Consumer healthcare choices and options to be an outcome of COVID-19 pandemic – Reno Gazette Journal

Posted: May 31, 2020 at 11:46 pm

Dr. Bonnie Ferrara talks about how Renown Medical Group is offering virtual doctor visits for certain patients. Reno Gazette Journal

The ball has bounced to the patients court

Thats at least according to Renown CEO and President Anthony Slonim,who said the outcome of the coronavirus pandemic means consumers will have more options and choices.

And those options are coming faster than ever before in a medical world that was sometimes been slow to transform to patient needs.

We have been doing it around the edges, said Slonim about the incremental progress the medical community made on population health and consumer-driven healthcare.

Overnight our world has shifted to make us think more deliberately about how we can go about executing it.

Slonim said the expansion of telemedicine happened literallyovernight in Nevada as patients with other illnesses avoided doctors offices and urgent cares for fear of contracting coronavirus.

We are learning that people want convenience in their living rooms.

He saidtelemedicine is the just one of the ways consumers are demanding options.

He said now when a person is sick they can decide if they need to Skype a doctor.

Do they need to have a nurse practitioner visit them at home or do they need to go to an urgent care or the ER?

Slonim said medicine is changing and giving concierge service to everyone.

Slonim also said the problem in medicine had been there hasnt been a quarterback.

Now some of that ownership is back on primary care physicians.

I am telling doctors, 'Dont wait for them to come to you,' he said. You have to manage it.

Dr. Bonnie Ferrara of the Renown Medical Group poses for a portrait while using the Zoom app on her computer on May 20, 2020. This is how Dr. Ferrara would appear to patients during a virtual medical consultation.(Photo: JASON BEAN/RGJ)

He also said health care will need to learn to relinquish some of the control.

We learned that with our Healthy Nevada Project, Slonim said of an initiative pioneered by Renown to genetically test thousands of Nevadans to evaluate the health of the population.

When we made genetic testing free, 50,000 people signed up, he said.

He said the same is true of COVID-19 testing.

Everyone you talk to wants a COVID test, he said. Opening it up to everyone without a doctors prescription puts consumerism more front and center than ever before.

He said it gives families and individuals choices on how to manage their own health.

There are safe and appropriate things you can do without having to go to a doctor, he said. Needing a doctors prescription for tests is old school thinking.

And while the image of coronavirus focused on social distancing and doctors covered head to toe in protective equipment, Slonim said the pandemic has the medical community talking about the human touch.

During a recent medical webinar, Slonim said the conversation was that technology cant be everything.

Remember when it was OK to sit on the bed with a patient and hold their hand, Slonim said a doctor on the call said.They talked about how it became common to view that as invading a patients space.

But Slonim said people still long for that connectivity and caring.

What will evolve is a way to understand how to do that differently with technology enabling it.

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Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.

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Consumer healthcare choices and options to be an outcome of COVID-19 pandemic - Reno Gazette Journal

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