Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 12, 2014

Arizona Palliative Home Care's Virtual Visit Telehealth Program Another Way to Leverage Technology

Arizona Palliative Home Care (AZPHC) announced on Monday that it selected Emerge.MD to provide a platform for its new telehealth program, Virtual Visit. Patients who are in the advanced stages of an ongoing illness will be able to stay at home because of the program.

Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., Emerge.MD provides collaborative solutions that facilitate telehealth services. OnePlace claims to be a virtual telehealth clinic connecting hospitals with specialists and managing the scheduling and prioritization of patients. Consult Accelerator is a videoconferencing tool that lets providers discuss cases and share medical images. Both solutions run on PCs with a browser or a mobile device.

AZPHC is a program of Phoenix-based Hospice in the Valley and it was designed to serve a growing number of people who were slipping through the cracks of the hospice system. These patients suffered from the effects of long-term illness, and needed treatment to alleviate pain and suffering, but were not necessarily approaching the end of their lives.

Virtual Visit is another example of how telehealth technology continues to serve segments of the population that were not getting good treatment. People in remote locations with relatively minor problems have been able to get treatment through a combination of video and phone communication.

Assuming fuel costs of $3.50 per gallon and a vehicle that gets 25 miles to the gallon, a 100-mile round trip to and from the doctor’s office would cost $14. That’s before the costs of treatment are tallied up. That can get real expensive and the costs are hard to justify if some or all of the treatment could be done remotely.

Since AZPHC patients have chronic problems, it’s conceivable that the same problems are being treated on most visits and could be great candidates for telehealth treatment. It’s not a replacement for emergency treatment, but for non-emergencies, it not only saves on costs, but allows patients to stay at home where they can be near friends and family.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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