‘It’s honestly a bit of a game-changer’: Families turn to Telehealth for care during COVID

SPOKANE, Wash. — Kids are back in school so families’ schedules are filling up. Fitting in doctor’s visits or trips to the ER can be difficult.

With healthcare resources spread thin, more people are using Telehealth to stay healthy from home.

“It’s honestly a little bit of a game-changer,” Amber McCollum said. She’s a mom of five and uses Telehealth through MultiCare for her kids’ checkups.

She schedules the appointments from home and can get in faster than normal.

“You can literally get on to the website, click to set it up, and you can have a provider on the line within 10 or 15 minutes. It’s shockingly fast, so convenient and honestly, I push for it whenever I can,” she said.

She was able to keep her same provider. Her kids can even do med-checks and get refills on prescriptions.

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With COVID cases rising, she says she feels safer using this option. She wants to be able to free up space for those who need more urgent care.

“It’s a way to pitch into the community, so I get to take care of my kids. I don’t have to have more exposure than I feel comfortable with or even have time to take off of work or school or sports,” she said. “I still get to support our community in a way that I know isn’t going to add extra stress on the doctors and nurses.”

Physicians are seeing the system grow and reach more people. Spokane Family Medicine started the service when the Pandemic started. Now, it’s freeing up time and space for them to help more patients.

“Offering Telehealth cuts down on a lot of the office time. They’re able to just hop on in between a lot of our other appointments and do the Telehealth and get somebody taken care of,” said Meshayla Block, a Medical Assistant at Spokane Family Medicine.

She says they’re seeing more seniors use the service if they don’t want to be around a lot of people for long periods of time.

“Telehealth has really helped get them the care they need without having to send them to urgent care or the medical room,” Block said.

Here are some visits Block recommends using Telehealth for:

  1. Coughs
  2. Viral versus Bacterial questions
  3. Mental Health
  4. Minor aches and pains

You still should come in for in-person care for these situations:

  1. Yearly physicals
  2. Lung issues
  3. Blood draws

Even when the pandemic’s over, McCollum says she’ll always use a hybrid healthcare model. It’s made healthcare more accessible, easy and convenient for their family.

“It definitely meets my family’s needs,” she said. “I’m actually getting better service faster for my kids, so they’re safer, and I always have the option to go in.”

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