HealthCall Launches COVID-19 Telehealth Screening and Monitoring Application
Providers and paramedics can immediately begin using a web-based coronavirus screening and monitoring application to help patients remotely.
Crown Point, Indiana — Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections are spreading across the United States, overwhelming 911 systems nationwide, but with HealthCall’s new COVID-19 Telehealth Screening with Biomedical Monitoring application, paramedics can care for more patients in less time.
Paramedics’ resources are being stretched thin as they try to respond to 911 calls related to COVID-19. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and in the United States, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed more than 1,600 cases in 46 states plus the District of Columbia, and 41 deaths.
Many of these calls involve patients who are experiencing symptoms, and are asking paramedics if their symptoms are indicative of COVID-19. Some paramedics are reporting response times in excess of an hour as their systems are flooded with calls related to the current COVID-19 outbreak. Paramedics have to wear protective gear and drive to the scene to assess patients, which can be time-consuming. Moreover, during a contagious outbreak, being at the scene may potentially add to exposure and transmission of the infection.
HealthCall’s COVID-19 Telehealth Screening with Biomedical Monitoring application is completely web-based, meaning that providers and paramedics do not need additional hardware or software to access this new tool. Once enrolled, HealthCall provides paramedics with a username and password, allowing them to assess patients remotely. This new application includes secure video and telehealth capabilities to enable remote screening of patients in the safety of their own homes. Paramedics answering 911 calls from patients can send an encrypted link to the patient via email or text, which patients can click on to securely connect via video and proceed with an assessment of their symptoms. Additionally, the HealthCall-APR system enables ongoing automated monitoring of patient symptoms and well-being.
During the video/ telehealth session, the HealthCall application brings up a screening prompt, guiding paramedics to ask patients questions and enter data into the system, which can then be reported to local and state health departments. Remote screening involves:
- Asking patients about their symptoms and energy levels;
- Asking about their recent travel, such as being on a cruise ship, and their methods of personal transportation;
- Asking patients about comorbid risk factors, such as asking whether the patient has the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other lung conditions;
- Advising patients on the best course of action for those who present at risk.
If patients are at risk or advised to self-quarantine, the HealthCall COVID-19 application prompts paramedics/ providers to enroll that patient in an automated ongoing monitoring program to track changes in symptoms and provide more proactive care if additional medical attention is needed.
“Telehealth screening greatly reduces the demand on 911 systems and frees up resources for more critical patients,” said Daniel Hayes, founder, and chief executive officer of HealthCall. “Our goal is to minimize exposure and maximize resources during this difficult time. This new application improves patient safety because it’s easier for them to be assessed in their homes, and if they are sick with COVID-19, we don’t want them adding to exposure. Remote screening can reduce health care costs, meaning people aren’t unnecessarily going to hospital emergency rooms, which are already deeply affected by this current outbreak.”
In support of telehealth screening, the U.S. House of Representatives’ $8.3 billion package, passed on March 4, included almost $500 million to expand the use of telehealth. Additionally, on March 13, the President of the United States declared a National Emergency and took action to remove legal constraints on the use of telehealth to foster greater adoption and ensure reimbursement.