Telehealth Turned On Its Head

It has been fascinating to watch Telehealth evolve over recent years. Its path has varied substantially by physician specialty. Radiology, for example, has been making use of digital studies and remote reviews as a standard matter of course for several years.

Primary Care, however, has been different. Among PCP’s, we have seen some less-than-busy traditional practices getting into Telehealth as a value added to attract more patients. Other PCP Telehealth ventures were established by companies that allowed patients to log on and, for a fee, get to see a doc for a once-and-done online visit.  

Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly turbocharged the adoption of Telehealth. Platform providers tell us that, whereas monthly increases in use had historically been in the low single digit percentages, the February to March 2020 time frame saw Telehealth visits double or more. My physician’s concierge practice, formerly devoid of any Telehealth capacity, now ONLY sees patients via video chat.  

Against this backdrop, check this out. What you see here is a program, developing across several locations nationwide, with the primary offering being Concierge On Line. A hybrid of previous Telehealth offerings, FORWARD primarily touches its patients through unlimited online contacts. For a monthly fee, a patient can actually develop a relationship with an individual videodoc. Additionally, FORWARD provides a package of devices that let a patient transfer important information like blood pressure and lung function to the physician from the privacy of their home. BUT. If actual hands on medicine is required, e.g. COVID testing, there is an actual bricks and mortar office in place for the patient to visit.

Bottom Line. FORWARD is a perfect name for this venture. ThinkGen is currently writing an eBook on Telemedicine and Telehealth, and one thing has become perfectly clear from the research we have conducted on the topic to date. That is, when the pandemic finally moves toward resolution, the rapid transition to Telehealth will continue apace.  

There will be no going back!     

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