In the age of social distancing, doctors turn to tele-medicine to help their patients

Doctors see an increase in demand for telemedicine as state sees more cases of COVID-19

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii physicians are increasingly turning to tele-medicine to help their patients without putting them at higher risk amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With tele-health, doctor visits are completely online and confidential. They say it helps with screenings for COVID-19 without spreading infection and encourages regular doctor visits despite the crisis.

“It’s going to be super important because the last thing we want is for people to be afraid to receive care, be afraid to go to the doctors because they might get sick,” said Dr. David Roth, of Honolulu.

"It's the best way to make sure we are doing all of the rest of our health care needs despite having to practice good limitations in our social connection," he added.

Roth says federal restrictions on billing and prescribing medications through tele-health have been relaxed, opening the door to more doctor visits online. Some companies are also recruiting physicians.

Experts say large organizations like Kaiser Permanente, the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs offer telemedicine. Patients should contact their doctor if they are interested.

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