TeleHealth Services Increasing as COVID-19 Continues to Spread

INDIANAPOLIS -- With social distancing guidelines, hospitals are working to reduce in-person contact.

That's where telehealth comes in to play. More people are doing video chats with health experts during the coronavirus, according to A.J. Hanna, VP of Client Advocacy at SYKES.

"Somewhere around a 1300% increase in the number of telehealth calls in just over the last two or three weeks," Hanna said.

He says it's a good opportunity for people who aren't feeling well at home to talk with a doctor to see if they are showing the right symptoms to be tested for the coronavirus.

"They'll ask you questions like 'have you been anywhere recently where the virus was known to exist?' or 'have you been in contact with anybody whose been known to be in those regions?'," Hanna said. "Then they can go through some of the symptoms they're feeling, whether it's fever or difficulty breathing, so on, to try to figure out whether or not this person is a candidate for testing."

Hanna has nearly 30 years of experience in healthcare, focusing on digital solutions. So he did a survey with 2,000 people that have recently used telehealth to see what they like and don't like about doing a video call with a health expert during the coronavirus.

He noticed a similarity in the responses for concerns that people have with telehealth.

"It's mostly around that idea that people are most comfortable in a setting with their doctor who is actually able to do a hands-on assessment," Hanna said.

He also found it interesting that in the 18-24 age group, most participants mentioned not liking the idea of talking with a random health expert, and not their doctor.

"Today's younger generations are very much more accepting with this idea that you are communicating with someone you might not know personally, but in this case, with healthcare, they express concern that they might not get someone they personally know."

Another concern most people have with doing a video chat with a doctor is being able to trust a diagnosis when that doctor wasn't able to actually feel around and actually observe you in person.

Hanna says he understands doing a video call with a doctor isn't the same as going in and actually seeing your doctor, but you still might be able to get some questions answered while you're at home.