UM SMG Providers Expand Telemedicine Offerings in the Age of COVID-19
From primary care to specialty care, University of Maryland Shore Medical Group providers want their patients to know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not been abandoned. Quite the opposite, according to Timothy Shanahan, DO, medical director for UM Shore Medical Group, who emphasizes the importance of getting health care needs addressed even as COVID-19 imposes certain requirements for office visits, including wearing a mask, having your temperature taken and social distancing.
Dr. Shanahan also wants people to know that, thanks to the expansion of telemedicine in UM Shore Medical Group provider offices, an actual visit to your provider may not be necessary.
“We understand nothing can replace a face-to-face visit, but this telemedicine technology, which enables us to meet with patients via video conference, provides a safe way for you and our health care team members to maintain your health,” he said.
Patients who need to speak to their primary care practitioner, mothers who need to discuss a child’s care with a pediatric physician, and patients who need to discuss a necessary medication with a specialist should call their provider’s office to schedule an online doctor’s visit (telemedicine), where appropriate.
Telemedicine video visits are patient encounters in which real-time communication is made possible through face-to-face video-conferencing software with integrated audio. In response to COVID-19, UM Shore Medical Group providers are offering telemedicine for new and existing patients. This expanded access to an experienced health care professional in the safety of your home is vital to many patients. Video-conferencing appointments are confidential and secure.
Examples of types of telehealth appointments include annual wellness visits with a primary care doctor; consultation with a specialist for different chronic diseases like asthma, COPD, diabetes and high blood pressure; some prenatal appointments; transitional care management, which follows discharge from a hospital; and sick visits for illnesses that are not suspected to be COVID-19, as well as those that could be COVID-19.
“Please continue to keep yourself healthy and don’t ignore what your body is telling you,” said Dr. Shanahan. “Keeping yourself healthy means keeping in touch with your providers.”
If you cannot quickly access your provider, consider going to Urgent Care in either Denton or Easton. Both ChoiceOne Urgent Care locations are open daily, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and are offering telemedicine appointments, as well, if appropriate.
“If you think you may be having a medical emergency, please go to the nearest emergency department in Chestertown, Dorchester, Easton or Queenstown,” Dr. Shanahan adds. “An emergency room is still a safe place for emergent care concerns.”
More information about UMMS and UM SRH’s response to COVID-19 is available on the System’s dedicated COVID-19 information webpage, https://www.umms.org/covid
Picture: Timothy Shanahan, DO, medical director for University of Maryland Shore Medical Group, demonstrates a telemedicine visit from his office computer.
As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,200 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.