The product that I chose to use is the virtual physician visit. This visit would be structured to finance standard care for any patient with trivial sicknesses.Patients would be able to log onto a specified website where they would be able to openly communicate with a physician. After logging in and connecting with a physician, the patient would be able to communicate the symptoms that they are experiencing to the physician via instant messaging or leaving an email and waiting until a physician can respond to their concerns. This will allow the physician to make a diagnosis and send a prescription to the patient’s pharmacy if needed or provide the patient with specific instructions for care.
If it is determined that the symptoms are more serious than the patient expected, it may be required that they go to a local hospital or urgent care to be assessed to ensure that it is nothing more serious than anticipated. This way, if the physician is unsure, the patient s not placed in grave danger for anything further to take place. The service is cost effective and paid online with a patient’s credit card which is initially less expensive than a doctor’s office visit in most cases and gives consumers around-the-clock care without having to leave their jobs or homes. Not only is it cheaper but it is more convenient. According to Robert L. Smith, Virtual care is a form of communication whose time has come and can be instrumental in fixing our current state of affairs within the health care system. (Galewitz, 2012).
Some insurance companies like United Health and Cigna are embracing the product. It is also being utilized by large employers, as a means of reducing costs and getting employees back on their feet sooner. (Galewitz, 2012). The examination is not as expensive as a normal routine drop in and some concerns have been raised regarding the care being received. The American Academy of Family Physicians raises some concern about the cost of a virtual visit, typically around $40 to $45, and the possibility of a patient not getting what he or she pays for. (Galewitz, 2012). Some think that if the patient is not familiar with the physician taking the case, the patient could be setting himself up to get receive improper care. One physician expresses that Telemedicine has the potential to improve quality of care by allowing clinicians in one “control center” to monitor, consult and even care for and perform procedures on patients in multiple locations. (Chen, 2010).
Videoconferencing is very popular but using video for virtual care is not as easy as one may assume. The connection has to be very trustworthy and there has to be HIPPA compliance to ensure that the patient medical information is well protected. It’s evident that virtual visits would not do everything that a physician in person would do but on average a primary physician sees a patient for ten to fifteen minutes maybe after a patient has waited for forty five minutes to an hour or even longer. Virtual doctor visits cut out the waiting period making the visit a short one. It is convenient for both the physician and the patient in some way. Connecting people to care in rural areas is a classic use case where a video visit is much more convenient than an in-person one, but it’s far from the only such case. (Comstock, 2013). A virtual visit gives the physician the ability to take specific vitals such as a patient’s blood pressure, their heartbeat and to look into their ear as well as use a virtual pen to interpret or explain what’s on a patients chart from previous visits. The technology used can have a great affect on the quality of care. When a physician is able to see the patient and vice versa, it gives some comfort to them both. This is a huge part of diagnosing the patient.
Certain symptoms are able to be seen and heard because of the use of a laptop, webcam, tablet or some other portable device. A phone call could take place but it would not be as beneficial because some symptoms may be heard and explained but not seen. The primary care has a huge impact on the relationship between the physician and the patient. Setting up the HER (Electronic Health Record) is very imperative in ensuring that the patient’s medical record is easily accessible and can be shared. This is beneficial to the health care network so that providers and patients are able to exchange information even outside of office visits. Patients that are uninsured and utilize online services for physician visits have a lower cost alternative. A patient paying $45 for a virtual visit whom is suffering from a sinus infection is much more affordable than an emergency room or office doctor visit. Those living in remote areas where a shortage of physicians exists or where access requires lengthy trips to the nearest clinic may find they can access care more quickly and at less out of pocket expense, as costs for travel are eliminated. In both situations it is the reduced wait time and easier access to a physician that help them feel better faster, thus improving their quality of life.
Knowing that there is an alternate option such as virtual visits gives the extra assurance needed. Virtual visits are beneficial to all involved. Patients have a lower cost than co-pays and have to spend less out of pocket. Eads rationalizes that his office has provided virtual visits for years and the service has become a profitable means of offering care for his office. (Eads, 2007). It is a faster method and minor problems can be taken care in a shorter time frame. Less time is taken from work for both the patient and physician and patients can maintain hours to receive a full paycheck. This gives a financial advantage for both parties involved. One of the only barriers is those who lack internet connectivity or the knowledge and experience to use such technology. If a health care organization offers virtual physician visits, they afford the opportunity to have an impact upon the community. This extends service to those that would be limited to get to an emergency room or doctor’s office. This may also create unwanted legal situations as well. If not set up to maintain patient privacy, patient confidentiality may be in jeopardy. Whether or not the impact is positive or negative regarding the healthcare organization is dependent upon the requirements designed for establishing these services. When such a service is established the organization will need to establish some type of review, to determine if virtual services are saving time.
Chen, P. (2010, January 7). Are Doctors Ready for Virtual Visits? Retrieved
August 11, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/07/health/07chen.html Comstock, J. (2013, May 8). Five reasons virtual doctor visits might be better than in-person ones. Retrieved August 11, 2014, from http://mobihealthnews.com/…/five-reasons-virtual-doctor-visits-might-be-bette… Eads, M. (2007). Virtual office visits: A reachable and reimbursable innovation. Family Practice Galewitz, P. (2012, May 6). Insurers Embrace ‘Virtual’ Doctor Visits. Retrieved August 11, 2014, from http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2012/may/07/telemedicine.aspx