Continuing to provide safe, necessary care for patients while minimizing in-person visits during the pandemic is no easy feat. But thanks to MaineHealth’s strong telehealth framework already in place prior to COVID-19, patients have a secure and convenient alternative to coming into the office to receive the care they need.
Telehealth leverages MaineHealth’s investment in shared electronic health record technology to facilitate information flow across our health system. While MaineHealth has served patients via telehealth for many years, especially in rural areas, the pandemic accelerated plans for expanding telehealth capabilities across the health system. In just a few months, MaineHealth providers were able to see nearly six times more patients via telehealth visits compared to the entire 2019 year.
Thanks to tremendous work from many teams across the health system, providers conducted over 88,000 telehealth visits with patients between March and July 2020 vs. 15,000 in all of 2019.
Bernie Forcier is one of those patients.
Patient Bernie Fornier
Bernie, who has Type 2 diabetes, is thankful for the option to see his provider through a secure video visit. Telehealth has enabled him to keep his diabetes under control during the COVID-19 pandemic. He described the visits as the “next best thing to face-to-face.” Bernie works full time in Biddeford, and telehealth allows him to save time because he does not need to travel to the doctor’s office or wait to be seen. For Bernie, it’s about convenience and the quality of care offered by the experts at MaineHealth.
Dr. Lisa Carpenter, DO, is one of 1,000 providers across MaineHealth who is conducting telehealth visits with their patients. She said, “We are committed to providing health care for these types of visits with the same standards as a face-to-face appointment. Telehealth visits are as secure as in-person visits and enable us to maintain a personal connection with our patients. The care team takes patient privacy seriously and we are here to ensure our patients that telehealth is not only convenient but also safe.”