The Arizona Telemedicine Program Blog

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, I’ve watched with great interest how older adults with limited English proficiency (LEP) are encountering telehealth. My own grandmother speaks and understands very limited English and must rely on others for translation services and transportation to doctors’ appointments.

Who are we?

The Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council (ATIC) has had an important and impactful vision for over 35 years -that all Arizona citizens, businesses, schools, organizations, and communities have access to high-capacity Internet and the tools, technologies, and skills to participate effectively in the networked world.

We read with interest the blog by Paul Sun on June 23, 2022. The blog’s value in acknowledging the upcoming importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in telehealth is high, however, the title and further application to only physicians, requires further thought.

As more and more people turn to telehealth services for care, it is becoming increasingly important for physicians and the entire healthcare industry to have access to technology that can help improve patient care. Luckily, artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly emerging as a powerful tool that can do just that.

Before the pandemic, Amy Hu, MD, a psychiatrist with Banner Health and a UArizona College of Medicine Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, had not utilized telemedicine to see her patients. She says she viewed it as more of a niche application for other healthcare providers.

“I did have some misconceptions about what telehealth was like. I thought that patients may not feel as engaged or connected, or that it might feel a little unnatural compared to meeting in-person.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a steady rise in telehealth use. By way of example; March 2020 saw telehealth visits increase by 154% compared to March 2019!

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