Six venous specialists, Manj Gohel (Cambridge, UK), Ian Franklin (London, UK) Alun Davies (London, UK), Sriram Narayanan (Singapore), Raghu Kolluri (Columbus, USA) and Stephen Black (London, UK) discuss the role of telehealth during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond and look at whether or not it is an effective tool in helping to treat patients with venous disease before delving into whether or not the current climate offers an opportunity to study the natural history of venous disease.
Gohel says “we have not been the greatest adopters of telemedicine” but clarifies that with a detailed history and images or video, a reasonable diagnosis can be made and advice and reassurance can be offered to patients.
Franklin remarks that what has been shown is the “remarkable extent” to which virtual communication can be used to conduct everyday life, adding that “there is no doubt” that once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, much of what has traditionally been done face-to-face will be conducted online.
Davies notes that if telehealth is the only form of interaction with a clinician this can be “quite difficult”. However, he says that a lot of primary assessments can be done virtually and telehealth offers an “easy system of communication”.
Narayanan explains however that some areas of practice “that have suffered” due to telehealth have been pelvic congestion or venous erectile dysfunction which are “not easy to talk about online” and Kolluri describes how his centre is trying to keep patients out of hospital as much as possible.
Davies, Narayanan and Franklin conclude by discussing whether or not there is an opportunity to study the natural history of venous disease and what some of the big research areas will be going forward.
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