Balancing Tech And Patient Care In Telehealth: A Case Study With CallOnDoc

Telehealth took on a whole new importance in 2020, with the pandemic making virtual doctor visits an excellent alternative to spending time in a crowded clinic waiting room.

However, there’s a lot more to telehealth than screenings for Covid-19 and diagnosing simple issues like ear infections.

As the demand for telehealth services grows, certain providers are taking the lead with innovative service and more extensive service offerings. But to really succeed, telehealth providers have to go even further—balancing the convenience of their technology with exceptional patient care.

One provider that’s checked all these boxes is CallOnDoc, a telehealth provider founded in 2017. CallOnDoc has risen above its competition due to several factors, including offering psychiatric evaluations, and expanding into remote management of chronic diseases.

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Nurse with gear stressed out

Overwhelmed by COVID-19, Hospitals ‘Making Difficult Decisions’ As Patient Care Deteriorates

Conditions at Los Angeles County hospitals are worsening by the day, forcing officials to take increasingly desperate measures to prevent the healthcare system from crumbling under a crush of COVID-19 patients.

Methodist Hospital of Southern California has taken the grim step of convening a triage team that will “make the difficult, but necessary decisions about allocating limited resources” to critically ill patients “based on the best medical information available,” officials said in a statement.

As of Wednesday, that team “has yet to find the need to ration any care,” said Cliff Daniels, a senior vice president and chief strategy officer for the Arcadia-based hospital.

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Doctors in Hospital

CSRA Hospitals Seeing Increase in Coronavirus Cases, in Patient Care Up

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The number of people checking into the hospital for COVID symptoms keeps increasing after unsafe holiday gatherings. Local health leaders told us they are working hard to make room and keep staff levels at bay.

“Over the past several weeks, before Thanksgiving, we averaged around 30 in patients. That changes day to day. Right now, today, we have 73,” said Doctors Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Farr.

“We’re seeing record and near record levels of both patients testing for COVID. Our percent positivity rate, meaning our percentage of people testing positive is the highest we’ve ever seen it,” Dr. Phillip Coule said, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Augusta University Health.

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Video Chat with Doctor

Addressing Social Isolation; Telehealth’s Impact on Patient Care

Welcome to this week’s edition of Healthcare Career Insights. This weekly roundup highlights healthcare career-related articles culled from across the Web to help you learn what’s next.

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Doctor working on medical tech

Kaiser to Offer Connected Health Apps as Patient Care Plans

 – Kaiser Permanente is integrating telehealth and connected health strategies in behavioral healthcare through digital therapeutic referrals from providers.

Physicians and therapists can now refer Kaiser Permanente patients to mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy apps through the organization’s electronic health record system at no additional cost. These mindfulness, meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy apps have shown to be affective at alleviating symptoms of anxiety or depression.

A new case study published in the January 2021 issue of NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery shows that patients are more engaged in using mental health and wellness apps when referred by a clinician than if they had sought out the app on their own.

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Agencies Pivot Patient Care Response Resources Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

A mobile integrated healthcare (MIH) program in Sacramento County (CA) under development to be implemented as an alternative model for response to low-acuity calls and high utilizers of emergency services was quickly brought to an operational status. It was then redesigned and redirected to serve a new purpose as the COVID-19 pandemic struck northern California and challenged patients’ access to appropriate healthcare.

Upon the outbreak of COVID-19, three Sacramento-area fire departments joined forces with local hospitals to rapidly mobilize a MIH program to deliver patient-centric care, testing and education to out-of-hospital settings to reconnect patients with essential treatment.

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COVID 19 Test

Infection Fears Pose Patient Care Access, COVID-19 Testing Barrier

 – Fear of COVID-19 infection is proving a nearly insurmountable patient access to care barrier, with the latest data from Harris Poll and Quest Diagnostics specifically finding patients aren’t accessing COVID-19 testing because of the concern.

In total, 74 percent of Americans who believed they needed a coronavirus test chose not to get one or delayed getting one, with many of those respondents saying they were concerned they might become infected with the virus in the process.

These findings come as the medical industry has turned its attention to how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted in-person patient access to care and how to mitigate potentially negative consequences. This latest data adds a new layer to the COVID-era patient care access issue, as broad access to testing continues to be one of the best tools for capping virus spread.

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Stroke Patient Virtual Care

Balancing Cybersecurity and Patient Care in Telehealth

COVID-19 catalyzed greater connectivity in the healthcare space. Take telehealth, for example. Stay-at-home orders quickly escalated telehealth from a promising innovation to an essential priority. In a matter of months, organizations had to quickly shift their IT budgets, scopes, and schedules to leverage their existing technologies and get providers and patients on board.

We’ve seen impressive statistics in increased adoption in this short timeframe. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated approximately 13,000 telehealth appointments per week before the pandemic and at least 10 million total, breaking down to roughly 625,000 per week from early March through mid-August.

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Does Telehealth Address All Patient Care Access Barriers?

 – Direct-to-consumer telehealth has been heralded as a key solution to common patient access to care barriers, including geographic barriers, limited appointment availability, and healthcare affordability issues. But new research from Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston indicates that the technology only really accounts for limited appointment availability.

The data, published in JAMA Network Open, found that the most frequent direct-to-consumer (DTC) telehealth users tend to be younger patients who live in high-income, urban areas.

This comes as telehealth has seen its strongest use case. After years of healthcare providers and policymakers suggesting the technology can fill gaps in patient care access, the COVID-19 pandemic push it to the forefront.

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White House Warns COVID-19 Cases at Dire Levels, Says Patient Care Could Be Compromised

The White House coronavirus task force is issuing a dire warning to states, writing that given the already rampant spread of the virus across the U.S., a further surge in cases following Thanksgiving threatens to overwhelm the health care system and compromise patient care.

“We are in a very dangerous place due to the current, extremely high COVID baseline and limited hospital capacity; a further post-Thanksgiving surge will compromise COVID patient care, as well as medical care overall,” reads the White House report sent to states and obtained by The Hill.

The report includes a series of urgent warnings, a stark contrast to President Trump himself, who has been largely quiet on the coronavirus crisis recently and has focused on vaccine development when he does discuss it.

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