HealthLinks Charleston May/June 2022

www. Char l es tonPhys i c i ans . com | www.Hea l thL i nksChar l es ton . com | 17 FOR AN APPOINTMENT CALL 843.797.3960 9295 Medical Plaza Dr. Ste A-B, Charleston, SC 29406 At Trident Dermatology®, Our Priority is to Deliver Quality Dermatological Care to Informed Patients in a Comfortable and Convenient setting. • Treatment of a variety of skin conditions, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, etc. • Diagnosis and treatment of various skin cancers by our fellowship trained Mohs surgeons and our in-house lab. • Various cosmetic services including wrinkle treatment, laser hair removal, peels, lesion removals, vein treatment, etc. SERVICES When COVID hit, “we needed to convert as many patients as we could to a virtual visit,” he said. The practice went from 2% of telehealth visits to 90% within a week. Now, as COVID wanes, Dr. Newman finds 20% of patients are making the choice to do virtual visits because they like “the platform and its convenience.” He cautioned that there is a “fairly limited spectrum of conditions amenable to be done virtually.” In that spectrum, he includes mental health and notes that “counseling about depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD and those types of modalities clearly don’t need a physical exam.” Statistics that show behavioral health is a significant driver in the increase of telehealth visits. The increased accessibility at more medical practices is also helping to bring mental health services to underserved communities where no current practice exists. Where will all this go? Dr. Newman expects to see readily available devices in two to five years that will “measure vitals with much greater accuracy and may even be able to transmit electronically to labs.” A quick finger stick to measure cholesterol, potassium, sodium and blood sugar may all be accessible at home, he believes. But the big unanswered question is: Who’s going to pay for it? Another big question lingers for Dr. Newman who, as a primary care physician, is on the front lines of patient diagnosis. “We have to be very careful about not overutilizing virtual visits even though they are clearly convenient. Convenience is not always without a price. The price is you can’t develop relationships as easily with people with a Zoom meeting or a phone call. There is the element of human touch, of holding someone’s hand when they’re depressed. … You can’t do that over the phone. The patient and the physician have to understand that we cannot lose the humanity that makes the doctor-patient relationship one of the most sacred in the world.”