Sure, if you consider 800 miles “close”. When you’re practicing tele-medicine, you might see a patient every day, but it’s always though the computer screen. Physically, you could be hundreds of miles apart. Our founder, Dr. Chess, prides himself on being able to find, and hire, clinicians that just seem to reach out to their patients right through the computer screen. He says that when you do find a clinician like that, and the examination starts, the computer screen just seems to fade away immediately and it’s just a patient and doctor having a conversation.
That proved true in an interesting way for one of our clinicians recently. She had been treating a 95-year-old long-term care patient in a nursing home for several years. They were about 800 miles apart so the clinician never had an opportunity to visit the facility. Her relationship with this patient was a very special one, as so many of her patient relationships are, and they often spent as much time “chatting” as they did on the medical exams.
Recently, there was a medical conference in the state where this facility is located, and our clinician was attending as part of her regular continuing medical education. Since she had come all that way, she decided to stay an extra day or two and visit some her facilities to finally walk the halls in person, shake a hand, give a hug. And who did she visit first? Her 95-year-old friend. As is common when you see someone out of context, he thought she was familiar, maybe from somewhere… “Hello. Do you recognize me?” she asked. Then it dawned on him. “You’re the doctor on the computer. But you’re not the one from Ohio. You’re much younger than she is”.
We can only assume that after such a compliment, this gentleman is her new favorite. We do know that they spent a long afternoon together – just chatting.