The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality selected the University of Rochester Medicine Center (URMC) for a grant to study high-intensity telemedicine’s impact on the local elderly population in 2009. Reflecting the group’s mission to make acute healthcare more accessible and affordable, it proved to be a tipping point in my career. In short, this cohort study’s results became the guiding principle for EZaccessMD’s launch.
The clinically significant findings, tested the efficacy of meeting patients where it was most convenient and comfortable for them. Residents of independent living facilities received telemedicine consults while at home, a 21st century style physician house call. When doctors needed more information, they dispatched a med tech to the patient’s bedside, who carried a specially built suitcase full of equipment to personally interact with the patient and transmit data and images back to the doctor.
However, researchers didn’t have the capability for a mobile X-ray or ultrasound to manage the need for diagnostic imaging. That’s when they contacted UltraMobile Imaging (UMI), a company my husband and I have run for the past 20 years, that provides on-demand radiology services to seniors in the Rochester, N.Y. region.
At the end of the five-year study, there was a 34% reduction in transfers to the emergency room for seniors who received intensive telemedicine vs. a control group that did not have access to such services. This number is significant because every time a patient goes to the ER, it can cost $1,000 or more. And that expense can swell to many thousands of dollars when patients are admitted to the hospital for an inpatient stay, which happens about 33% of the time. Convenience was another major finding from the research. Patients preferred receiving on-demand care in their own home, over waiting days for an in-person doctor appointment.
This experience inspired my husband and I to launch a new company, EZaccessMD, to serve the under-65 population. We had a hunch that this population would also benefit tremendously from having diagnostic services including labs and radiology brought to their home on demand. That’s when we turned to the employer market that drives healthcare purchasing decisions for 180 million working Americans and their families, larger than Medicare and Medicaid combined.
This unique combination of telemedicine and mobile urgent care changes the playing field for patients seeking urgent care or contemplating a trip to the emergency room. EZaccessMD delivers high-quality care with better patient outcomes at a lower cost – the key objective for all employers that offer health benefits for their employees. Our comprehensive and convenient care is brought to the doorstep at a time when more people would prefer to be treated at home rather than in a brick-and-mortar setting, saving not only valuable time but also avoiding the spread of germs in waiting rooms.
The pivot from serving seniors to the general population, using our own licensed medical staff and equipment, was relatively seamless due to our many years of experience going to a patient’s home to provide care. Yes, house calls are back but in a new high tech way and at 70% employee utilization.
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