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Doctor on Demand Stats Offer Insight Into Telmedicine Trends

Posted on January 5, 2018 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Recently, direct-to-consumer telemedicine provider Doctor on Demand released some statistics on its performance in 2017. While some of the report was self-congratulatory, I still think the data points are worth looking at, especially for clinicians.

For starters, it’s worth noting that the company now considers itself a fully integrated medical practice. For example, it’s begun offering lab testing services through Quest Diagnostics and Lab Corp. as part of a program to control chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

Another factoid the stats offer is that its physicians are generally in their mid-career; apparently, Doctor on Demand’s average physician has 15 years of experience. The company doesn’t offer any perspective on why that might be, but it suggests to me that clinicians who participate are both confident that they can manage care remotely and comfortable with technology.

Why is that the case? My guess is that this work may not be attractive to younger doctors, who might feel uneasy managing patients online given their lack of experience. It also suggests older physicians, some of whom still consider telemedicine to be a poor substitute for face-to-face care, probably aren’t engaging with telemedicine either.

Other data provided by Doctor on Demand includes the top reasons for visits included treatment of cold and flu, prescription refills and infections, which isn’t surprising. It also notes that mental health visits climbed 240% over 2016, with anxiety, depression and stress being the most common symptoms treated. This is more interesting, as it suggests that among other problems, consumers feel they aren’t getting their mental health needs met in real life.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the company’s self-reported benefit statistics, I’m taking them with a large grain of salt, but I found them to be worth a look nonetheless. The company says it saved its patients nearly $1 billion in healthcare costs and saved over 1.6 million hours that would otherwise have been spent in doctor’s waiting rooms. These results were allegedly generated by a base of 1 million patients, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

I’m not writing this to suggest that Doctor on Demand is better or worse than other telemedicine companies and video services offered by privately-employed physicians or hospital telemedicine services. Still, I got a kick out of learning what trends a well-positioned telemedicine service was seeing in the marketplace. While Doctor on Demand’s results may not reflect the market as a whole, they certainly offer food for thought.

Behavioral Health EMRs: A Small Sampling

Posted on February 8, 2011 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

In theory, any medical practice-friendly EMR could be adapted for use in a behavioral health setting.  (That’s my theory, at least.)  But as with other specialties, there’s a growing list of vendors who are offering EMRs focused on behavioral health.

Since we’re not finding any comprehensive sources of such vendors out there, we thought we’d share a  very small sampling of those we could find and see if you have any feedback. Yes, there’s probably of hundreds of vendors who claim to support psych, but we hope these few help to start a discussion.

If our quick look is any indication, there’s no single model or feature set that’s won over the psych marketplace.  Here’s hoping it matures soon;  right now my guess is that these would be a nightmare to integrate into a shared HIE.

Are any of you using an EMR specific to behavioral health? How is it working out? Have we left any important vendors out (including non-specialized platforms which seem to work well in psych settings)?

We look forward to your feedback!

-Anne

* Acrendo (http://www.acrendo.com/psychiatry-emr)  Tablet PC-based EMR.   Features include mental health templates, appointment setting, Dragon-based dictation and e-prescribing.

* ICANotes (http://www.icanotes.com/) Web-based EMR focused on psychiatry/psychology practice. Supports sub-specialities, including child/adolescent, substance abuse, eating disorders and geropsychiatry.

* OmniMD Psychiatric EMR (http://www.omnimd.com/html/SpecialtyPsychiatry.html) Includes mental health intake and depression/anxiety exam.

* Psychnotes EMR (http://www.psychnotesemr.com/)  Available as hosted or installed solution. Company specializes in psychiatric products. Supports speech and handwriting recognition.

* Psytech Solutions (http://www.psytechsolutions.com)  Offers Epitomax, a hosted EMR whose features include scheduling and billing.

*  Sigmund Software (http://www.sigmundsoftware.com)  Described as “an enterprise management software application for human service agencies.” Features include target behavior tracking.

*  Valant Psychiatric EMR (http://info.valantmed.com/) Hosted EMR also featuring billing and e-prescribing.

* Qualifacts (http://www.qualifacts.com/)