Telehealth Will Become the Norm in the Future of Obesity Medicine

| April 1, 2020

 by Christopher D. Still, DO, FACN, FACP

Co-Clinical Editor of Bariatric Times; Medical Director for the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management, and Director for Geisinger Obesity Research Institute at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania.

Dear Colleagues:

It is surreal how life has changed in the last several days. I hope you are all healthy and safe. It is hard to believe, but in just a few short weeks, the healthcare delivery system has been turned upside down. As we rapidly transition to telehealth, and once we all get through this temporary crisis, I think the field of obesity medicine will be transformed by telehealth. This platform fits perfectly with our specialty, and I think it will be more than just a temporary mode of delivering care for our practice and many other chronic disease states. Telehealth will be the primary driver of healthcare in the short term and will remain for many disease states. It provides patients, healthcare providers, and staff a safe and flexible option to meet the needs of our patients. Reimbursement for this mode of delivery, which was slow to come, is now here to stay. Once we get through these trying and unprecedented times, which we will, I think we will be well suited for the significant change in the way we will practice medicine in the future.In the meantime, I would like to share with you this prayer I received from a friend. I think it applies regardless of your faith or belief system.


May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors.
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close.
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips.
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market.
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home. Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country, let us choose love.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to spread kindness and love to our neighbors. Stay healthy, and remember what Dory said: “When life gets you down, just keep swimming!” We will all get through this!


Christopher D. Still, DO, FACN, FACP

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