How Allegheny Health Network's telemedicine director adopted new way of thinking for virtual care 

Jackie Drees - Print  | 

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced hospitals and health systems to rapidly upscale telemedicine programs, Amy Crawford-Faucher, MD, led Allegheny Health Network's efforts by overhauling and formalizing the idea of therapeutic interventions, she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Dr. Crawford-Faucher, who serves as medical director for telemedicine at the Pittsburgh-based health system, said she spent last year "completely rethinking and formalizing the way we think about therapeutic interventions."

Before the pandemic, telehealth visits made up less than 1 percent of outpatient visits; that number increased to 25 percent of all visits during the height of stay-at-home orders and health and safety restrictions before leveling off to about 20 percent of AHN's current traffic, according to the April 5 report.

Over the past year of practicing virtual medicine, Dr. Crawford-Faucher has developed a "webside manner," which might include noticing pictures in the background of her patient's screen or asking patients to press on their ankles and take a photo with their smartphones to determine if there is any swelling.

Dr. Crawford-Faucher said she has made adjustments in various ways. For example, if someone scheduled an appointment for a chronic cough, she was used to observing them and seeing if they got winded walking from the waiting area to the exam room. With virtual visits, she now asks patients to stand up and walk around their home or pays extra attention to whether they can finish their sentences.

"There's real positives about seeing people in their homes," Dr. Crawford-Faucher told the publication. "But it was a different way of thinking, a different way of documenting, a different way of navigating an encounter."

 

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