As our digital capabilities increase, patients may prefer the convenience of a virtual visit. Nicholas Golda, MD, highlights his perspective on how telehealth may grow in popularity for the postoperative follow-up.
Dr Golda is an associate professor of clinical dermatology and director of dermatologic surgery at the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia.
Dr Golda: I love the concept of video telehealth visits for postoperative follow‑up visits. I practice in a somewhat rural area, and I've got patients that drive from all over the state and even across state lines to come [and] receive care here in Columbia, MO.
I just can't, in good conscience, have people drive 200 miles or 150 miles each way to come for a postoperative follow‑up visit. There's a strong case for telehealth follow‑ups in my setting. If you're in a more urban setting where patients aren't coming very far, that case may weaken.
Patients are also really, really busy with the rest of their lives, and the time it takes for a telehealth visit in even an urban area would be considerably less than coming in to the doctor's office, checking in, waiting, being roomed, being seen, and then being on your way.
I think in the future, we're going to see probably quite a bit more research and more movement towards video or asynchronous follow‑ups using electronic means. Right now, here at the University of Missouri, we have a new HEALTHConnect, which is our patient portal. Each system has their own iteration of that.
We do a lot of our follow‑up asynchronously with store‑and‑forward or with photographic follow‑up. Patients seem to really like it. It gives them the opportunity to send me questions on their own time. If they receive a feedback the same day or the next day, they seem really, really pleased.
Again, this is my perception of it. I don't have any data, so I definitely think this would be an avenue for future research.