Healthcare experts say virtual doctor appointments could become new norm

Health Check

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The coronavirus pandemic has turned many things virtual, including doctor and dentist appointments and this may become the new normal, according to healthcare experts.

Jeanie Murphy was in the Army for eight years. While stationed at Fort Riley, she received news that completely altered her world.

“I went to renew my drivers license and I failed the eye exam and didn’t understand why, didn’t know anything. So I thought maybe I needed some glasses, but that wasn’t the case. I had a fungus called ocular histoplasmosis,” Murphy said.

This fungus in her eye caused her to go blind, forcing her to retire from the military.

Murphy quickly went from reporting to duty to reporting to the doctor’s office or her blind veteran support group.

“It took a new turn on life for sure,” Murphy said.

Murphy had to travel multiple times a month for her appointments.

However, with many things turning virtual in the pandemic, Murphy now has her appointments online with VA Video Connect.

“I’m very thankful and appreciative that we can do a V.V.C. because I am able to talk with someone one-on-one or even a group of people,” Murphy said.

Telehealth has taken off at the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System in Topeka since the pandemic started, with their staff seeing over 12,000 online appointments with patients just like Murphy who have to travel or cannot come into hospitals due to their health.

Something that could become the new normal.

“I don’t only believe it will be, but I know it will be,” said Randy Kohl, Telehealth coordinator for the health care system. “That’s what we’re trying to push, and you can kind of see that coast-to-coast.”

Telehealth is something that can help others who are going through something just like Murphy has.

“Just because you lose something doesn’t mean that you can’t replace it. So, live life to the fullest,” Murphy said.

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