LIFE IN THE END ZONE: A discussion of topical issues for anyone concerned with the final phase of life by Muriel R. Gillick, MD
June 19, 2020
For years, Medicare has defined a visit with the doctor, what it calls an "encounter" as comprising the history, physical exam, and lab tests. Without the face to face component, from Medicare's perspective, there can be no visit. Telemedicine has changed this perspective. For some time, Medicare has allowed telemedicine visits in rural communities and for consultation between physicians. The pandemic has forced Medicare to adopt a new standard for a visit. But just because Medicare now pays physicians for these new encounters and just because software is now available to facilitate patient/doctor interactions in a secure way doesn't mean it's obvious how best to use the technology. Older patients, some of whom do not use the internet, are often uncomfortable with such a system. To benefit from telemedicine--and no group is more in need of being able to interact with the medical profession remotely than older individuals--they will need help from caregivers.
Here's a video for family caregivers to give them some ideas about making optimal use of telemedicine.