Gastroenterologist Jason Reich, MD on Innovation in Telemedicine

Jason Reich, MD discovered his passion for healthcare early in life. Inspired by a lesson on digestion during his freshman year of high school, he became fascinated with the connection between the digestive system and health outcomes. Later, Dr. Reich graduated from Cornell University, completed his medical degree at George Washington University, an internal medicine residency at Boston University, and a Fellowship in Gastroenterology at the Boston Medical Center. Now, Dr. Reich is celebrating his two-year anniversary with Sitka Medical Associates as one of our valued Gastroenterology specialists and helping us expand access to expert specialty care across the nation.    

Before 2020, what was your perception of video consults and telemedicine and how has it changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Prior to 2020, I saw video consults and telemedicine in a positive light and an essential tool for healthcare in the future. Like many physicians, I was already engaged in using telemedicine for my personal health and video consults to provide care to patients across the country. I was an early adopter, but I didn’t imagine it becoming mainstream for at least another 5-7 years. Of course, the global COVID-19 pandemic turned a 5-7 year timeline into a 5 month timeline. While my perception has not changed, I am excited to observe how the uptake and growth of telemedicine across the country will improve access to healthcare.  

What are the challenges and benefits of video consults (vConsults) and telemedicine today?

Physicians must feel comfortable practicing virtually for it to continue to grow, but exposure to quality platforms and products may be a challenge. As physicians, we must be able to gain the skills to examine patients outside of the traditional exam room and in a virtual exam room through high-quality tools. I’m confident that it can and will get better as laws are passed requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for telemedicine and as physicians are educated on how it can be a safe and effective way to deliver high quality care. Patients deserve it.

How do you keep abreast of the latest developments and innovations in the healthcare industry?

My commute to work is about a 45 minute drive, so it’s a perfect opportunity to listen to healthcare podcasts and CME content specific to gastroenterology. I also stay up to date by following the major GI societies on social media and leaders within the field. Being a part of Sitka Medical Associates means having access to the latest changes in technology and influencing innovation with peers in the industry too.

What is one thing you hope will change for good within the healthcare industry?

While it’s already in progress, I hope to witness a bigger shift in the next 5 years. I’d like to see access to care for patients change from getting care from their local community hospital, to being able to access a network of physicians across the country. There’s a digital revolution taking place within the healthcare industry and Sitka is leading the way by allowing PCPs to consult expert specialists to expedite care. That’s why I joined Sitka–to care for a wider breadth of patients in the most accessible way possible.

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Interested in joining our team of virtual care specialists? Learn more about Sitka Medical Associates.