Coordinated Care Management

February 21, 2012

On Vacation and Develop a Sore Throat? Call or Text MyHospital 24/7 For Immediate Physician Care

When I fell while running, I thought I might have cracked a rib. I was in terrible pain and rushed to the ER. There I sat for over four hours in agony only to find out I had broken not one, but two ribs.

But what if you could talk to a doctor over the phone the very minute you wanted to, not sit for hours in a waiting room or be put on hold or have to schedule an appointment weeks in advance?

Now Consult A Doctor, a provider of cloud-based telemedicine services and delivery platforms, has announced that very thing: MyHospital 24/7, “a platform that allows hospitals and health systems to offer fast, affordable access to physicians or to Consult A Doctor’s national network of physicians via phone, secure email, video or mobile app,” according to a company press release.

“Telemedicine addresses so many of the healthcare industry’s biggest problems—from the billions of dollars spent annually on unnecessary, inappropriate or wasteful care to the shortage of primary care physicians across the country—it is no wonder that it is attracting so much attention from the healthcare community and funding world,” said Wolf Shlagman, founder and CEO, Consult A Doctor, in the press release. “For hospitals, MyHospital 24/7 will drive referrals, add new revenue streams and increase patient satisfaction all while reducing the overall cost of care. With the addition of these new products, Consult A Doctor now offers telemedicine solutions for providers, health plans, employers and patients.”

Other services, including CallMD, provide a national network of doctors, similar to MyHospital 24/7, to write prescriptions or have nurses advise patients anywhere, any time. And mobile apps are popping up that allow doctors to discuss patients’ scans with them over the phone, according to a story by Sally Turner at International Business Times. These kinds of services are taking off as our mobile population ages.

The benefits are obvious. But there are some you might not immediately think of. With MyHospital 24/7, the press release states, “hospitals are better equipped to meet healthcare reform goals, extend patient access and attract new patients from a broader geographic area while generating new streams of revenue.”

Additionally, hospitals can form closer relationships with community physicians, which may result in increased admissions, referrals, diagnostics and other ancillary services, according to the press release.

Hospitals can also cut back on the costs of care by reducing barriers to care, like the long waits in waiting rooms, or the inability to reach a doctor, while hospitals “are able to decrease the number of post-operative complications and related readmissions,” the press release notes.

Doctors may love it, too, since, with the service, they will be able to get access to and treat patients from anywhere, at any time, via phone, secure email or video, no longer strapped to an office.

And if the doctor you call doesn’t have an answer, she can tap into Consult A Doctor’s national, 24/7/365 network of on-call physicians for after hours, overflow or out-of-state coverage.

The platform, which is HIPAA-secure, also supplies integrated dashboards to doctors in the program that displays comprehensive medical records and prescribing history for each patient consult.

But the ones who may make out the best are patients. Telemedicine can significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients “by providing more appropriate, accessible and affordable level of care settings,” the press release says. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to have access to a doctor anywhere you have a phone, access to email or video or mobile app, on vacation, in the car, or in the privacy of your own home?

Patients also receive access to “a comprehensive patient portal that features a full suite of interactive health management and wellness resources and tools that helps patients better manage their health plus a complete consult center where they can schedule appointments and manage their medical history.”

Now, I realize no doctor could have diagnosed my broken ribs over the phone without an x-ray. Still, it would have been comforting to have perhaps gotten some pain tips until I could be seen, or other information to help me start to heal.

Deborah DiSesa Hirsch is an award-winning health and technology writer who has worked for newspapers, magazines and IBM in her 20-year career. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Chris Freeburn
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