TouchCare is trying to change that.
The mobile app company, headquartered in Durham, can make seeing a physician as easy as a Skype or FaceTime call. Face-to-face video appointments via smart phones and tablets between doctors and patients enable a more personal and direct approach to modern health care.
TouchCare is looking to use technology to make follow-ups, medication refills, doctor-to doctor communication and after-hours care faster and easier, especially for seniors, parents with young children and other patients with poor mobility.
“Technology and the way we use it to enhance our lives is changing so rapidly yet it has not made health care more accessible for patients,” TouchCare Founder and CEO Damian Gilbert said in a press release. “If anything, it is harder to connect with your own doctor than in past years.”
TouchCare officially launched in March 2014 and is already being implemented by physicians in North Carolina and New York. In addition to efficiency, privacy is a top priority for TouchCare. The app is HIPAA compliant and each video appointment is made on a triple-encrypted line. The app is designed for both practicality and confidentiality.
The app is free to download for patients and free to try for physicians. Unlike traditional phone calls, TouchCare gives physicians the option to charge for remote video consultations. Recently, TouchCare underwent a product update that gives physicians and health care providers an easy way to do video consults with their peers or colleagues. The new “My Colleagues” feature allows providers to schedule HIPAA-compliant video consults with each other or make themselves available for on-demand consults so they can talk face-to-face privately with another doctor, or sit alongside their patient to present their case to a specialist anywhere in the world using TouchCare.
“With TouchCare’s ‘My Colleagues’ feature, calling in a consult is fast and easy,” says Dr. Jameelah Melton, the telemedicine company’s chief medical officer and founder of Sollus Pediatrics in Cary. “As doctors, we’re regularly consulting colleagues, specialists and other providers, and TouchCare lets you do that face-to-face from anywhere. Along with advantages for private communication with another provider, the video consult is a great addition during a patient’s appointment. I can present to the other provider with the patient in the room for better communication through the care chain. It ultimately eliminates any misunderstandings or communication gaps and improves the continuity of care.”
The product update also includes improved email and in-app appointment confirmation notifications. A new My Clinics feature for patients allows them to easily access all information for a provider’s clinic, such as phone number, directions and a list of all physicians.