If you have seen a doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a good chance the visit was done electronically.

Telemedicine appointments have become the new normal for many Garden State residents and experts believe the trend will continue.

“Expanded access to telemedicine is really here to stay,” said Leslie Kantor, the chairwoman of the Department of Urban-Global Public Health at Rutgers University.

She said that getting to see a doctor can be challenging because of transportation, work or childcare issues. But many patients have discovered that they trust telemedicine and "have often been surprised by really how much can be done in a telemedicine visit.”

Kantor said telemedicine can’t be used for all situations, such as getting blood drawn.

"But for so many of us these days, we don’t even do that when we go to see the doctor. We actually have to go to a separate facility for that, so being able to do a telemedicine follow-up with those lab results with our doctor saves us a whole other entire trip," she said.

Some have expressed concerns about older people not feeling comfortable about having a doctor’s visit electronically, but Kantor said that many older people have been keeping in touch with family members on Zoom, and almost everybody has a smart phone these days.

Since the pandemic began in March, Medicare rules have changed to allow telemedicine appointments.

She stressed that while telemedicine does offer many advantages, “we do need to make sure that people still do feel comfortable going to healthcare providers for critical both preventative and problem services.”

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