Local hospital administrators are gearing up to fight both COVID-19 and the flu this fall, and are emphasizing the importance of telehealth. They made their comments at a virtual town hall to discuss the state of healthcare in the Triad.
The forum was hosted by the North Carolina Healthcare Association and featured senior executives from Wake Forest Baptist Health, Cone Health, Northern Regional Hospital, and Novant Health.
One common theme was telemedicine and the role it's played during the pandemic. Chief Operating Officer for Novant Health, Jeff Lindsay, says they've significantly increased their ability to provide virtual care.
“The whole of 2019, we had around 250 virtual visits. Over the summer we were doing as many as 15,000 encounters per day," he says. "So we've seen a real explosion in accessibility.”
Wake Forest Baptist CEO, Dr. Julie Freischlag, says telehealth is here to stay and it's becoming a part of education protocol for medical students.
The leaders emphasized the need to remain vigilant as flu season approaches, especially since symptoms can be indistinguishable from those associated with COVID-19. They encouraged community members to get vaccinated.