King's Daughters launches telehealth system during COVID-19 pandemic

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ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Every day we hear about keeping physical distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. It's why physicians at King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland are introducing telehealth with patients.

"We are in this pandemic because we know there is asymptomatic spread across the U.S. and that could be happening in our area," said Dr. Charbel Salem. "So as we started thinking about this, two weeks go at King's Daughters, we started thinking about how do we make sure that we continue to take care of patients when some of them could be asymptomatic carriers or one of us could be."

The process is very user friendly. The patient is sent a link that directs them to a video chat on their smart phone or laptop. They not only have interaction with their doctor, there is a feature for the doctor to send notes as well for the patient to save.

"I and many of my colleagues were apprehensive about doing something like this," said Dr. Salem. "Many of my patients were like, 'Doc I'm old. I don't do technology.' But when you guide them through it...it's amazing how surprised they are they're able to figure it out on their phone, and how they feel."

Because everything is virtual, Dr. Salem says patients will need to have a few things at home to help doctors check their vitals, temperature, etc.

"Everyone might be doing this for the next few weeks or few months, so please get a blood pressure monitor and thermometer."

However if a patient needs tests or blood work done, Dr. Salem says those services will still be available, and the process will be much faster because there won't be so many patients in offices.

Dr. Salem says it's too early to tell if telehealth continues after the pandemic is over.