Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Verizon introduces mobile health service for online consultation

Iain Morris
July 2, 2014
US telecoms giant Verizon has launched a mobile health offering branded Verizon Virtual Visits allowing patients to be diagnosed remotely for a variety of conditions using mobile devices.

Verizon (New York City, NY, USA) says the service is aimed at reducing the cost of visits to the emergency room for non-urgent care, which it estimates ran to approximately $4.4 billion in 2013.

It should also give patients without convenient and timely access to care the opportunity to ‘see’ a clinician.

According to recent studies cited by the operator, as many as 62 million Americans have difficulty accessing primary and preventative care, while the average time it takes a new patient to schedule an appointment is 27 days.

“We are seeing a shift in how care is delivered in the US,” said Rich Black, the vice president of Verizon’s healthcare practice. “With Verizon Virtual Visits, patients and providers alike can benefit from the use of technology to provide medical care via an enterprise-class technology solution developed with the security, performance and reliability essential to healthcare delivery,” said Rich Black, vice president of Verizon’s healthcare practice.

“We believe our latest mobile health offering can go a long way to enable a more efficient and effective US healthcare system,” he added. “In addition, with Verizon Virtual Visits health systems can benefit from reducing the burden on clinical staff by seeing patients remotely, while health plans can help satisfy members, particularly younger generations, who are increasingly demanding more convenient and less costly options for care.”

The service works by allowing patients to connect online with clinicians using secure apps on their smartphones or tablets, or via a web portal.
Patients are then taken through a set of health-related questions followed by a discussion with a clinician who will evaluate their condition and provide an appropriate care plan.

The platform can also be used by clinicians to distribute prescriptions to pharmacies, where this is legally permitted.

Verizon says all data shared between the clinician and the patient is encrypted.
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