Telemedicine in its various forms was one of our most frequent topics on Health Tech Insider during 2018. News about related topics seem to pop up weekly: remote patient and physician access via telephone, text, video conferencing, store-and-forward, and cloud data reference for medical specialist access, post-surgical and hospital care, and chronic disease monitoring. We’ve written about a 3-D scanner in primary care physician offices used with teledermatology to send images to specialists and studies that show teletherapy can be as effective as in-person treatment in some applications.
IMPOWER, Inc. is a non-profit central Florida mental health and child well-being group. They offer its clients the option of live video conferences for all of its outpatient services including psychiatric appointments, if the patients prefer not to travel to Impower’s facility. IMPOWER adopted Mend’s telehealth platform to reduce patient appointment wait times, reduce overhead costs, and cut patient no-show rates. Mend’s HIPAA-compliant, client-customizable platform includes telemedicine, appointment reminders, patient scheduling, and digital patient intake forms. With Mend, IMPOWER’s patients can receive services in the comfort of their own homes without required travel and at lower costs. In-person medicine remains available for patients who prefer it.
In November the AFP Central Florida Chapter recognized Impower’s telehealth services adoption with an innovation award. According to a statement from Impower, “The award confirms what we at Impower have known for some time; our growing use of Telehealth (Virtual) Mental Health and Psychiatric Services is an exciting innovation that overcomes practitioner shortages, addresses stigma and increases access to mental health care and treatment.”
Rather than re-invent the technology, IMPOWER out-sourced the systems side of telehealth to Mend. It will be interesting to observe the extent to which existing healthcare organizations choose to augment their programs with telehealth. We’re also intrigued by Mend’s foresight to package telehealth services in a single platform to ease the transition for traditional care providers.