Cincinnati Children’s doctor shares new tech, improvements to telehealth visits for patients

They said they saw thousands of patients via telehealth during the peak of COVID.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 8:48 AM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - At the height of the pandemic, practitioners at Cincinnati Children’s say they saw up to 6,000 patients via telehealth a week.

Dr. Ken Tegtmeyer said that number has since declined, but the lessons learned and technology improvements will benefit patients and hospital staff for a long time.

Right before COVID, he says practitioners saw about 200 patients via Telehealth a month. When COVID hit, there was obviously a huge rise in those virtual visits.

“We’ve dropped from that peak but we still have somewhere around 1,500 to 2,000 visits a week. A significant portion of those are for mental health purposes.. really conducive to telehealth.. still a variety across the board,” said Tegtmeyer.

During the peak of COVID, Tegtmeyer says staff realized “huge advantages” for many patients who utilize telehealth.

Those advantages range from a better workflow for some providers to patients who simply feel more comfortable at home versus in a doctor’s office.

Tegtmeyer said there’s a large patient population within Cincinnati Children’s with complex medical needs who also benefit from Telehealth.

“They basically have a hospital room in their home. It’s a challenge to bring them to the hospital. It’s a whole day spent driving here, parking, unloading,” he said. “It really helps improve care via telehealth. Especially with vulnerable populations coming into the community, reducing the risk of potential infection to them.”

Tegtmeyer said visiting a doctor via telehealth truly helps decrease the burden on patients and caretakers in these instances.

In addition to the knowledge gained, there’s also a handful of advances being worked on right now for better patient care.

First, Children’s is working on a feature that would let you know when your provider is about to enter the room (or chat in this case).

“When you’re physically in clinic, you can see your doctor, pop their head in, say hello and let you know they’re there,” Tegtmeyer said.

Cincinnati Children’s wants that feature to do that for you digitally.

Children’s recently received a grant that allowed them to buy WiFi-enabled medical devices that parents could use at home to take their child’s temperature, look into their throats and ears.

All of this, in an effort to help providers to their jobs even more efficiently and in turn, caring for you even better than before.

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