York County Medicine Summer 2020 - 26

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

FEATURE:

Transforming Health Care

By: Vipul Bhupendra Shah, MD, UPMC Hanover Medical Group, Medical
Director, and Grandview Family and Adult Medicine, Internist

Y

ou may have heard the phrase, "high tech meets high
touch," as it's been used to describe advanced technological
options when caring for patients. Now it takes on a new
meaning in the wake of a global pandemic as virtual visits and
telemedicine are the latest vehicle in delivering health care.

Telemedicine minimizes risk of exposure and make it more
convenient for certain patient populations such as the elderly or
those with multiple medical problems," says Vipul Bhupendra
Shah, MD, medical director, UPMC Hanover Medical Group,
and an internist at Grandview Family and Adult Medicine.

What Is Telemedicine?

Patients can schedule an appointment just like an office visit.
Telemedicine gives patients access to the expertise of highly trained
physicians from their home. For those patients who cannot drive
or arrange transportation, the benefits are immeasurable.

What's old is actually new again. Telemedicine is the use of a
telephone or videoconferencing technology (known as video visits)
to provide real-time medical consultations and examinations.
Although it seems novel, it has been around for years.
Video visits are the most familiar form of telemedicine. Using
the video camera, microphone and speaker of their smartphone
or internet device, as well as a special portal or app for security,
patients can speak live to a physician. They receive the same level
of care as they would in the office, only in a different platform -
from a doctor's office to the patient's home. Providers believe this
will now be a more common option moving forward, even after
COVID-19.
"There is a boom in video visits, especially given our current
circumstances. Our biggest concern now is patient and provider
safety, while still caring for acute and chronic conditions.
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York County Medicine | SUMMER 2020

"It's a hard path for some to leave their home and commute to
an office, but now they are able to remain safe, comfortable and
still be seen by their doctor," Dr. Shah adds.

Rapid Growth and Use of Telemedicine
Since the widespread appearance of the coronavirus and
statewide shutdown, telemedicine use has skyrocketed at health
systems like UPMC Pinnacle. This format has been quickly
embraced as a safe and effective way to evaluate coronavirus
patients - and other patients - with mild symptoms.
During these shelter-in-home times, patients and providers
have been quick to see the benefits of telemedicine for all forms


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York County Medicine Summer 2020

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