Memorial Health Care Systems (MHCS) has partnered with Lincoln, Neb.-based Bryan Health to launch Memorial eVisit, a virtual care platform to provide healthcare services to rural Nebraska patients.
According to a press release, it is the first virtual care offering by a Nebraska rural critical access hospital. The virtual care offering, Memorial eVisit, is supported by Bryan Telemedicine, and uses a cloud-based virtual care software platfrom from health IT company Zipnosis.
MHCS is comprised of a critical access hospital in rural Seward, Nebraska as well as three primary care clinics and retail pharmacy. Bryan Health is a locally owned and governed healthcare organization that operates two acute care facilities, several outpatient clinics, a College of Health Sciences as well as a physician network and a heart institute.
The virtual care solution enables patients in rural Seward County, Nebraska to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan from a board certified Nebraska doctor. Memorial eVisit utilizes the virtual care services of Bryan Telemedicine and its staff of Nebraska board certified physicians. Bryan Telemedicine physicians will staff the new service, reviewing patient information and making diagnoses.
"With Memorial eVisit, the communities we serve can get the care they need, even when our clinics are closed," Joel Gabriel, M.D., chief of staff at MHCS, said in a prepared statement.
Roger Reamer, CEO of MHCS, said in a statement, “We recognized the demand for a virtual care option to meet the needs of the diverse patient population we serve in Seward County.”
Andy Whitney, director of Bryan Telemedicine Services, said MHCS is the first of several rural hospitals across Nebraska that the health system plans to partner with to provide virtual care services to people across Nebraska.
With Memorial eVisit, patients can use their smartphones, computers or tablets to complete a short online interview. A board-certified physician employed by Bryan Telemedicine then reviews the interview results and provides the diagnosis. Information about the diagnosis is sent to the patient via text or email. If a prescription is appropriate, Memorial eVisit enables the patient to send the prescription electronically to the pharmacy of their choice. If the doctor determines that the patient's symptoms require a face-to-face visit, the patient is provided information on how to schedule an appointment with a local provider at one of the three MHCS clinics, according to a press release.
"By launching Memorial eVisit, in partnership with Bryan Telemedicine, MHCS is improving access to quality clinical care and making it easier for patients and healthcare providers to connect online when mileage and distance are limiting factors," Jon Pearce, co-founder and CEO of Zipnosis, said in a statement.
According to Pearce, telemedicine has been challenged with affordable access in rural communities. “Previous solutions have involved expensive grants or investment in telecom infrastructure or video systems, he said.