THIS PAST APRIL, Jake R. of Clifton, New Jersey, started feeling run down. His symptoms lined up with the novel coronavirus: fever, chills and headaches. “I’m a healthy person, and this was the sickest I’ve ever been in my whole life,” he says. “My appetite went away, I was tired, and I’ve never slept so much. But the worst part is, mentally, you don’t feel in control.” He was taking acetaminophen every four hours to try to tame his fever.
Telemedicine is a faster and easier way to get in touch with a doctor.
By the sixth day, Jake, 53, was desperate to see a doctor and get tested for the COVID-19 virus. “I wanted a test, but I needed to get approval from a doctor to get it,” he says. Jake recalled that his children’s pediatrician’s office had recently started offering coronavirus testing—for all ages. He logged onto the pediatrician’s site from his smartphone. After answering a health questionnaire online, he spoke with a doctor over FaceTime® five minutes later.
“I was pretty surprised that I could see a doctor so quickly,” Jake says. After a 10-minute telehealth discussion about his symptoms, he was cleared for a COVID test. The doctor added that if Jake’s symptoms didn’t improve soon, he should go to the hospital.
The next day, Jake went to a drive-in testing center for his appointment. A technician met him at the car and did a nasal swab.
One week later, Jake got the call: He had tested positive for COVID-19. But by then, his fever had broken and his symptoms had faded. Jake is now fully recovered. “I was very fortunate,” he says.
Jake says that telemedicine cut down on the hassle of getting care, as well as the wait time—both of which are barriers to care. “You have to get an appointment. You sit in a waiting room. And then when you see the doctor, they’re in and out in five minutes,” Jake says. “With telemedicine, it cuts through all the other stuff, and you get straight to the doctor. As a patient, that’s great.”
Even after the pandemic is over, Jake says he’ll turn to telemedicine first from now on. “For a person like me who doesn’t go to the doctor that much, telemedicine is the future,” he says. “It’s a faster and easier way to get in touch with a doctor to get a prescription or a test.”