I had my first virtual medical appointment this morning. The advantages were obvious:
- I didn’t have to drive to University Hospital and park my car
- No potential exposure to sick patients
- The magazines are new
- There was coffee before, during, and after the appointment
The disadvantages were more important. My appointment was with the woman that I have entrusted to quarterback my healthcare for the last few years. And though some of my doctor friends have scoffed, she is a CNP, a Certified Nurse Practitioner. For almost four years she has answered every one of my questions, referred me to the specialists that I wanted to add to my care team, and interpret the results of my tests. She has delivered good news and, thankfully rarely, bad news. And yes, she has performed numerous physical exams. That relationship, that trust, was built through one on one personal contact. It would never have happened by video conference.
Medicare and our insurance companies have responded to the Coronavirus pandemic by increasing access to telemedicine. It makes us all safer. But true trust is built through connections. And for me that will require the connections built through personal contact.
Picture – The New Examination Room – David L Cunix