TAMPA, Fla. — Telemedicine has gained popularity in the last few years, especially during the pandemic.
“But every once in a while, you get that spot in the telemedicine visit through audio and visual technology where you really need to do some sort of physical exam,” said Dr. Paul Nanda, chief medical officer at TGH Urgent Care.
To solve that problem Tampa General Hospital is rolling out its Virtual Health Kit, which features a handheld device called TytoCare.
The device comes with different attachments that allow patients to conduct detailed medical exams of the ears, lungs, heart, throat, skin and abdomen, as well as heart rate and body temperature, from the comfort of their home.
“For a cardiovascular exam you hit the little heart button. It walks you through it to attach the stethoscope attachment. And then it shows you there’s four places, hold it and record a heart sound,” said Dr. Nanda.
The device pairs with the TGH Virtual Health app where you can request an urgent care doctor on-demand, who will then walk you through an exam.
Tytocare costs $299, but you can still make a telehealth appointment at TGH without one.
Doctors at Lakeland Regional Health tell ABC Action News telemedicine has really taken off since the pandemic started. They each see between 5 to 10 telehealth patients a day.
“There are a lot of people that are fearful of leaving their home because they haven't received their COVID vaccine yet and they’re high-risk, either themselves or family members. It’s easy and it allows us to continue to manage chronic medical conditions even though they're not able to leave their homes,” said Dr. Alexa von Lindeman, Lakeland Regional Health.
When asked if Tytocare is the future of medicine Dr. Nanda said, “I think for sure this is going to be a component of it. An in-person exam will still be vitally important, but I think as this rolls out this is part of the future of medicine.”