Establishing empathy via telemedicine

April 20, 2020

Tips from clinicians during the surge in telehealth demands.

People with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19, the infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus. That’s according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The best way for patients with moderate-to severe-asthma to prevent succumbing to Covid-19, as with all patients, is to avoid exposure to the virus. 

To reduce the risk that his patients with asthma will contract Covid-19, Matt Dougherty, MD, a St. Louis physician, is using telehealth to treat patients. He starts by thanking his patient for participating in a telehealth visit because the doctor’s office may not be the safest place to go right now. Dougherty explains that participating in a telehealth visit can keep them safe and out of the emergency room or a hospital that may be filled with people who can put them at greater risk.

"I have found that families really appreciate that we realize the limitations of what we can do in the office right now and love that we’re trying alternative ways to keep [them] healthy proactively,” says Dougherty.

What follows are eight additional tips from clinicians on establishing an empathetic connection with patients during a telehealth visit.