One of New York’s biggest hospitals is going regional with its digital doctor program.
A year after its launch, New York Langone Health, an academic medical center affiliated with New York University, has added more provider staff and specialties to its virtual care unit. The health system, which is comprised of the NYU School of Medicine, Tisch Hospital, the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, the Hospital for Joint Diseases, NYU Langone Hospital, NYU Winthrop Hospital and the NYU Langone Medical Center with more than 30 ambulatory facilities in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, also is accepting more types of healthcare coverage.
The telehealth service launched last September and initially served metropolitan New York. Now, coverage has been expanded to include patients in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The staff of providers has been expanded to about 30 physicians with telehealth and emergency medicine training and video doctor visits are now available in more specialties including more urgent care conditions such as cough, sore throat, cold, other flu-like symptoms, rash, urinary tract infection, pink eye and earache.
The expansion of telehealth is aimed at giving New York Langone patients more convenient ways to see a doctor and to screen patients that may need to be treated in the emergency room. “Our patients are asking for convenient ways to manage their own healthcare and virtual urgent care provides them an easy and engaging way to access care from an expert physician,” says NYU Langone Health chief medical information officer Paul Testa. “It’s an integrated technology that extends NYU Langone’s patient experience beyond our facilities and to our patients’ homes and offices.”
The extended telehealth service is aimed primarily at New York Langone patients mainly because physicians may need access to their electronic medical records but the telehealth service is open to the public. Virtual urgent care is covered for patients 12 years and older who are insured by UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna patients, throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Unlike similar telehealth services, patients can be covered for just the cost of a copay, the health system says.
New York Langone already has an extensive institutional telehealth initiative that includes 200 physicians and covers a range of specialties such as psychiatry, orthopedics, ophthalmology, neurology, bariatrics, transplant, cardiology, hematology and medical oncology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.
Telehealth also is being used to offer virtual visits for post-operative follow-up care, including general surgery, transplant surgery, orthopedic surgery and thoracic surgery and to bring patients’ remote data into their integrated health records by remotely connecting to home monitoring devices such as heart rate and blood pressure monitors, scales, step trackers and glucometers.
But with other competing health systems such as Norwell Health expanding consumer telehealth, New York Langone wants to keep pace. “Telemedicine is advancing the way we offer healthcare,” says New York Langone senior vice president and chief information officer Nader Mehrabi, “We’re connecting with our patients in ways that are not only more convenient for them, but also offer the same quality care they expect of us.”
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