Hopdoc, a telemedicine technology and services startup backed by software developer DevDigital, is giving away a telemedicine platform to doctors for free to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Physicians immediately can start using the service by signing up on Hopdoc’s website.
WHY IT MATTERS
Many small and independent physician practices across the country are facing an unprecedented reduction in patient volume as some Americans, worried about the novel coronavirus COVID-19, are eschewing in-office visits and turning to large telemedicine companies that connect them remotely with a doctor who is not their regular caregiver.
Hopdoc’s secure telemedicine system is accessible on any device with a browser: phone, tablet or computer. The free, web-based platform is designed to offer simplicity and flexibility, which allows practices in need to quickly integrate telemedicine into the daily office workflow.
ON THE RECORD
“Several fellow family practice doctors have called to ask how they can implement telemedicine quickly because they’re worried that the decrease in appointments will force them to lay off staff or even close their doors,” said Dr. Ashok Mehta, Hopdoc cofounder and owner of SimplyCare family practice in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.
When Dr. Mehta adopted telemedicine for his practice six years ago, it represented a small percentage of his primary care business. Now he conducts hundreds of virtual visits a month. Offering his patients a convenient and cost-effective way to receive medical care with their trusted physician has not only resulted in better care for them, it’s been a financial boon to his business, as well, he said.
“Virtual care is most effective through an established patient-physician relationship,” Mehta said. “We know our patients’ backgrounds and medical histories, whereas most current telemedicine platforms match patients with an entirely new doctor with each visit. So, we developed Hopdoc as an answer to that. A simple way to empower doctors to keep treating patients who would prefer a virtual visit with their own doctor if they had the option.”
THE LARGER TREND
Telemedicine is taking center stage during the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, where healthcare at a distance is profoundly needed.
In an effort to fight the spread of the virus, the HHS Office for Civil Rights announced that during the coronavirus pandemic it would use discretion when enforcing HIPAA compliance for telehealth communications tools.
Meanwhile, the Trump Administration has expanded Medicare telehealth benefits, which the CMS says would enable beneficiaries to get telehealth services in physician’s offices, hospitals, nursing homes, rural health clinics and their homes.
On another front, Healthcare IT News has compiled a listing of telemedicine vendors in the age of COVID-19, a resource for health IT leaders.
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Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.
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