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GoVirtual Clinic: Next-Generation Telehealth is Here – By Jaswant S. Tony

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By Jaswant S. Tony, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GoMeyra

Virtual visits on the rise

While telehealth services — interactive video communications for health care — have been used in the U.S. for over six decades[i], the recent coronavirus pandemic dramatically accelerated the acceptance of digital health channels and tools. The Deloitte 2020 Survey of US Health Care Consumers[ii] found that telehealth empowers active participation in health care when users:

  • Track their health conditions and make decisions based on that data
  • Access their medical information and seek to control its use
  • Practice healthy behaviors to prevent avoidable illness

Although consumers are utilizing virtual visits and other nontraditional channels for managing their health more frequently, they still value the personalized doctor-patient relationships they have developed and expect from in-person medical services. A trusted health care provider (HCP) relationship is a top priority for them. As technology companies conceive innovative virtual services and digital tools for clinicians and patients, they must strive to create the same personal experience as an office visit to the doctor.

Home testing has been a growth segment of health care in the past two years due to its convenience and safety advantages, e.g. averting potential COVID-19 exposure during testing conducted in traditional health settings. The Deloitte survey determined that about a third to half of consumers are comfortable using at-home diagnostics for various medical conditions. Adoption of at-home tests, mobile apps and related technologies is allowing physicians to diagnose, monitor and manage patients and their course of treatment in new ways. Companies are developing tests and apps for infection diagnosis, chronic-disease management and genetic testing to identify future disease risks and more. This trend will only continue as more consumers proactively seek testing and early diagnosis of a condition or disease to ward off serious illness later.

The state of telehealth technology: Unmet needs

Most medical laboratories and practices are currently using multiple software modules, each designed for a specific purpose such as telehealth, appointment scheduling, human resources or billing. Many of the medical practitioners GoMeyra works with have criticized the state of technology available for telehealth needs, often citing two key issues: high cost and lack of interoperability.

Software systems utilized by medical facilities that conduct and process diagnostic tests commonly require an up-front capital investment for on-premise equipment as well as a long-term license from the vendor. These costs limit flexibility in responding to changing customer demands or business conditions and can hinder business growth.

Another headache is the lack of data interoperability between the telehealth platform and other laboratory functions. Software from different suppliers may not be equipped with digital interfaces that can work together and integrate with patients’ electronic health records (EHRs). In addition, most systems are designed for specific physician practices and cannot be used easily by other medical offices or diagnostic laboratories. Data spread across disparate channels can cause delays in transferring health records from a primary care practice to a specialist’s office when a patient needs additional tests or treatments. Finally, legacy software systems and programs designed in-house may lack compliance with HIPAA and other important industry standards.

In response to practitioner frustrations, GoMeyra created GoVirtual Clinic, a next-generation platform that includes a suite of solutions for medical professionals to conduct virtual patient appointments while comprehensively managing patient care. Just launched in its initial phase, GoVirtual Clinic builds on the foundation of GoMeyra LIMS, a highly automated, customizable cloud-based laboratory information management solution for medical test processing, and GoMeyra Network, a private lab-to-lab network that interconnects laboratory and medical practice clients to enable faster, easier information access and sharing.

A better way: At-home testing and health care appointments made easy

Our goal in developing GoVirtual Clinic was to make it easy for clinicians at labs, health care facilities and physician practices to administer at-home medical tests and consult with patients over a secure remote platform with a single interface.

Patients can get tested at their convenience without having to visit a doctor’s office or even leave their home. They simply schedule an appointment online, a test kit is delivered to their door, and they log on to the telehealth system for the appointment. A doctor or nurse on the other side of the computer screen shows them exactly how to self-administer the test. Results are revealed and recorded during the appointment, or the patient mails the sample to a lab, depending on the test.

GoMeyra recognized that since most patients are not trained in sample collection, mistakes can easily be made. GoVirtual Clinic offers a solution to this problem with virtual face-to-face counseling by medical professionals, providing a much safer method for at-home testing that helps to ensure patient samples are properly collected.

A growing number of self-administered and self-collected tests can be conducted at home through GoMeyra’s platform, saving countless hours for labs, doctors’ offices and patients.

