What are the benefits of telemedicine for a Lyme disease patient?
Doctors and their Lyme disease patients have been reluctant to meet face-to-face during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, we’ve turned to telemedicine appointments. What are the benefits of telemedicine for a Lyme disease patient?
A growing number of specialties have described a shift to utilizing telemedicine in their practices. “The global pandemic of COVID-19 has dramatically altered the delivery of rheumatology outpatient services because of the redeployment of staff and efforts to minimize infection risk to patients and clinicians in line with physical distancing guidance,” writes Yeoh and colleagues. “Departments have converted most face-to-face appointments to telephone clinics or, less frequently, to video clinics.”1
The CDC describes the benefits of telemedicine:
- Allows you to talk to your doctor live over the phone or video chat
- Allows you to send and receive messages from your doctor using chat messaging or email
- Allows for remote monitoring of patients
- Saves on travel time/ transportation costs
- Reduces wait time for services
- Reduces the number of visits to a clinic
Evidence-based guidelines are beginning to emerge that support telemedicine. “The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) COVID-19 rapid guidelines for rheumatology suggest that face-to-face consultations are only required for patients who have a disease flare,“ the authors explain.
There are several advantages of telemedicine appointments. It allows for physical distancing to reduce the risk of COVID and enables physicians to closely monitor and manage treatment for a range of clinical manifestations of Lyme disease including Lyme encephalopathy, Lyme neuropathy, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), and neuropsychiatric Lyme disease.
- Yeoh SA, Ehrenstein MR. Are treat-to-target and dose tapering strategies for rheumatoid arthritis possible during the COVID-19 pandemic? Lancet Rheumatol. Aug 2020;2(8):e454-e456. doi:10.1016/S2665-9913(20)30175-2
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