POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - People are doing more from home than ever before: working, exercising and even seeing their doctor.
With stay-home orders on the rise nationwide, many people have been afraid to visit the doctors' office. Fear not. Hospitals like Bingham Memorial allow you to get checked out (for certain things) without leaving your house.
"We’re getting a lot of people who are calling with a cough and a fever and so those can absolutely be triaged and then seen over a telehealth visit," Dr. Chris Heatherton, a physician at Bingham Memorial, said.
Bingham is currently offering telehealth visits with nearly all the hospital’s specialties. All you have to do is contact your doctor and if your needs meet the telehealth criteria, you wait your turn in your doctor’s virtual waiting room.
It's a system Heatherton says benefits everyone involved.
"First off - for the patients - we’re not making the patient come in and sit in our waiting room, which, at this time, with people being ill, you never know who you’re sitting next to or what you could have," he said. "We’re hopefully keeping our staff healthier because we’re not being exposed to as many people who are sick."
The hospital is still seeing about 50% of visits in person. Heatherton said some of that is due to patient discomfort and other cases are out of necessity.
"Someone who breaks their arm obviously needs to be seen, right? And the follow up on that may need an X-ray. So they’re going to need to come into our orthopedic doctor. But if they’re just having a question about whether or not there’s an infection at their incision site, that can be done through telehealth."
The system is currently being used to keep people safe, but Heatherton says he hopes to continue using it regularly after the pandemic.
"Think about what this does for our more rural patients," he said."Bingham sees people as far and wide as Soda Springs to Mackay.
"If there’re visits that we can do this way to prevent the patient - say with diabetes - from having to come in four times during the year, we can get them to only have to come in once or twice … I think that’s a huge benefit to our patient population."
Heatherton emphasized that they don’t want people to avoid doctor’s visits because they don’t want to come in. he says they’ll do everything they can through telehealth.