If you don’t have a virtual clinic ready for the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, now is the time to get one. The CDC has announced that it is “aggressively responding to the global outbreak of COVID-19 and preparing for the potential of community spread in the US.”And a key recommendation is the use of telehealth solutions and virtual visits.
Combating COVID-19 Coronavirus – Learnings from the Ebola Outbreak
When the Ebola crisis happened a few years ago, telehealth was a key tool in mitigating the spread of the virus. In fact, VSee was used by infectious disease expert, Dr. Gavin MacGregor-Skinner– from the Elizabeth Griffin Foundation to help stop the spread of Ebola as well as to fight Zika. VSee was used for recruiting, educating, and training health care workers, for helping to contain the virus, and also for telemedicine to support patient quarantines in the hospitals.
Here are some ways, hospitals, physician networks and individual physicians can use VSee for the COVID-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus.
How To Set Up a Virtual Visit Hotline Fast
The free-version VSee Clinic is a super simple and fast way to provide a secure virtual visit hotline. It includes a BAA for HIPAA compliance and can be created in under 3 minutes. You will get a permanent web link that you can embed on your website or send out in an email announcement.
It gives you the option of allowing new patients to do walk-in virtual visits without creating an account. They simply click “Enter Waiting Room”, fill out an intake form with telemedicine consent, and then they are dropped into a patient waiting queue.
Providers receive mobile or laptop notifications when patients are in the queue. They can quickly scan the patient queue for chief complaints and triage the most severe cases to handle first.
The patient does not need to download any video plugin, and can start a video consultation. (*Note: in-browser video is supported for Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge).
Steps To Create a Hospital or Clinic Hotline:
Step 1: Create a free VSee telehealth clinic here: vsee.com/clinic
Step 2: Add your unique VSee Clinic web link, to your hospital or practice website
Step 3: Train one nurse or doctor to staff the hotline, and go live. Steps 1 – 3 can normally be done within 24 hours.
Step 4: If your patient load increases, you can easily add more providers to cover the hotline – where VSee distributes your patient load across your pool of providers similar to the way Uber sends car requests to its pool of drivers.
Step 5: If the patient load is high, you can also add a virtual front desk (e.g. customer service representative, MA, nurse, etc.) to engage with the patient via chat or video call first. The front desk can route the patient to a nurse, doctor, or specialist as necessary. The Virtual front desk is highly recommended since it improves patient satisfaction and provider productivity.
Step 6: If the patient has chronic conditions, you can ship medical devices (e.g. digital thermometer, blood pressure cuff, etc.) to the patient’s home so you can remotely monitor them.
Step 7: VSee can also create your own branded telemedicine mobile app within a few weeks. In addition to virtual visits and remote patient monitoring, you can also use your branded mobile app to push the latest health news and other announcements to the patients. Contact email@example.com for more details.
VSee’s unique telehealth platform makes it possible for hospitals, urgent care centers, and community health centers to staff and distribute workloads in the way that is most efficient for your particular organization. It gives you the ability to build effective telehealth workflows and to manage multiple work sites and remote providers online – whether for the coronavirus, seasonal flu, or other high volume issues.
How to Use VSee as a Hospital Telehealth Quarantine Solution
Caring for patients in quarantine imposes health risks to the medical providers. The key to minimizing infection is decreasing the number of times they must break the quarantine boundary. Common quarantine procedures includes:
- putting on and taking off heavy biohazard suits that are hot inside and hard to maneuver in
- getting sprayed down with chemicals to kill the virus
- burning any used suits to prevent the spread of the virus (in the case of Ebola)
Even with all this protective gear and safety measures, every time providers have to break the quarantine line, it means there is a chance for the virus to spread.
Here is how you can quickly set up VSee to create a telehealth quarantine solution to minimize the need for providers to break the quarantine boundary.
Configuration Option 1 – Free & Instant:
Have both the patient and medical staff create a free VSee Messenger account. This will allow them to securely communicate via chat and video. You can create one here: vsee.com/messenger
Configuration Option 2 – PTZ and vitals streaming
Step 1: Put a small form factor computer (~$299) in the quarantine room
Step 2: Attach an HD pan, tilt, zoom camera (we recommend Logitech or Minnray) to the computer. VSee features remote PTZ camera control.
Step 3: Attach a USB screen capture device (~$99) to the video output of the vital sign monitor, and connect the USB to the computer. VSee allows you to stream the vital signs to the remote providers.
Step 4: Set VSee on auto-accept for the medical provider account(s). (A normal VSee call requires the callee to accept a call. Auto-accept allows a named set of user accounts to connect without the callee having to accept the call.)
Step 5: Have a single remote staff monitor 30-100 quarantine rooms this way.
Configuration Option 3 – VSee TV
Similar to the configuration 2, VSee can add a hardware to use the TV in the patient room as a telemedicine terminal, where we can do semi-transparent overlay of
- medication reminders,
- patient instructions, and
- video calling on live TV.
You can also do Amazon Alexa integration such as “call nurse” that would launch VSee and connect to the nurse on call.
Use VSee In Airports And For Self-quarantine Monitoring
At Arab Health 2019, VSee designed and demonstrated a smart airport gate that can measure a person’s health vitals without touching the patient – specifically it measured a person’s temperature, pulse rate, breathing rate, height, and weight. Such a gate can simplify passenger screening and make it possible to continue to monitor passengers who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Given that a large number of passengers may be asked to go under self-quarantine, the VSee telemedicine mobile app can then be used to track the patient. Simply turn on its geolocation feature, which would allow health officials to visually and GPS-verify the location of the patient.
Coronavirus Spreading Across the US
As schools shut down and the US braces for the spread of this disease, you’ll want to be ready with your telehealth solution. In a recent press conference, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said, “What is happening now in the United States may be the beginning of what is happening abroad,” and that “We will continue to maintain for as long as practical an aggressive national posture of containment.”
According to CNN’s March 4 coronavirus update, the US currently has about 130 known cases of the covid-19 virus across 13 states and 9 deaths. Today’s LiveScience coronavirus update reported 95,748 cases worldwide and 3,286 deaths. The virus currently has a rough mortality rate of 3.4% as compared to the 0.1% mortality rate of the seasonal flu.
CDC Resources for COVID-19 Preparation:
Contact VSee for Coronavirus Telehealth Advising
Please contact us if you would like more in-depth advice regarding the implementation of the solutions discussed in this article. Our CEO Dr. Milton Chen has personally been involved with implementing the solutions listed here and is available to advise your hospital and government on how to go live with your coronavirus telehealth solution at no cost.