Some doctors use telemedicine to diagnose flu, prevent spread

Patients using webcam, phone to get treatment

By Jaclyn Allen
AURORA, Colo. - Some doctors are using telemedicine to diagnose patients with the flu and prevent the spread of the virus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared at epidemic levels. At almost every entrance in the University of Colorado Hospital, signs warn: FLU. "The key to a lot of infectious diseases is to keep it contained," said Dr. Michelle Barron, an infectious disease expert at CU Hospital. She said it is not new for some doctors to tell patients who might be infectious to stay home and just call. "The danger of having somebody that's infectious sitting in a waiting room is that other people that are around them they can get sick and they can continue to spread the flu," said Barron. But beyond calling your doctor, there is a growing trend of "telemedicine," where patients can log onto a website and connect with a doctor for a diagnosis. Jennifer McClendon is a physician's assistant in Arizona who also treats patients from Colorado online. "I can tell that, that they're not in any acute distress over the webcam. I can tell that they are breathing well. Basically, treat them based on what they tell us, which is very similar to what I do in practice," said McClendon. Doctors said high-risk patients or more serious cases would still need to see a doctor in person. The key is being able to give a good history -- symptoms and risk factors -- and asking the right questions. Original Article: Some doctors use telemedicine to diagnose flu, prevent spread