Hollywood residents who need to see a doctor immediately for many basic health needs can do so through a telehealth program called DOCNow being offered by the Memorial Healthcare System.
William Manzie, the administrative director for MemorialDOCNow is proud of the accomplishments of the program over the past year and a half. The program can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a smart phone or through a personal computer. Over the past year, more than 7,500* people have enrolled into the platform and there have been more than 5,000 video visits.
“We are not trying to take over the role of primary care physicians, we are looking to add value to care,” said Manzie.
How it works is if a person has non-emergency minor medical concern including allergies, asthma, cough, flu, pink eye, sinus infection, urinary tract infection or other minor problem, they can have a conference with a doctor via video. Using the call-in screen, the doctor can view the injury or problem and discuss the situation with the patient. The patient can send still photographs. This is considered evidence based medicine. The doctor will take the information he or she has received from the patient and then make a diagnosis. For more serious situations, the patient would be advised to see a doctor in person.
For example, a young boy had a case of pink eye. His school sent him home but a pediatrician could not see him immediately. So, the boy was seen by a doctor by video through MemorialDOCNow. The doctor looked at the eye, made a diagnosis and arranged a prescription electronically for medicine to treat the pink eye. Or, a person with flu symptoms can be seen through the telehealth approach and arrange for the treatment process to begin.
Through the telehealth system, people can be seen by a doctor very quickly, usually within a few minutes. Surveys have found that most people are satisfied with the service they receive through MemorialDOCNow.
Additionally, doctors can use an adaptation of this platform to consult with other physicians to discuss a patient’s medical care, and there is a one that allows for specialists to work with patients over video. This has proven popular with people outside the United States who may not have easy access to specialists. An important goal of MemorialDOCNow is to expand internationally.
“We want more people to become familiar with what it is and we want to educate people in the community about it, said Manzie. “We hope to create more international partnerships and expand our international programs.”
In the future, leaders at Memorial hope to expand MemorialDOCNow and to upgrade healthcare with additional access points so that more people can have access to the healthcare that they need.
*Editors’ note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly stated this number as 75,000.