But what about actual care? Inpatient care is still happening. Patients in the outpatient setting still need to be evaluated, have questions answered and medications refilled. Bedside teaching is still occurring, although the number of learners at the bedside is reduced. To protect the health care workers and preserve PPE, not all learners go to the bedside with the attending physician, which had been the case in the past.
Faculty members, residents and fellows have had a crash course in telemedicine. Thankfully, our community health and family medicine colleagues were already using the technology, so the infrastructure was there to be utilized.
No one imagined we would go from 50 telehealth visits a day to 600 a day. Because of the urgent need for its use, the ACGME’s common program requirements regarding the usage of telehealth went into effect before July, the start of the new academic year. Utilization of telemedicine capabilities has allowed remote inpatient consultation and reduced potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. There has been a steep learning curve for faculty members and trainees, but residents are quite resilient and adaptable and have risen to the task. Faculty members are learning how to “supervise” a virtual visit and provide feedback to the trainees after these visits.