ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As urgent cares and emergency rooms continue to see high demand in the Finger Lakes region, telehealth medicine remains a convenient alternative for patients looking to see a doctor quickly.
Rochester Regional Health continues to utilize those virtual services at a time when the spread of sickness is significant.
At the height of the COVID pandemic and beyond, telemedicine has grown in popularity, where patients can get treated from a distance. Now, health officials say it’s being used to offload the more overwhelmed departments in the healthcare system.
Where there’s a demand to see a specialist during the height of respiratory infections and more, doctors say there’s also higher demand to get tested for viruses. This, following the pandemic.
“I routinely see adults who have been sent from work looking for RSV testing, two or three years ago — they had no idea what RSV was nor did their employer, so I think there’s more of an awareness and more of an institutionalized demand for more specificity and people are not going to school or work or a lot of the things they used to do with symptoms or illnesses they probably used to,” said Dr. Ryan Peterson of Rochester Regional Health.
Rochester Regional Health uses Express Care, an app for telemedicine where doctors can meet with patients ages two and older virtually.
“We’ll see you through a visit and at that point, it’s kind of determining if testing is really necessary. The more information families can bring to the table as far as getting a temperature, getting a heart rate, or weight before the visit starts. That’s valuable to us and will make the visit go a bit smoother,” said Dr. Peterson.
Dr. Peterson also said virtual visits have helped to alleviate congestion at urgent care facilities and emergency departments.
“Express Care is the service Rochester Regional has that will help to offset some of that, essentially like an urgent care over your phone,” said Dr. Peterson.
Dr. Peterson added a factor for overcrowding is the confusion among symptoms between RSV, the flu, and COVID as there can be a crossover among them.
For more information on Rochester Regional Health’s services via Express Care, visit RRH’s website.