As accessibility and acceptance of telemedicine continues to grow, so do the opportunities to become involved in this healthcare solution. Due to its emerging status within the medical field, many are inquiring about its practicality and usability. This week we aimed to answer a few of these questions by offering the insight of one of our long-standing providers, Jennifer McClendon, PA-C.
Jennifer has been practicing medicine since 2002. She spent one year in Internal medicine, followed by 12 years in Emergency medicine. In addition to being a super-star provider for MeMD, she also spends time working at a local urgent care facility.
What prompted you to become involved in telemedicine?
I’m a mom and really wanted to be more present for my children and husband, so I decided to become involved with telemedicine. It’s truly amazing to be able to continue to help people in my field of medicine from my home, while spending time and caring for my family.
Are there any advantages or disadvantages that you see within the telehealth field?
Over the past five years, I have witnessed the desperate need of individuals seeking healthcare who simply do not have the resources or means to do so. Telemedicine serves as a solution, as it gives access to those people in need by providing an affordable and convenient way to receive medical care. Telemedicine is also advantageous because it helps save patients both time and money. It can eliminate the long waits often associated with seeing primary care providers and specialists, as well as prevent many unnecessary visits to the Emergency Rooms or Urgent Care. In my experience, telemedicine has served as an amazing option for initial medical care.
Has telemedicine impacted your perspective as a provider? If so, how?
I wouldn’t say telemedicine has impacted my perspective as a provider. I feel that I treat my patients the same in-person, as I do over the phone or video. However, it has opened my eyes to a large gap in medical care throughout our country. I see it as an opportunity to meet patient's’ basic medical needs and as a way to be able to treat simple or minor ailments effectively.
What type of feedback have you received from patients regarding their experience with telemedicine?
Overall, I think there is tremendous patient satisfaction with telemedicine, specifically for patients that experience it firsthand. Most of my patients are amazed at how easy it is to consult a medical provider and seek help for low-acuity medical ailments. Historically, this is something that has taken hours of their time and often, cost them more than they wanted or were able to afford.
For me, it is very rewarding to be a part of something that creates an “easy, hassle-free” experience for a patient. Most people want and need more time and more money in their pockets, and through telemedicine, we are providing a service that meets these and other needs in an easy, affordable, and time-saving way.
The growing field of telemedicine provides many with an opportunity to seek medical attention for their low-acuity ailments. While it will never replace in-person care, it is helping to fill a gap in our healthcare system. The medical field is constantly redefined by new technology, to which telemedicine is a testament.