Did someone call a doctor?

Dr. Ashley Wood, medical director at The Villages Health Creekside Care Center, works in an exam room as she speaks with a telemedicine patient.

Telemedicine had been slowly expanding for years — COVID-19 propelled it to the forefront of health care.

In March, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services broadened access to telemedicine for Medicare beneficiaries in response to COVID-19.

Locally, providers have started offering patients the option of scheduling telemedicine appointments and have also screened patients by phone for COVID-19.

With telemedicine, patients communicate with providers in real time through video or phone conversations, receiving medical care without ever stepping into an office.

Though research shows more practices are picking it up, a 2019 study by American Medical Association researchers found just 15.4% of physicians worked in a practice that used telemedicine to interact with patients in 2016.

On March 19, the AMA joined with the Florida Medical Association and other organizations to launch The Telehealth Initiative, a program offering resources to help physicians quickly shift to telehealth care models during the pandemic.

Read this story and many others in Sunday’s edition of the Daily Sun.