During pandemic, Dr. Madejski sees increased use of telemedicine to serve patients
By Matt Chandler, guest writer
Dr. Thomas Madejski of Albion, a primary care doctor with General Physician, PC, regularly sees patients who have one or more serious underlying health issues. He serves an aging population in his Medina office, and he knows that they, more than anyone, are vulnerable to COVID-19.
“There are patients who don’t feel comfortable leaving their home during this pandemic,” Dr. Madejski says. “And there are also those patients who I don’t feel comfortable with them leaving their home.”
Realizing the growing need to treat such patients, General Physician, PC expanded its telemedicine service to better serve its patients navigating this new frontier of life under social distancing rules.
“We are able to see patients using Skype, of Facetime, or any number of video platforms,” Dr. Madejski says.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, telemedicine is now offered through more than 50 major health systems in the United Stated. Most importantly for patients, many insurance companies are covering video visits at the same cost they would a traditional office visit.
With more than 80 percent of Americans owning smartphones, telemedicine has become a much more viable option than in years past. For providers like Dr. Madejski, it has offered a lifeline to patients in need.
“The focus right now is on COVID-19, and rightfully so,” he says. “But we still have patients presenting with illnesses and medical needs that aren’t COVID-19 related every day. Other illnesses don’t stop because of this pandemic, so we needed to change how we care for those patients.”
According to a recent survey conducted by the Washington Post, the biggest obstacle doctors report is patients who are uncomfortable with video visits because it is so opposite of what they have always known. As much as people report “white coat syndrome,” born of an anxiety from being in the doctor’s office, the reality, Dr. Madejski says, is that many people feel comfortable with their doctor and want to see them face to face.
“Many of my patients have been coming to me for years, and that is true for doctors across our organization,” he says. “I’m not just some guy coming in the room, I’m a familiar, friendly face. I’m someone they have come to trust with their health.”
Dr. Madejski says he has seen that apprehension in patients when his team suggests a video visit— at least until they have their first virtual experience.
“They are genuinely surprised at how personal the experience still is,” he says. “I’m asking questions and examining them, they are asking questions, it is a very thorough, interactive process, and that surprises people.”
The bottom line, according to Dr. Madejski and his team, is that, at least until COVID-19 is under control, video visits are a great option.
“We are able to take care of most of your needs from home, so it is safer for you right now,” he says. “It will allow us to maintain your health, while decreasing the chances of you contracting COVID-19.”