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El Paso sees surge in telemedicine visits during pandemic due to increased convenience

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- During the pandemic, many services have become more accessible from home. A local physician says telemedicine visits have surged over the past few months. These visits include medical appointments done by phone or video chat.

Dr. Diego De La Mora, the Chief Health Informatics Officers at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, says their clinics had only about one to three telemedicine appointments before the pandemic began. When the pandemic first hit, that number jumped to nearly 1,000 per week.

Dr. De La Mora says the visits are particularly helpful for appointments that do not require a physical exam. He said primary care visits and urgent care visits have seen the biggest surge in new telemedicine appointments. With the right technology, doctors can even monitor a patient's vitals without seeing them in person.

Telemedicine visits ensure safety during the pandemic, but Dr. De La Mora said there are other benefits too.

"When we talk about a post-pandemic world, what we see is that these kinds of tools can really solve a lot of issues around transportation," he said. "Including issues of patients that did not have very good support or social support."

"Also it increases the convenience for a lot of patients," Dr. De La Mora said. "In the past, they would have to take a whole day out of work in order to come and visit the doctor. It is possible now to have a visit pretty much during your lunch hour."

Dr. De La Mora hopes patients will take advantage of the services during the pandemic. He said many patients may be delaying essential care due to fear of contracting the virus during an in-person appointment.

He said many medical professionals are now offering these services and recommends patients ask their doctors if these types of visits are possible.

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.

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