Rockbridge Area Health Center moves to telemedicine

Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 5:49 PM EDT
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Getting to the

isn’t always easy for patients, especially in the time of COVID. So why not have the doctor visit remotely?

“The main thing is we want to see our patients, make them feel safe, and provide access," said Michelle Hentz, RHAC's chief financial officer. "And so it’s actually gone pretty well, pretty smoothly.”

“It’s been an interesting thing to really get started and work with it," said Dr. Percita Ellis, a pediatrician at the center. "I’ve really enjoyed it, I really have.”

It's telemedicine through a special app found by the health center to ensure patient privacy, but still let the doctors see what they need.

“Looking at the telehealth, I can count the respirations," Dr. Ellis said. "I can have the mom just lift up the shirt just very lightly. I can look if they’re retracting, if they’re flaring, anything like that. I can pick that up.”

“In particular for rural areas, where transportation is a problem, or for elderly people who can’t get out as much, I think telehealth is another great way to provide access,” according to Hentz.

So while the clinic itself is being careful about who it admits in these times, the cell phone and computer are providing an opportunity to solve a rural health problem.

“There are so many different ways that the telehealth system can work," Ellis explained. "And I think it is going to be a big thing for the future. It is going to be something that is continuing even after the COVID pandemic.”

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