JUNE 2020 – Transitioning to Telemedicine

Photo by Allie on Unsplash
Photo by Allie on Unsplash

So, it seems as though we’ve been fast-forwarded into the Jetsons age (or Star Trek) in some ways by COVID-19. Telemedicine appears to be here to stay for the near future, and many experts are predicting it will stick around even once this crisis has passed. There wasn’t a functional Internet when I was in medical school, and I know many of you are older than I am; there have definitely been some learning curves and trials involved in this whole thing and we thank you for your patience!

In case anybody has been sleeping through the past few months, the point of this whole process is to minimize face-to-face contact and therefore coronavirus transmission risks. The telemedicine push is coming from Washington D.C., but also the Anchorage municipality, and we are in full support/compliance, believing that this is the best avenue to protect us as individuals and the public while maintaining necessary healthcare services.

For the time being, the federal government has said that they’re not going to require any real degree of bulletproof “protected health information” precautions (for telemedicine) along the lines of what we would expect from HIPAA legislation during the public health emergency. That doesn’t mean we take it any less seriously though, and we are working to figure out how to make this as secure as possible for all parties.

Like most healthcare offices in Anchorage at least, currently as many of you know we are using the Zoom application, however we are actively exploring other options that have even greater cybersecurity features. If you haven’t yet had a telemedicine appointment with this, we will be requesting and requiring an additional telemedicine consent form that spells out some of these issues.

So, see you soon!