Telemedicine: A good fit for cardiovascular care?
For monitoring conditions that contribute to heart attack and stroke, virtual doctor visits are much more convenient than in-person appointments. Where is this trend headed?
Virtual doctor visits — when you talk to a physician on a video call instead of during an in-person office exam — have been available in certain places for years. But they never really caught on until the pandemic hit earlier this year. Almost overnight, virtual care became an indispensable tool for managing coronavirus infections and other health conditions during the crisis.
In 2019, virtual visits accounted for fewer than 1% of the appointments at Mass General Brigham, a large health care system founded by Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). "But during the peak of the coronavirus surge in Boston, 80% of all visits were done virtually," says Dr. Lee Schwamm, director of the Center for TeleHealth at MGH and vice president of virtual care at Mass General Brigham.