Phoebe Ramps Up Telehealth Services During COVID-19 Pandemic

Staff Report From Albany CEO

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

To continue to provide primary care services during the COVID-19 public health crisis, Phoebe has turned to telehealth technology so patients can see their physicians and advanced practice providers (APP) without leaving their homes.  “We know our patients still need treatment for minor illnesses and management of chronic conditions during this time, but they certainly need to stay home as much as possible to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.  These ‘virtual visits’ will allow us to provide much-needed care to our patients in the safest possible environment – their homes,” said Bill Fricks, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer for Phoebe Physicians.

Patients can call 229-312-MYMD (6963) to schedule a telehealth visit.  They will be given an appointment time and a link to connect to a video-conference with a Phoebe physician or APP.  “It’s a very easy process.  Patients can see and speak to their physician directly through their smartphone or a family member’s smartphone if they don’t have a phone with internet access.  This service is a great way to ensure our patients get the medications they need and don’t delay care for non-emergent illnesses,” said Derek Heard, MD, Medical Director of Primary Care for Phoebe Physicians.

Phoebe stood up the service quickly, delivering and setting up the telehealth technology at all Phoebe Physicians primary care clinics in 48 hours.  “We completed 106 telehealth appointments Tuesday, and the service is growing every day,” Dr. Fricks said.

A few Phoebe Physicians specialty clinics are also accepting telehealth appointments, and more will be added soon.