With public fears over COVID-19 at a high pitch, emergency rooms and urgent care centers are being taxed to keep up with demand for immediate attention and care. They’re also learning on the fly how to mitigate risk for infecting other patients, and the staff themselves. Most patients have nothing to worry about, but those who might actually be infected run the risk of infecting others if the right procedures aren’t followed once those patients enter a healthcare setting. Zoom+Care hit on an innovative solution that could serve needs of patients and protect the public while also maintaining its position as a go-to provider. In an online post, Zoom+Care reasoned that patients who may have been infected with the virus would be best assessed in their own homes. So, at least in Oregon, they’re offering patients who are concerned they may be ill with COVID-19 free access to ChatCare, a telehealth service. Assuring patients that ChatCare providers “follow evidence-based guidelines to determine if self-care, medication, or a referral to a ZOOM+Care clinic is right,” the company puts patients at ease with the idea and leaves the door open for in-person care. Patients for whom self-care is determined to be the best course of action are offered advice such as staying hydrated and getting proper rest. If a prescription is warranted, it’s sent electronically to the patient’s local pharmacy. And if there’s enough concern to recommend an in-person visit, ZOOM+Care directs the patient to a specific clinic, which is then prepared to receive them. While results of the program have yet to be seen, the effort itself paints ZOOM+Care as a company that’s willing to think outside the box in addressing a growing public health crisis while also taking a responsible approach to delivering care.
Enlisting Telehealth May Help Patients Concerned About COVID-19 While Protecting the Public—and Your Team