May 30, 2016 – Telemedicine and Urgent Care


Anchor lead: Should you choose telemedicine if you need medical care urgently? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Telemedicine has proven really helpful for many people, including those with things like Parkinson’s disease, some skin conditions, and psychiatric visits in underserved areas.  But a new study shows that there is great variation in care when telemedicine is used for urgent care needs.  Deirdre Johnston, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins who utilizes telemedicine for her patients, examines the findings.

Johnston: This proves and underlines the fact that if it’s urgent care, we’re not there yet.  Urgent care is urgent care. It’s an acute problem, it seems like a bad problem, you don’t know what’s causing it.  I think you’re going to want to go to a trusted source for that.  I think in time we’re going to have trusted sources for telemedicine, where standards are clear and we can check and see whether people are maintaining those standards.  The standards aren’t quite there yet. Nothing has changed with regard to that yet, if you have an urgent problem you do what you would normally do.   :29

Johnston says she’s optimistic that as standards and utilization grow, telemedicine will continue to become more practical across a wide range of medical practice.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.