Nation-wide health care is quickly becoming the key domestic issue in the United States. With more and more people signing up for health care due to health care reform, providers are faced with new challenges to patient management. In an article by the Albany Business Review, Upstate Concierge Medicine was featured for their progress in telemedicine, one of the fastest-growing, innovative solutions to patient management. Upstate Concierge Medicine is a lighthouse customer of PrognoCIS, integrating our EMR services into their practice.
In case the term is unfamiliar, telemedicine is “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status (American Telemedicine Association).” Essentially it’s the method of providing patient care electronically, whether through consultation, monitoring, education, or all of the above.
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Prioritizing Local Coverage
Upstate Concierge Medicine is led by Dr. Michael Bibighaus and Algozzine, two experienced emergency room providers who use their experience from national telemedicine company SwiftMD, to focus on the local Albany health scene. They provide on-call telemedicine to workers at 90 companies in the Albany area and the Northeast. That includes employees at Pioneer Bank, Northern Rivers Family Services and dozens more through East Greenbush-based insurance broker Rose & Kiernan Inc.’s private health insurance exchange.
Upstate Concierge believes that care providers with intimate knowledge of the local businesses are more valuable, than, say an outside physician—“local doctors with emergency training are better equipped to handle a remote, electronic visit with the parent of a feverish toddler or an accountant with a sinus infection than a physician from outside the region.”
“It’s the fact that our local doctors know the primary care doctors, we’re willing to work with the individual organization, the individual patient to collaborate on providing the best care,” said Upstate Concierge Medicine CEO Keith Algozzine. “We’re trying to fill in the gaps … The real savings and the real quality comes from appropriate care at the appropriate place.”
Telemedicine doesn’t just help manage patient load. By providing an electronic way to provide patient care, it reduces the frequency of in-house encounters, therefore saving time and costs. Less in-house patient encounters equate to reduced costs for everyone. Telemedicine also provides health care employees potential savings as they can spend more time at work. Employees, who by then have intimate knowledge of telemedicine, can use it themselves and with their families.
Telemedicine, however, has not been adopted as quickly as many would like. Upstate Concierge’s goal is to integrate telemedicine into the local Albany health care system. By contracting with local professionals who are familiar with the region’s hospitals, emergency rooms and primary care providers, they say it’ll be easier to refer patients for additional care.
Continued Growth with Telemedicine
Already in 2016, 90 companies offer Upstate Concierge Medicine’s telemedicine service to their employees, up from 25 companies in 2015. The telemedicine service is staffed by local health care providers who also work at emergency rooms in the area.
Rose & Kiernan, a client of Upstate Concierge Medicine, uses telemedicine to great effect. “The feedback we are getting from clients utilizing this service has been very positive,” said John Murray, Rose & Kiernan CEO, president and chairman. “They have a well-constructed business model that we feel is very capable of supporting their anticipated growth.”
Both Upstate’s founders, Bibighaus and Algozzine work in local emergency rooms.
Algozzine, the company’s CEO and a physician assistant, aims to stimulate growth by working with insurers and health care systems in the region. He’s been in in talks with three college health centers, four physician groups and one hospital system.
“The value proposition for the health system is the ability to expand their geographic reach, take on more lives, treat patients simply and affordably through telemedicine, but when things are more complex, you can filter them back into your hospital system,” Algozzine said. “There’s also the cost savings to treating people where they are rather than at a hospital.”
Upstate Concierge Medicine doesn’t provide the technology supporting its service. Algozzine said they contract with technology services including TelaMed for the phone answering service and PrognoCIS for electronic medical records.
The company integrated this year with the Healthcare Information Xchange of New York or HIXNY, which gives health care providers in the region access to electronic records of each other’s patients and connects with the statewide system.