Verizon virtual medical visit platform taps smartphones, tablets

A soon-to-debut mobile health platform will let patients make virtual appointments with physicians via a smartphone, tablet or computer.

The Verizon Virtual Visits platform, according to an article at VentureBeat, is accessible to healthcare providers and payers, who can then use the technology to offer apps to their patients. It can be used through any telecom service--including AT&T and Sprint--with pricing decisions left up to providers. Patients can schedule a virtual consultation appointment for acute illnesses, such as a sore throat, and physicians can send prescriptions to pharmacies and provide referrals via the service.

"When we built this, we initially thought it was going to be health plans who were interested," Julie Kling, Verizon director of mobile health, told VentureBeat. "But the Affordable Care Act has changed things ... now providers and hospital systems, are looking for ways to make more revenue."

Kling noted that such new mHealth programs require physicians to meld the approaches into traditional patient care operations. To that end, she expects some doctors to set aside specific hours for such virtual interactions or use the technology as an "on call" care strategy.

As FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, the increasing onslaught of mHealth interaction--whether it's a text, an email, a chat note or a teleconference session--all come in addition to regular workday responsibilities. This means handling mobile communications in a day that's already full of patient appointments, colleague consultations, emergency care scenarios and the usual demands of running a medical practice.

Remote diagnostics, telecare, intuitive products and intelligent infrastructure will be the norm by 2020, according to research from Compass Intelligence. The analyst research firm expects increased virtualization technology, more mobile apps and convergence among vendors will lead to new business models, help reduce research and development costs and speed product time to market

Verizon expects to announce initial customers in the next few months.

Last summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave 510(k) clearance to Verizon's Converged Health Management, a cloud-based, remote patient-monitoring medical device, marking the first time the wireless and wireline communications company has pursued and been granted FDA approval for a healthcare solution.

For more information:
- read the VentureBeat article

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