We sat down with Dr. Sarah Simmons, who joined SteadyMD in 2023. After starting in family medicine, she specialized in hospitalist and ICU care. Her passion is increasing healthcare access, which led her to telemedicine. Dr. Simmons finds fulfillment in connecting deeply with patients to understand their needs. She takes a creative, holistic, empathetic approach to care that makes her an excellent telehealth provider. She appreciates that SteadyMD shares her commitment to accessible, compassionate care.

Tell us a little about your journey and how you got to where you are today.

My background is in family medicine. I started in traditional family medicine, taking care of kids and people of all ages. However, I later found my passion in hospitalist and ICU care, which suited my family life better. During my time overseas, where my husband’s work took us, I couldn’t practice traditional medicine, so I rebranded myself and focused on charity and mission work. I also obtained a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Liverpool while living abroad. After that, I taught medical school at a Malaysian medical school to local students. While there I focused on soft skills – end-of-life care, bedside manner, etc. I fell in love with that work. This experience allowed me to gain a broader perspective on healthcare and the importance of addressing social determinants in health.

When we returned to the States, I felt the need to rethink how I was approaching medicine. Using what I had experienced overseas, I got involved and now help run a non-profit here in Houston called Bread of Life, Inc. We focus on health equity and health outcomes – pressing into vulnerable communities and populations that don’t have access to healthcare and need help with underlying social determinant factors.

“Telemedicine affords me the flexibility to pursue different things I’m passionate about that, at the core, have one common thread – access to quality healthcare.”

How do you describe what you do, other than the word telehealth?

I see my role as a physician in telehealth as someone who provides efficient and understanding care. I focus on connecting with patients and understanding their unique situations and needs. I aim to be sensitive to their busy lives and responsibilities, acknowledging that life doesn’t always revolve around doctor’s appointments. As a mother of four boys, I can relate to the demands of juggling family and work, and I bring this understanding to my patient interactions. Besides offering medical expertise, I also provide patient education, address their concerns, and find solutions that fit their lifestyle. Whether it’s managing everyday health issues or providing access to care for people in vulnerable communities, I strive to be a caring and approachable healthcare provider. With telemedicine, people can connect with their doctor in an innovative and atypical way – whether they are on vacation, at work, or don’t have a typical primary care doctor. It affords a brand new pathway into medicine.

What makes you good at telehealth?

I believe what makes me effective in telehealth is my ability to empathize and connect with my patients. I understand the challenges and demands of everyday life, and I listen to my patients’ concerns, even beyond their immediate medical needs.

“Being a good telehealth provider requires the ability to think outside the box and creatively address patients’ issues remotely.”

Whether it’s suggesting remedies for pink eye before a big event or providing advice on skincare, I aim to offer solutions that align with their busy lives. My background in family medicine, hospitalist care, and public health also allows me to bring a holistic approach to telehealth, addressing both medical and social factors impacting patients’ well-being.

How have your experiences been in telehealth, and how do you see the future of telehealth evolving?

My experiences in telehealth have been fulfilling, especially since it allows me to connect with patients in an innovative and accessible way. Initially, telehealth was seen as a secondary option when patients couldn’t get into their regular doctors’ offices. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth became the mainstay of healthcare, elevating its importance and the quality of care provided. I see telehealth’s future evolving towards more long-term and preventative care, especially for patients who require frequent touchpoints with their healthcare providers. Additionally, telehealth can play a significant role in reducing overcrowding in emergency rooms and urgent care facilities, making healthcare more accessible and affordable for vulnerable communities. As the telehealth industry continues to evolve, I find excitement in being part of a company like SteadyMD that remains flexible and innovative, always adapting to meet patients’ needs and enhance the telehealth experience.

Why did you choose to join SteadyMD?

The decision to join SteadyMD was driven by the company’s people and its innovative approach to telemedicine. When I connected with Guy, Yarone, Dr. Josh and Chris Radcliff, I felt an instant camaraderie, and I knew they were my kind of people.

“At SteadyMD, I discovered a company that’s not confined to a rigid box, but rather, it’s constantly evolving and adapting to the changing telehealth landscape.’”

This fluidity and commitment to innovation excite me, and I love being at the front end of the company’s growth and progress. Additionally, SteadyMD’s approach to patient care aligns with my values of providing accessible, efficient, and understanding healthcare to patients, making it a perfect fit for me as a telehealth practitioner.