cit­ing if this kind of tech­nol­ogy could be used some­how in our fight to stop the heroin epi­demic? Here’s a thought: A pri­mary care physi­cian hav­ing ac­cess to a psy­chi­a­trist or ther­a­pist via video cam­era could per­haps as­sist more ef­fi­ciently in as­sess­ing, eval­u­at­ing and plac­ing a pa­tient with a be­hav­ioral health disor­der into treat­ment on the spot.

Other al­ter­na­tives might be some­thing like Mary­land’s Be­hav­ioral Health Cri­sis Hot­line pro­vid­ing ex­pe­ri­enced be­hav­ioral health treat­ment providers to take the calls and uti­lize, when­pos­si­ble, FaceTime to make quick as­sess­ments and on-de­mand, im­me­di­ate ac­cess to care, thus pre­vent­ing over­doses.

Car­di­ol­ogy is an­other spe­cialty where there is an app that can be used so a symp­to­matic pa­tient can record their own EKG on their iPhone from any lo­ca­tion and email it to their car­di­ol­o­gist. For ex­am­ple, this works great for pa­tients who are on a new car­diac med­i­ca­tion. If they ex­pe­ri­ence a break­through of the same dys­rhyth­mia, their doc­tor has the op­tion of in­creas­ing this new med­i­ca­tion to see if that al­le­vi­ates it. If so, an­other visit to the doc­tor’s of­fice is pre­vented.

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