ConnectUsMed is a service enabling a practitioner to provide the convenience of virtual office visits to his patients.  It is sometimes referred to as a Virtual Consult.  ConnectUsMed was developed and is maintained, sold and serviced by ConnectUs Communications.

This section covers what ConnectUsMed provides, including features and details of how it works.    At this point you might be saying “But I am a general practitioner with an established patient list.  I don’t think this applies to me.”  I would say “Yes, it does.  You are the exact doctor we are targeting.  Perhaps you should start with the next tab—PRACTICALITY.”  It explains why ConnectUsMed makes sense and what is likely to happen if you don’t implement a Telehealth solution.  It also details why ConnectUsMed is a really good and practical choice.

Overview—ConnectUsMed provides an easy-to-use and very secure platform for doctors to offer virtual office visits to their patients. It is a cloud based communications platform that includes video, audio, chat, screen sharing, co-browsing, and snapshot functions. It accommodates a variety of hardware including Windows and MAC desktops/laptops as well as mobile phones and tablets with IOS and Android operating systems. A patient can even use something as simple as a browser based Chromebook.

ConnectUsMed includes
  • Virtual Office Visits
  • Online Patient History
  • Automated Referrals
  • Multiple Operating Systems
  • Many Hardware Platforms
  • Full Technical Support

In addition to Virtual Office Visits, ConnectUsMed includes two other major capabilities—Patient History and Referrals. Patient History accommodates the patient filling out the familiar medical history form used by your practice.  It is customized with your data so the info is the same as you normally capture.  The difference is the patient can complete it in the comfort of his/her home where he has access to his information.  The format is electronic so it is easy to store, transport, and process.

Normally, a new patient history is required on a yearly basis.  With ConnectUsMed the patient can easily access his old form and update any information that has changed.  The history can be completed during the appointment or prior to the actual visit.  Patients love this, as updating existing data is much easier than starting over each year.  Also, the patient has access to the data at home so the information tends to be more complete and accurate.

This is a win for the staff as well, as they have access to the history electronically with no paper involved.  ConnectUsMed also provides an EMR interface so the information can automatically flow into the EMR.  Processing information is so much easier when it originates digitally.

ConnectUsMed also automates the Referral process.  This process has always been very cumbersome for many practices.  The referral starts with a phone call and then is processed manually.  Finally, the referral is mailed out.  The result is slow, expensive and somewhat exasperating.  ConnectUsMed automates it.  The patient fills out a referral form online.  The request automatically notifies a designated referral specialist. The specialist views the request, completes and uploads the referral.  The patient is automatically notified by email and can securely download the referral.  The entire process can be completed within a day.  It is fast, efficient, and all activity is logged for easy reference to settle any problems or misunderstandings.

ConnectUsMed Features

  • Schedule an Appointment tab
  • Start Virtual Office Visit tab
  • Patient History tab–
  • Request/Access Referrals tab
  • Chat tab
  • Email tab
  • Phone number tab
  • Web page for patient access—Located on either your website or ours and customized for you.
  • ConnectUsMed dashboard for all staff—A private portal to coordinate all activity.
  • Multiple Communication modes—Video, Audio, Chat, Screen share, File send, Snapshot
  • Secure—Uses HTTPS connections. Media is encrypted end to end.
  • Easy to Use—No patient downloads or installs.
  • Full tech support
  • Interface available to automatically transfer patient history forms to EMR.
  • Hardware self-test—Patient can use prior to consult.
  • Logs—All transactions are logged with staff access.
  • Local Storage—All patient history and referral files are stored automatically at the practice.
  • Waiting Room—Customized to your location.
  • Exam Room—Customized to your location.
  • Notifications—Alerting system when the patient is waiting or something needs a response.
  • Status indicators—Displays current status of both patients and staff.
  • Multiple hardware options—PC, MAC, Android, IOS

 

Appointment Flow

1.Patient Portal—If the patient wants to communicate with the doctor’s office, he will be directed to the doctor’s communication webpage. A subsection of that is shown below although it could vary in form.  This could be located on the practice website; or, if the practice doesn’t publish its own website, it could be located on a subpage of the ConnectUsMed website.  The address might be ConnectUsMed.com/DrDemo.

