As the coronavirus crisis escalates, a McKinney-based telehealth company has developed and launched a COVID-19 self-assessment tool designed to help people determine whether to seek immediate medical care and connect them via video call with a doctor nationwide.
MyTelemedicine’s new assessment tool takes users through a series of diagnostic questions to determine whether they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, Rey Colón, CEO and founder of MyTelemedicine, said in an interview with the Dallas Business Journal. Those showing signs are immediately directed to initiate a consultation with a virtual physician licensed in their respective state for further evaluation via the MyTelemedicine video platform, he said.
Hospitals, doctor offices, drive-thru testing stations and other testing sites require a doctor’s referral to test people for coronavirus.
"Our goal is to help flatten the curve," Colón said. “With a potential lockdown that we’re looking at in the near future, the more consumers we can assist, the better we can prevent the spread of the disease and protect the health of the population as a whole."
The COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool can be accessed through the MyTelemedicine online portal and through the Access a Doctor mobile app, which can be downloaded in the iTunes Store and Google Play. The assessment is available to MyTelemedicine members and to nonmembers through the app.
MyTelemedicine users can also access Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus resources through the app.
Last week, the Trump Administration announced expanded telehealth coverage for Medicare recipients, allowing them to receive services from health care practitioners without having to leave home.
Although telemedicine platforms have been available for several years, the coronavirus outbreak may speed the adoption of telehealth services by consumers and providers, Colón said.
“Right now, the everyday consumer is still not very familiar with telehealth or telemedicine,” he said. “This is really creating the paradigm shift that the industry needed, in such a horrible way. This is a perfect tool for this situation.”
MyTelemedicine plans to roll out additional functions to the self-assessment tool in the coming days, including a directory of testing locations nationwide, Chief Technology Officer Jesse Roach said.
The company is also working on an integration with a laboratory that has home kits available for COVID-19 testing, Colón said. When that integration is complete, MyTelemedicine customers will be able to have a home kit sent to them, he said.
MyTelemedicine, founded in 2015, uses cloud-based technologies to connect members with doctors around-the-clock by phone, email or video conference. The company has roughly 1.9 million members and 500 physicians in its network nationwide, Colón said.
The company sells its services to large employers, health plans, service agencies and other groups such as the AARP who then offer telehealth services as a benefit to their employees and members. MyTelemedicine represents more than 2,000 employers and groups who pay for the service based on the number of employees or members they have.
Individual consumers and families can also set up MyTelemedicine accounts and pay a flat $49 consultation fee per occurrence, Colón said.
He said his call center representatives are working remotely instead of from the company’s office in McKinney because of the social distancing requirements.
“We’re staffing up because we do anticipate high call volumes,” he said. “We anticipate a humungous spike in usage of our service, and we’re prepared for it.”
“Our goal is to assist the community and grow ourselves,” Colón added. “In a time like this, we feel that we’re in a good position to add more employees to service more patients.”
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