Technology of telemedicine beneficial during coronavirus outbreak

Reporter: Veronica Marshall
Published: Updated:

No more gatherings of 10 or more people and stay inside as much as possible.

Those are the new government guidelines announced Monday by President Donald Trump.

With COVID-19 concerns on the rise, so are virtual doctor visits.

FGCU graduate and MomentMD CEO Abanob Farag say telehealth programs can help cut down on new exposures.

“We can handle the triage aspect,” Farag says. “You can consult with a doctor and they can help in the assessment of your symptoms. And it also prevents patients from just going to a hospital where they can get exposed.”

Through smartphones, providers and patients can meet and discuss symptoms and travel history with no threat of possible exposure.

Dr. Karen Calkins with Lee Health said, “After years of experience and seeing patients, you really can tell who looks sick and who doesn’t look sick. You can get a lot of clues that way by their color, just by the way they’re breathing. You can actually tell quite a bit.”

But after that, Dr. Calkins says if a test is needed, the patient has to go out and get one.

“They can’t do the testing at this point. So you can see a provider, they can go through the algorithm provided by the CDC to determine if you are at risk or not at risk, and whether or not you might need to be tested,” she added.

Still, residents say the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Fort Myers resident Kiara Nieves said, “I don’t know too much about it, but I know enough that it’s probably the best option right now with everything going on with the virus.”

And Farag says Moment MD is adapting to meet the need, “Right now, we’re working with our team to offer free consultations for anyone that is showing symptoms so they can meet with a provider.”

Lee Health is also offering free telehealth services. And on Friday the Trump administration announced it would waive federal rules to make it easier for doctors to use telehealth programs.


The Florida Department of Health has opened a 24-hour COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida Department of Health COVID-19 updates

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