University Health Partners removes barriers with patients through telemedicine

Treating patients from a safe distance

Sponsored by the John A. Burns School of Medicine and University Health Partners of Hawaii

In those unusual times, telemedicine gives health care professionals the ability to evaluate and treat patients from a safe distance. HI Now host Kainoa Carlson caught up with Dr. Robert Hong, an internal medicine physician with University Health Partners of Hawaii (UHP), to talk about the benefits of telemedicine care.

Telemedicine gives health care professionals the ability to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients using telecommunications technology. Telemedicine is all about removing barriers between patients and providers.

Under otherwise normal circumstances, telemedicine might be used by people without access to reliable transportation (or who are simply unable to show up in person). Unfortunately, as the community continues to mitigate the spread of the virus through social distancing, telemedicine’s status has changed from beneficial to necessary for a much larger percentage of the population.

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the maturity of telemedicine as a practice. The biggest falsehood in circulation is that telemedicine is new. Many people believe it to be a relatively untested method of physician-patient interaction because they think it’s an unintended product of the pandemic.

In reality, telemedicine has been around since the late 1950s. At UHP, some of its services have had telemedicine long before COVID. The staff was well-prepared to make the transition from in-person treatment to telemedicine because they were already offering it as an alternative for those who couldn’t easily come in person.

While it’s true that doctors have never had to rely on it so much before, hospitals nationwide were already providing it for many years prior to 2020.

Telemedicine is extremely easy to use. It’s now an essential part of UHP’s overall aim to make sure everyone has access to quality healthcare. With UHP, it’s as simple as picking up a phone and calling 808-469-4982.

As the community works to overcome the current COVID-19 pandemic, UHP plans to continue using technology to engage with its patients. Telemedicine makes it easier and more convenient than ever for patients to focus on staying healthy instead of rearranging their busy lives to visit the hospital. This alleviates logistical stress, as quality health care is just a short phone call away.

If you have questions about what is and isn’t an appropriate use of telemedicine, give us a call anytime at 808-469-4982.

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