2.Hardware Test—Assume the patient selects “Start Virtual Office Visit”. He will be asked to enter identifying information (Name, email, and phone number). The next step opens the following screen allowing the patient to test his camera, mic, and speaker. He then clicks the “Continue to doctor’s office” button. Notice that in the lower left corner is a chat window if the patient chooses to use it.

3.Waiting Room—The patient enters the waiting room and the receptionist is alerted. Just like an onsite visit.

4.Receptionist calls Patient—This is normally a video call, but could be just audio or chat as well. While talking, the receptionist could capture a picture of the patient or perhaps a picture of the patient’s insurance card.

5.Send to Patient History—The receptionist needs the patient to complete or update his history so she sends the patient to the history form. Upon submitting, the patient is returned to the waiting room and a staff member is notified. This staff member could be the same receptionist, nurse, or perhaps even the doctor.

6.Transferring between Staff—Any staff member can transfer to any other staff member, to the patient history or can dismiss the patient. All patient movement is timestamped and logged for subsequent review.

7.User Dashboard—Below is a picture of a the staff Dashboard. All staff is displayed in the left column along with their status. Active patients display in the right column along with their status, where they are located, who they are waiting for and for how long they have been waiting. This dashboard also provides access to the patient histories, referrals, and logs.

API to the EMR

ConnectUsMed includes an API (application programming interface) to the EMR. This is a connection between ConnectUsMed and your EMR. This API provides an automatic way to transfer the patient history to the EMR. When the patient completes or updates his history it is automatically transferred to the EMR. It is not simply a picture scanned into the EMR, but the actual data so the EMR could use this data for a deeper analysis.

 

Automatically posts Patient History to the EMR

The Staff loves this option

 

ConnectUs provides this API as well as our source code and a demo to the EMR vendor to make it easy for him to integrate the two, but it is up to the EMR vendor to actually do it.

EMR Integration

If you really want the ultimate experience, let us integrate ConnectUsMed directly into your EMR system. When you connect to a patient, you will be able to access the EMR directly from the video screen. The EMR, patient video, and self-video display onto a single integrated screen. This is an optional feature, but creates the ultimate experience.

Best Practices—We recommend using video wherever possible. Video is the most immersive and engaging medium; therefore, we recommend using it. Video builds trust and the doctor-patient relationship is built around trust. There is no good reason to do it any other way. Your patients deserve the best. Video is the best.

ConnectUsMed can be used on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. We recommend a good desktop or laptop. Video requires more power than some other mediums, so I would not use an old or powerless one. It doesn’t have to be super good, but more is always better.

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Best Practices

Use Video–It builds Trust

Desktop provides the best experience

Close your office door, focus on patient

 

Many medical practices like to use mobile devices.  ConnectUsMed will work on mobile devices, but we recommend limiting your usage to notifications.  A mobile phone does a great job of alerting me that a patient is waiting, but we recommend using a desktop/laptop for the actual consult.  There are many reasons.

First, a desktop is more powerful and will provide a better and more consistent experience.  Second, a desktop has a multi-tasking operating system so it can do more than one thing at a time.  Normally, a provider will have a video session going and also be engaged with the EMR record.  A mobile device really can’t handle this.  ConnectUsMed can even be integrated into your EMR to provide a single view with both apps running.  Third, a mobile device uses a wireless network.  Wireless creates lots of problems with video.  Video is high bandwidth and real time, creating a challenging environment.  It is hard to control the wireless network because other users are also using it.  Most wireless networks can’t stand that degree of load.  If you want consistent results, I would avoid both mobile and wireless.  I recommend a wired desktop.

The final reason (I’m going to use a separate paragraph for it because it) is the most important reason.  A doctor engaging with an onsite patient goes into an exam room and engages the patient one on one.  The door is closed and the doctor and patient engage each other.  It is a one on one personal discussion.  A virtual consult deserves the same engaging attention.  The doctor should go into the exam room or office, close the door, and be fully engaged with the patient and his records.  The patient deserves the same full time attention.  In a mobile world, there is a tendency to multi-task and that is not fair to the patient and his care or his money.  The goal of the virtual office visit is to be just as engaging, but in a more convenient setting.

ConnectUsMed sounds great, but would it be practical for me?  Get the answer (HERE).