Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Vivify deploys telehealth to monitor coronavirus

Steve Rogerson
March 24, 2020



Vivify Health is addressing the coronavirus pandemic with a rapid deployment plan for healthcare providers to screen and monitor patients remotely.
 
The technology helps scale healthcare resources by using data to determine whether a physician needs to see the patient while enabling most patients to be screened and monitored at home.
 
Texas-based Vivify Health, the developer of a connected care platform for remote patient care, has announced the availability of Covid-19 screening, self-isolation and monitoring pathways for its Vivify +Go mobile technology.
 
The screening pathway enables low-risk patients or those with mild symptoms to use their mobile devices to self-screen for Covid-19 by answering a series of questions that follow current CDC guidelines. The self-screening helps providers scale their availability by reducing the onslaught of worried patients converging on a facility, enabling physicians to focus their attention on those with the greatest health risks.
 
It also saves patients who may not have the disease now from potential exposure in crowded emergency departments or physician offices. Vivify Health is offering unlimited use of the screening pathway to providers at no cost, along with discounted and rapid deployment to providers new to the Vivify Pathways platform.
 
The self-isolation and monitoring pathways enable all patients, using their mobile devices, to update their symptoms continually, monitored remotely by providers, while receiving constant updates from current CDC guidelines. Additionally, information about other pre-existing health risks such as diabetes, chronic pulmonary obstruction disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF) or any of more than 90 other chronic conditions, can also be monitored at home, assuring those at the highest risk levels with Covid-19 receive proper care.
 
Vivify's provides built-in telehealth through virtual visits and secure messaging, when direct provider interaction is necessary.
 
"As the number of reported cases continues to grow, Covid-19 is expected to spread exponentially in the coming weeks," said Eric Rock, founder and CEO of Vivify Health. "This type of rapid spread can quickly overwhelm hospitals, acute care centres, primary care physicians and other providers, especially as fear and panic sets in and more people want to be tested just in case. With the release of these new pathways, patients exhibiting similar symptoms who don't actually have Covid-19 can receive reassurance without having to physically visit their physicians. And four out of five of those who do contract the virus can now receive care remotely through monitoring and telehealth, so they can recover at home with minimal risk to themselves or others."
 
According to a paper published by the Chinese CDC, only 19% of patients who contracted Covid-19 had conditions severe enough to require hospitalisation. The effects on the other 81% were mild enough for them to recover safely at home.
 
The availability of pathways can help already-vulnerable patients reduce their risk of exposure and keeps those who have it from passing it on to others by enabling them to remain in their homes for treatment, in all but the most extreme cases. Vivify Health is offering no cost screening pathways and scaled volume pricing for Covid-19 self-isolation and monitoring pathways until the CDC says the threat has been significantly reduced in the USA.
 
"Telehealth on its own helps with some aspects of a disease such as Covid-19 but it also has its limitations, especially in terms of scale," said Rock. "Whether a visit is in-person or online, physicians, nurses and others must still spend the same amount of time. With our RPM [remote patient monitoring], providers can continuously triage their high-risk populations automatically to determine which ones require a call or visit with a physician, based on CDC guidelines, and those which can be handled by a physician assistant, nurse or another healthcare professional. It's a far more efficient approach that ensures everyone receives the level of care that is most appropriate – especially those with the greatest need – while keeping the health system from becoming over-taxed."
 
For organisations concerned about the cost of telehealth options, the $8.3bn Coronavirus Preparedness & Response Supplemental Appropriations Act 2020 has set aside $500m to pay for Medicare telehealth services (voice and video), and allows the secretary of health and human services to waive Medicare telehealth restrictions during the public health emergency so care can be provided regardless of where a patient is located, meaning physicians can be paid for care delivered across state lines. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has already waived telehealth geographic and originating site restriction for Medicare Advantage plans.
 
RPM can be used for Covid-19 monitoring and management under CPT codes 99453, 99454, 99457 and 99458 and virtual check-in code G2012 as well as all current telehealth services. It cannot be used for chronic condition management or principal care management, as those require a chronic condition. CPT codes 99421-99423 (patient-initiated digital communication) and HSPCS codes G2061-G2063 (online assessment) can be furnished via telehealth, and other payment options are also being considered.
 
"This is a difficult time in America and throughout the world," Rock said. "One of the positives, however, has been how many healthcare and health IT organisations have set aside their normal focus on profits to contribute to the effort to combat Covid-19. Vivify Health is proud to join their ranks."
 
Vivify Health specialises in connected healthcare delivery. The company's mobile, cloud-based platform powers holistic remote care management through personalised care plans, biometric data monitoring, multi-channel patient education and functionality configured to each patient's needs.