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The Next Level in Virtual Care Patient Encounters: The iMD and iTelemed experience

Covid19 has accelerated the transition to virtual care for Primary care physicians. The latest estimates from a CCFP survey suggested 4/5 visits are now virtual during the pandemic (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7292510/).  While the medical system is quickly pivoting to determine “best practice” guidelines and the balance of Face-to-Face vs Virtual care workflows, the technology in place will support improved patient care encounters. Video platforms allow access and interactions between patients and their providers that can now integrate other support tools such as remote patient monitoring, the use of peripherals for deeper exams and synchronous or asynchronous encounters on digital platforms that bring new meaning the the term “virtual care” 

Recently iTelemed launched a patient video platform that has been integrated with iMD Health. The iTelemed platform allows a “screen share”, not unique to other patient video platforms but now integrates a robust library of educational resource tools from iMD Health. The library contains over 80,000 resources from over 65 of Canada’s national health associations, the Mayo-clinic, patient score calculators, and extensive and authoritative peer reviewed materials on any medical condition a Primary Care Physician might encounter. The materials allow the physician to pull up during the iTelemed video encounter a data base of educational resources, and no longer requires reliance on the Physician’s personal knowledge or potentially biased material that is out of date or less than “best practice.” The resource library can be opened during telephone or video calls, and any content reviewed during the encounter are automatically saved and with 1-click, can be sent to the patient via email for repeated access unlimited times, increasing their understanding and ultimately their adherence to the treatment plan. Physicians can “cc to self” via email copies of materials and our teams are  working on an integration into the EMR to allow depositing into the encounter notes any materials sent from a session. iMD also contains a module for “samples & coupons” and it is conceivable the pharmaceutical industry may allow “virtual samples” to be issued to patient during virtual encounters to minimize the risk for Face-to-Face office visits to pick up samples.  

The encounters currently used by iTelemed physicians allow for asynchronous interaction whereby the physician “pushes” the iMD material to the patient before the actual session. The patient can be prepared, and the encounter becomes truly patient centered to review questions about their condition and any management plan that is created. 

Covid19 has brought patient education to the next level such that seamless workflow interactions are now possible using screen share modes and resources like the iTelemed and iMD Health platforms. The patient brochures collecting dust in the waiting room, outdated and often ignored; can now arrive special delivery to the patient inbox enhanced by virtual encounters and digital materials that can be the focus of the education about conditions and disease states. The best part of Covid19 is what it has done to accelerate digital healthcare.