ZM's Role in Telemedicine

Epnh’s “Teladoc Update” post mentioned that

Both my dermatologist and my PCP are currently using Zoom for telemedicine visits with no particular HIPAA concerns noted… both claim that Zoom visits are no different from telephone consultations from a regulatory perspective, and presumably they’ve run that past their lawyers.

This reminded me to look back at information about Zoom’s role in telemedicine.

Earlier, there was a post on the ZM board from DocBoston who announced that Partner’s Health Care had sent notification that all doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants at our organization will be moving to have a commercial medical version of Zoom embedded into our electronic medical system . . .

We are leaving for Zoom……

In following up DocBoston’s post, I learned that Zoom offers a HIPAA-compliant version that differs from the free or paid versions that most of us are using. As of March, 2020, the price was a minimum of $200 a month with a 12 month commitment.…

From what I’ve read the legislative changes in restrictions to telemedicine do not eliminate the need to be HIPAA-compliant. The changes allow Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors regardless of where they live and allow for urgent care as well as routine check-ups.

Zoom has an impressive blog page promoting its telemedicine role.

Among its features are:

An ability to integrate with EHR and EMR systems, including Epic (which DocBoston mentioned using). Evidently, this includes being able to update charts and records. (Are any Saul’s board members medical workers who could comment on this?)

Support for low-bandwidth environments: High-quality video has to work in low-bandwidth environments to bring services to patients in rural or other off-the-grid locations Many rural areas have trouble attracting doctors. In some cases, residents attend a once a year make-shift clinic held in a school (or similar building) just for basic medical care. This application could improve rural health care over the long term, post Covid-19).

Patient privacy features like Waiting Rooms

Integrations for diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes…

Zoom clearly had a long range goal as an important participant in telemedicine before the pandemic. As in many areas, the pandemic has led to an accelerated adaptation. Many of these uses will continue and expand post-pandemic.

All the best,