On April 15, 2020, Georgia Urology’s Dr. Hal Scherz was interviewed by Dr. Lori Descoutter with Pediatric Associates of North Atlanta on the changes Georgia Urology has made during the coronavirus pandemic.
During the interview, Dr. Hal Scherz highlighted Georgia Urology’s telemedicine program. Although the implementation of telemedicine is not new to Georgia Urology, because of the recent coronavirus pandemic, Georgia Urology has successfully converted 90% of their practice to a telemedicine program to ensure safe and quality care for all patients.
Below are some questions and answers that were covered during the interview:
Dr. Lori Descoutter: What types of patients would you prefer that we not send to you through telemedicine? Which ones do you have to see in person?
Dr. Hal Scherz: The ones that should probably not come to see us are ones that we actually have to put our own hands on to examine. That might mean the children that we see for problems like undescended testicles, for example. Other patients that we should not see are those who don’t require urgent testing. Because we are only using our office ultrasound examination room for urgent patients, those patient appointments can probably be postponed. All else, we can address, temporize, and/or set up for later testing or surgery.
Dr. Lori Descoutter: What advice would you give for general pediatricians for sending Georgia Urology referrals? How does Georgia Urology determine if someone must be seen in person or if their appointment can be conducted through telemedicine?
Dr. Hal Scherz: On our Georgia Urology website, we have put together a “cheat-sheet” for pediatricians to know what patients need to see us in the office and which ones can be seen via telemedicine.
Dr. Lori Descoutter: Have you changed your office hours? Or are you still open Monday-Friday with your regular hours?
Dr. Hal Scherz: In so many ways we have expanded our hours because of telemedicine. It has really changed everything and has enabled us to see patients late in the day, in the evening, and over the weekend. In the past, everything had to be done over the phone. Now we can see patients and take care of a problem or concern without them having to leave their homes.
Dr. Lori Descoutter: Is there anything else the Kids Health First Pediatricians know?
Dr. Hal Scherz: I would like to thank the Kids Health First Pediatricians for their long-standing support of Georgia Urology. We want all of the pediatricians at Kids Health First to know that we have kept our doors open and that we are always a resource to them.
Telemedicine is going to be here to stay. Patients are participating in it, loving it, and it’s making things a lot easier in terms of patient care.