Advantages of GoVirtual Clinic

GoVirtual Clinic was created with a range of benefits in mind for laboratories and medical practices as well as patients:

Benefits for laboratories and HCPs

  • The all-in-one cloud-based platform enables fully integrated patient and practice management from a single user interface. With no on-site software installation, GoVirtual Clinic eliminates interoperability issues between incompatible systems and lowers maintenance costs.
  • Doctors can focus on the patient consultation instead of switching between computer screens: All medical data are displayed on one screen.
  • Greater efficiency from streamlined workflows: Users can seamlessly schedule and manage both virtual and in-office test appointments, order test kits, monitor online waiting rooms, supervise at-home testing and share test results in real-time. Primary care offices can easily coordinate with specialists and laboratories on the continuum of care.
  • Significant practice management time and cost savings: GoVirtual Clinic’s advanced automation minimizes manual data input, mitigates the risk of human error and eliminates paper documents, simplifying record keeping and reporting as well as lowering administrative costs. The system frees laboratorians or medical office staff to concentrate on serving patients, reducing employee workload and stress.
  • Cost-effective: GoVirtual Clinic charges a modest subscription fee, then pay-as-you-go. There is no capital expense for on-site equipment and no long-term lease requirement.
  • Fast installation and startup: Using vendor-supplied configuration that directly integrates facility instrumentation and client EHRs, the platform can be installed and running in a few days.
  • Fully customizable for flexibility: GoVirtual Clinic can be tailored to the needs of each lab, health care facility or medical practice.
  • GoMeyra customer support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Benefits for patients

  • Substantial time and cost savings: Schedule virtual appointments when convenient without leaving home.
  • Receive virtual face-to-face counseling for self-administered tests to ensure a quality sample for COVID-19, toxicology, UTI, STI and other diagnostics.
  • GoVirtual Clinic is especially valuable for patients who are immunocompromised, managing chronic diseases or have limited mobility
    • In-home testing offers convenience, safety and privacy
    • Caregivers can be authorized to schedule telehealth visits for patients, assist with in-home tests and upload test data without compromising medical records security
  • Costs: Many telehealth visits are covered by private insurance or Medicare/Medicaid. Co-pays are paid online prior to the appointment, similar to an in-office visit.

GoVirtual Clinic’s secure platform maintains strict compliance with recognized data security and privacy standards such as HIPAA, HITRUST and NIST. Standards compliance and data security are updated automatically.

What does this new platform mean for the health care industry?

GoVirtual Clinic, together with GoMeyra LIMS and GoMeyra Network, creates a new marketplace for all platform clients by:

  • Greatly expanding choices among in-home tests, practitioners, laboratories and other service providers
  • Facilitating referrals between physicians, medical labs and other system users
    • Companies developing in-home tests who partner with GoMeyra to use the platform will make doctors more aware of their offerings

The interconnectivity of GoMeyra’s cloud software can help drive business growth for laboratories, physician practices and other health service organizations that participate in this entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Future developments 

Even as GoMeyra customers begin to adopt the GoVirtual Clinic platform, new features are in development to deliver even greater system efficiency and adaptability for future industry changes.

For health care providers, these include new test panels; the ability to conduct routine appointments virtually; ordering prescriptions and additional medical services; updating patient medical histories; handling insurance and billing; and expanded capability for exchanging referrals with other HCPs. Physicians will be able to securely manage the lifecycle of patient care from a comprehensive health management platform using a single portal.

Patients can also look forward to expanded features and functionality. They will be able to:

  • Monitor prescriptions and refills; access test results; update insurance, payment and medical information; and message physicians with questions or concerns.
  • Have their care seamlessly coordinated between primary care doctors, specialists and other HCPs, avoiding duplication or conflicting directives.
  • Access, manage and share medical records across providers for better overall health care management via laptop, tablet or mobile app. Consumers will enjoy greater control and portability of their medical data.

The rollout of these enhancements is planned for completion by the end of 2022.

GoMeyra is dedicated to developing innovative, cloud-based health care technology that solves real-world problems for medical laboratories and practices to help them run smoothly. The industry can expect to see more enterprise software solutions from our company over the next few years.

1 Nesbitt TS, Katz-Bell J. History of Telehealth. In: Rheuban K, Krupinski EA. eds. Understanding Telehealth. McGraw Hill; https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=2217&sectionid=187794434. Accessed June 22, 2022.

[ii] Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Are consumers already living the future of health? Key trends in agency, virtual health, remote monitoring, and data-sharing. Findings from the Deloitte 2020 Survey of US Health Care Consumers, 2020.

Editor’s Note: Jaswant S. Tony is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GoMeyra, an innovative cloud software company providing enterprise technological solutions for the health care industry. Its premiere product, GoMeyra LIMS, was developed in just a few months during the initial lockdown phase of the pandemic in early 2020.

 

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