Dr. Yazan Abou-Ismail is a Senior Clinical Fellow in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at Case Western Reserve University Hospital. Dr. Abou-Ismail is a medical contributor and was most recently featured on Al-Jazeera news. He is also a talented musician, producer, and content creator for his popular YouTube channel, Health Hacks with Dr. Yazan.
This past week, we sat down with Dr. Yazan to learn about his experience with telemedicine as a Hematologist/Oncologist during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whitecoatremote.com: Dr. Yazan, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, had you done telemedicine before?
Dr. Yazan: No, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic I had never done telemedicine. However, now, I’m doing 50% telemedicine and 50% face-to-face clinical visits.
WCR: Who do you offer telemedicine services to?
Dr. Yazan: There are some Oncology patients that just need to be seen in person – these are patients who are receiving chemotherapy or have high risk medical conditions. These patients are monitored closely and we prefer face-to-face visits with them. On the other hand, there are also patients’ who have illnesses that are chronic, stable or are in remission. Many of these patients don’t need to come in and we can offer them telehealth visits.
WCR: How has the response been from the patient’s side?
Dr. Yazan: The response from my patients has been positive. Our patients seem to like this service and many are grateful that this is an option for them. They share the same concerns as us and they do not want to be at risk to unnecessary exposures.
WCR: As a physician, what are some of the barriers in telehealth that you have experienced?
Dr. Yazan: The issues I’ve experienced are generally minor and include technical problems but most of the time it has been smooth. There are also some patients that simply don’t have access to the internet or a telecommunications platform. As physicians, we always want to be mindful of the social situations of our patients and accommodate them as best as possible.
WCR: From your perspective, why is telemedicine important to offer at this time?
Dr. Yazan: Telehealth plays a very important role, especially now. We are trying to limit our patients' exposure to the health care setting. Many of our patients are vulnerable and are at a high risk of complications from COVID-19. Telehealth is a safe, easy option for our patients.
WCR: Do you think telemedicine will change the face of health care moving forward?
Dr. Yazan: I think it will have a significant impact. Personally, I have now come to realize that so much can be done virtually and certain health care options will now be available to patients who have not had access to these services before.
WCR: Thank you for your time, we appreciate both your time and your insight!
Dr. Yazan: Thank you.
The landscape of telemedicine continues to rapidly evolve during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every week, we hope to spotlight physicians from around the country to highlight and discuss their ongoing experiences with telehealth.
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