Georgia launches free telehealth app amid lifting social distancing guidelines

As Georgia reopens some businesses and loosens social distancing restrictions, Gov. Brian Kemp is expanding free access to a telehealth app to screen, test and treat Georgia COVID-19 patients.

The smartphone app, developed by Augusta (Ga.) University Health, connects users 24/7 with a clinician from Augusta University Health or the Medical College of Georgia. Through the app, users can participate in a virtual visit for COVID-19 screening and to schedule testing, if needed.

For patients who meet criteria for COVID-19 testing, health system staff will schedule an appointment at one of the state's testing sites and upload results within 72 hours to a patient portal. A medical provider will contact the patient if they test positive and will help them enroll in a self-reporting app by Google, dubbed MTX, which the state's public health department is using for contact tracing.

Gov. Kemp reopened businesses including hair and nail salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors on April 24. "With favorable data and approval from state health officials, we are taking another measured step forward by opening shuttered businesses for limited operations," he tweeted the day before. "I know these hardworking Georgians will prioritize the safety of their employees and customers."

Some public health experts and Georgia mayors, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, urged residents to still maintain social distancing guidelines, according to The New York Times.

More articles on telehealth:
How Phoenix Children's built a telemedicine dashboard and transitioned 6K visits in one week
Some patients still being billed for telehealth despite changes in insurance regulations 
Telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic: What's different & what has stayed the same for clinicians

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