Telehealth vendor Doctor on Demand is partnering with CareLinx, an in-home care provider network, with the intention of expanding virtual care options to senior and high-risk patients.

CareLinx caregivers already have digital care plans on their smartphones, which enables direct communication to patients’ families as well as augmenting everyday care services such as meal prep.

Now, according to the organizations, the partnership will allow CareLinx clients to connect with Doctor on Demand physicians when they need medical services.

“We recognize the important role that caregivers play in families’ lives, so we are thrilled to be partnering with CareLinx to deliver meaningful support at such a critical time,” said Doctor on Demand President Robin Glass in a statement.

“As seniors continue to shelter in place, Doctor On Demand plays a crucial role in ensuring caregivers can coordinate high-quality health care for their clients from the comfort and safety of home,” Glass continued.

WHY IT MATTERS

In-home care patients represent a natural fit for telehealth, given that they are already accustomed to receiving services outside of a typical medical setting and are often at higher risk for contracting harmful diseases, including COVID-19.

According to the organizations, CareLinx clients will receive initial visits – which can address acute issues like infections or chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension – with Doctor on Demand physicians at no cost.

Doctor on Demand clinicians can also fill prescriptions and order lab work; the company says patients can see the same physician multiple times, allowing them to build a relationship.

CareLinx-employed caregivers will, in turn, assist with in-home follow-ups and care coordination.

THE LARGER TREND

Providers have been experimenting with using telehealth to augment in-home care for years, but the pandemic has meant those techniques have taken on a new urgency.

However, experts say it’s vital to consider the technological capabilities of patients, and their caregivers, when implementing virtual care strategies. Otherwise, as with other virtual care settings, telemedicine can actually deepen the digital divide.

“It is definitely helpful to have someone there who understands technology, who can troubleshoot with you,” said A. Camille McBride, research coordinator at Northwell Health, about the system’s pilot program to in-home patients, during the American Telemedicine Association conference earlier this year.

ON THE RECORD

“Now more than ever, finding high-quality, in-home care is pivotal during a time when seniors and high-risk patients are being encouraged to stay at home to minimize risk and exposure to COVID-19,” said CareLinx CEO Sherwin Sheik.

“This partnership is helping to supplement in-home activities of daily living with a telehealth option for our clients, who may not otherwise realize they have the option to see a provider virtually for medical ailments. Combined with the in-home care they are receiving, these services can help provide an expanded continuum of care to help them stay healthy and safe where they want to be – at home,” Sheik continued.

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Source: Doctor on Demand teams up with CareLinx to provide virtual in-home care