Medical experts say telehealth has played a major role in treating COVID patients since the start of the pandemic.

"At our peak we had about 70 percent of our ambulatory visits, meaning non-hospital visits being done in a virtual manner," said Christina Musser with St. Luke's University Health Network.

St. Luke's says that's because virtual visits help monitor patients while preventing spread of the virus. And when hospitalization is necessary "we created what was called the response center and here at our IT center we created a room that virtually monitors the entire health system using real-time vital signs," said Charlie Sonday with St. Luke's.

Lehigh Valley Health Network is also seeing a spike in televisits. LVHN recently expanded its telehealth with a program called At Home.

"What we're doing is providing devices to patients so that we can monitor them at home. Devices like Pulse oximeters that measures the oxygen level in a patient's blood. We're providing thermometers and blood pressure cuffs," said Robert Kruklitis with LVHN.

LVHN says in some cases, nurses follow up with in-home visits.

"I do think that this is the direction that medicine is heading," Kruklitis said.

LVHN says it hopes to expand its at-home program to include care for COPD and congestive heart failure.

Both networks say telehealth is popular among patients, is cost effective and in many cases helps patients recover more quickly.

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