This week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp gave Augusta University a shoutout for their work with telehealth to screen patients for COVID-19. After Governor Kemp announced the service is now available to all Georgians, people across the state started to use the app.
“Augusta University, the state’s only public academic medical center launched a web-based app that provides telemedicine screening of patients,” Governor Kemp said in his Monday press briefing. “With an app available on apple and android smart phones, this tool allows healthcare providers to interact with patients without risk of exposure. It’s called the AU Health Expresscare.”
After the Governor announced the service is now available to all Georgians, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Phillip Coule says they saw a spike in users.
“Within minutes, I started getting messages that we were getting screening calls from Atlanta and the Atlanta- area and people wanting to figure out how they could get tested,” Dr. Coule says.
“We are working in partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health, just like we are for the center here,” Dr. Coule says. “There are other specimen collection points throughout the state.”
If an AU doctor decides someone needs to be tested after they are screened, the doctor sends the patient to a specimen collection point close to their home.
While, there are tons of negative repercussions caused by COVID-19, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at AU Dr. Richard Schwartz says there are also positive impacts that are going to make us stronger once the crisis passes.
“One example is really the use of telemedicine,” says Dr. Schwartz.
Dr. Schwartz and his team had just started with new telemedicine efforts this year in emergency departments across the state thanks to a USDA grant.
“We had just begun and now, we’re up over 8,000 visits across the state and telemedicine is really becoming a day-to-day practical part of our practice,” Dr. Schwartz says.
CLICK HERE to download the AU Health Expresscare app.
If you are not a smartphone or computer user you can call the COVID-19 hotline at (706) 721-1852.
Photojournalist Gary Hipps