We’ve written a lot about the differences between virtual care and telehealth. But do you know why one is better than the other? Or how virtual care even works?
To understand how virtual care empowers organizations to deliver better care (yes, even better than traditional telehealth) and what to look for when evaluating a virtual care solution, you need to pop the hood and check out the engine.
The provisioning engine, that is.
But first, let’s review what good virtual care looks like.
A good virtual care platform doesn’t get in the way of care, but enables it. In many cases, it even improves care:
- By offering multiple front doors, both low-tech and high-tech. Patients can use virtual care wherever, however they want, in their preferred language.
- By integrating into an EMR. Patients’ health history and payer information is accessible and validated before and during the episode of care. Data can be written to the record immediately.
- By connecting the patient to the most appropriate clinical expertise available. Whether in-person or virtual, the right provider connects to the patient in a matter of minutes.
- By including intelligent triage and escalation. Virtual providers have the tools they need to treat patients and transition them to clinical providers. They can segment delivery into queues, automate care delivery where appropriate, and have a complete view of all the events happening across the system.
In other words, exceptional virtual care means on-demand care that can engage patients anywhere, anytime, in the most cost effective way.
That’s the level of virtual care that Bluestream Health makes possible through our patented provisioning engine that manages all of these complex connections.
To understand how it works, let’s take a look at a few examples: a large public health organization, a physician service provider, and an insurance provider. You’ll see that each example includes elements of this diagram:
How a Large Public Health Organization Uses Bluestream to Improve Access to Care
First, they offer their patients dozens of front doors so they have access to care anywhere:
- consumer-facing websites
- text/SMS invitations from the provider
- integrations with partners, such as insurance companies
- integration into the first responder program
- traditional telephone and 9-1-1 systems
Once the patient enters the virtual front door, he or she is automatically routed to triage agents who work around the clock to put that patient in front of a clinician as quickly as possible. Triage agents can monitor the queue of virtual patients in real time. They can sort calls from all sources by priority and wait time. With just a click, they can connect to the patient over video.
When the triage agent connects with the patient, they can access a full suite of EMR-integrated tools. For example, they can update patient information, enter them into the health system, or even bring in an interpreter.
As soon as the provider or expert is ready to connect with the patient, the triage agent can initiate a warm or cold hand-off, introducing the patient and provider. Now, the provider has the same access to the patient’s information and can take over the encounter.
At the end of the call, the patient can quickly complete a net promoter score (NPS) survey while the encounter is still top of mind.
Bluestream Health’s provisioning engine manages this complex process of guiding patients from the front door to the triage agents to the right clinical provider, all while keeping data securely flowing to and from the EHR in real time.
Check out this video to get a behind the scenes view of Bluestream in action.
How a Psychiatric Medical Group Uses Bluestream to Virtually Connect Qualified Psychiatrists with Emergency Departments, Clinics
In this example, the patient is physically at a clinic or in an emergency room but the clinical expert is located somewhere else. Once it’s determined that the patient needs behavioral health care, the care provider initiates the request for a psychiatric consult through Bluestream’s interface. It takes just a few clicks to send the request to the network of psychiatrists. In as little as thirty seconds, the best-suited, next available psychiatrist connects with the patient in a secure, web-based video call. In this situation, the best-suited psychiatrist would have the correct license and would be authorized to practice in the hospital where the request originated.
Not only can the psychiatrist immediately engage with their patient over video, but they can create automated patient follow-ups, write orders, and view operational reports.
Because the connections to patient health information and clinical experts are available in real time, this group can engage more patients throughout the entire care continuum, and provide critical behavioral health services.
Of course this group would prefer to intercept and treat patients before their needs escalate to the point of needing emergency care. That’s why they also offer virtual psychiatric health care services in community-based clinics, many of which lack access to these specialized services. This not only saves money by reducing emergency department visits down the road, but it improves patients’ results by caring for them sooner.
How an Insurance Provider Uses Bluestream to Help Members Virtually Connect with Providers
A common question patients wonder is whether their virtual care appointment would be covered by their health plan. They may look for an out-of-pocket option and be frustrated by surprise fees. At the same time, health plans want to be sure their in-network providers are the ones giving care to their members.
One Payer uses Bluestream to facilitate an easy virtual connection between their plan members and providers.
Similar to our first example of the public health system, this Payer has created a virtual front door to invite their members to use virtual care. However, this front door is “gated,” which means it requires the patient to first verify their location and insurance ID.
Once the patient validates their membership and provides consent for treatment, they’re connected immediately with a “Support Hero” (virtual triage) who facilitates the next step: the virtual appointment with a provider.
What makes this connection possible is what’s happening “under the hood” — Bluestream’s direct integration into the Payer’s validation API. Now, plan members are confident their episode of virtual care is covered!
Choose a Flexible, Powerful Virtual Care Platform as a Service
These are only a few examples of how Bluestream Health works to help provide exceptional virtual care services to as many people as possible. Our suite of tools can help health systems, clinics, emergency and urgent care facilities, service providers, and even health app developers offer personable virtual care for patients and customers everywhere.
If you’d like more information about our tools, complete the contact form below and we’ll get in touch. Or, read one of our case studies to explore other ways Bluestream Health facilitates better virtual care.