Technology to Help Fight COVID-19

As part of their Virtual Roundtable, “How technology will Help U.S. Healthcare Fight Coronavirus” FierceHealthPayer http://fiercehealthpayer.com, hosted Peter Antall, MD, CMO, at Amwell Kuldeep Singh Rajut, CEO and Founder Biofoumis Linda Branagan, PhD, Director, Telehealth Programs, at UCSF Medical Center, Linda Ruschau, Chief Client Officer, PatientPoint, and Ann Mond Johnson, CEO, American Telemedicine Association (ATA)

Key takeaways from the webinar were provided by Credit Suisse https://www.credit-suisse.com

Dr. Antall at Amwell https://business.amwell.com  discussed the increase in the company’s visit volumes. Amwell’s visit volumes are currently over 350% higher than flu-like volumes across the country along with individual white-labelled enterprises for hospital systems experiencing 10,000% increase in their urgent care volumes.

Amwell can have a robust synchronous patient visit using video and achieve social distancing via the internet. Amwell can improve access and load balance across a state or even across states in order to bring a supply of providers to where they are needed and help a hospital bring more providers together in a very short time and then come online.

In fact, the company is in conversation with NY firefighters about EMS challenges that have occurred with the increase in EMS needs and 911 calls. If contracts are finalized, Armwell, Optum, NurseLine, and NY firefighters are going to collaborate on a new EMS program to divert their low acuity patients into telehealth

Lina Branagan discussed how the UC San Francisco Medical Center https://www.ucsfhealth.org  telehealth program does half of their ambulatory visits via video with thousands of patients per day who are already under UCSF’s care for non-COVID-19 reasons.  UCSF has also expanded into primary care via their online digital symptom checker that patients can use through the patient portal.

According to Kuldeep Singh Rajut, Biofourmis’ https://www.biofourmis remote monitoring technology and analytics are providing clinicians in the COVID-19 program with medical decision support. This enables early identification of any physiological adjustments that may indicate deterioration. Patients with COVID-10 deterioration can be closely monitored via the company’s technology.

The company is able to derive over 20 physiological indicators from the sensor data, along with temperature, breathing rate, blood pulse wave, variability, inter-beat interval, and other signs. These signs are then fed via advanced AI and machine-learning methods to flag important physiological changes that can point out the development of the illness.

Mr. Rajut, reports that Biofourmis’ technology is being used in a remote-monitoring and illness surveillance program in Hong Kong, Australia, and the U.K with patients that have been diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19. Biofourmis plans to roll out the program in ten hospitals in the U.S,

Linda Ruschau, Chief Client Officer, PatientPoint http://patientpoint.com reports that the company provides educational information on COVID-19 along with updates. PatientPoint’s Extend Mobile Engagement Platform allows physician offices and hospitals to send patients branded, integrated, and trackable communication, along with education information before, during, and after a visit or hospital stay.

PatientPoint has redesigned their touch screens in exam rooms so they are interactive and the medical team and the patient no longer have to touch the screen. Also, educational data and other information is available on mobile phones.

As for the role of technology in fighting COVID-19, Ann Mond Johnson, CEO, American Telemedicine Association https://americantelemed.org, summed up by saying that a key barrier to the adoption of digital health technologies and telehealth in particular, continues to be inconsistent interpretation or the relaxation of licensure regulations from state to state.

While the regulations are being removed, they are not consistent which makes it difficult for organizations like Amwell since the company provides services across a broad geographic area.

She continued to report that there still remains confusion for consumers as to what will be covered and also ATA does not want to see the pandemic result in surprise billings for patients. Finally, in order to maintain the same level of digital adoption, it is necessary to ensure that there is no fraud, no abuses and to watch closely for the over utilization of services.

For more information or to provide feedback on the key takeaways, email Jailendra Singh at jailendra.singh@credit-suisse.com.

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