The popular model of telemedicine is synchronous – a patient calls a nurse, or starts an on-demand live session with a doctor via video chat of some sort. Rules and regulations are evolving to address an anticipated greater use of video telemedicine, including where the providers must be authorized to practice medicine, what they can and cannot prescribe on the basis of a telemedicine encounter, etc.
At ReelDx we believe in the power of asynchronous video, and we believe that together, synchronous and asynchronous video offer the most efficient use of scarce professional resources, and a powerful combination to both generate billable events and cement patient preference for a particular provider or brand.
Imagine the following scenario:
A busy mother wakes up on a Tuesday morning feeling terrible – sore throat, fever, a rash starting to appear on the left side of her neck. She has a bunch of things to do in the morning, and not a lot of time to stop and make an appointment for a doctor’s appointment (in clinic or online). Instead, she picks up her phone, fires up the app from her health system, and starts a video recording in which she describes her symptoms. When she’s done, the video goes off to the health system’s triage center, where it is reviewed by trained NPs or PAs. Once they determine the severity and next steps, they get back to the patient (with a text message, an email, a phone call, etc.) and let the patient know what the next step should be. The response is from the provider the patient prefers, and the next step can be a live video telemedicine encounter.
Utilizing asynchronous, stored and forwarded video, we can enhance the relationship offered by synchronous telemedicine. We can build a highly engaging method of having meaningful, timely, and highly satisfying encounters between patients and their providers. True on-demand, live telemedicine sessions require patients to see the provider who is available. With the addition of asynchronous video, the patient can begin a session by responding to common prompts (it would even be possible to create an efficient hierarchical tree system of prompts to respond to what the patient says in the video with the next prompt). The video recording of the patient’s description of symptoms can then be routed immediately through a triage system staffed by professionals trained to do this very thing – evaluate the probable needs of a patient on the basis of a short video description of symptoms and history. Under this system, the response can ultimately come from the patient’s preferred provider, thus reinforcing rather than severing this valuable relationship. Asynchronous video as a tool for near-live telemedicine is a perfect application of the ReelDx platform. With our API set, developers can easily build into their own patient-facing applications both the encounter, and the routing of the eventual video. The video itself can become part of the patient’s record and an encounter record in the EHR, helping frame future encounters, etc. The video is stored in a HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based storage facility, thus not creating expensive and cumbersome storage requirements on the part of the provider organization. Ultimately, asynchronous telemedicine via store-and-forward video can drive efficiencies, improve patient satisfaction, strengthen patient-provider relationships, and offer a new source of revenue that is not dependent on the live availability of the scarcest resource – trained professionals. CMS already allows for a monthly reimbursement to providers for asynchronous engagements for rural patients. I predict this will evolve into a broadly available reimbursement for any patient, adopted by private payers, self-insured employers, and integrated systems as well. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss using ReelDx’s HIPAA-compliant, asynchronous video platform for your own asynchronous telemedicine approach.
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