Telemedicine Services in the Real World

telemedicine services

From the Founder and CEO of Astia Health, Dr. Alex Sommers

With the shortage of physicians in the US and the need for convenient, accessible care that is patient-focused it’s a great time to be in the telemedicine industry.  For Astia Health, it gives us the ability to provide a combination of walk-in clinics and home/office visits through our mobile medical unit with live video connections back to a physician.

I am a physician and tend to always be “on call” and the other night was no exception. I had decided to take my wife out for sushi in Stevens Point, which is about 40 minutes away.  For the most part, the drive was uneventful, at least, until my phone rang.  A pediatric patient had arrived at our clinic with congestion, a headache, and tenderness around their ear.  It sounded like a classic ear infection, but how could you be sure?  Not too long ago I would have apologized to my wife, canceled our dinner reservations and turned around to go see the patient.

But not this time.

Because we have implemented a live video medicine solution, we can pretty much work from anywhere.  That said, I pulled over to the side of the road for a minute, opened up my iPad and saw the patient.  “Saw” meaning, I spoke to him, examined him (with some help from my experienced nurse in the clinic) and even used a digital otoscope to look in his ear from 25 miles away with HD clarity.  I saw an angry ear (erythematous, bulging tympanic membrane with a dislodged tympanostomy tube and an effusion) but only a mildly annoyed wife, which is always a nice change of pace!  The diagnosis was straightforward and the treatment plan was agreed and communicated.  The whole visit took about 3 minutes (from me), the patient got relief and was able to see the physician his mom knows and trusts. Plus, I got to take my wife to dinner as planned (by the way, the sushi was excellent).  Everybody wins.  It was even reimbursable under the patient’s health insurance because she had a forward-thinking plan that covers these types of services.

In the world of high deductible insurance, the patient’s mom even chose to pay immediately as she saved an extra 10% off the bill she otherwise would have gotten from her United HealthCare Insurance plan a month later that would have been her responsibility anyway.

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