Removing Barriers to Virtual Care


The COVID-19 pandemic has moved the doctor-patient relationship into the virtual realm. Driven by concerns over the risk of exposure to the virus an explosion of requests from patients for virtual visits has occurred; as a result new devices and advanced technology are now connecting doctors and patients remotely. But, according to a paper published in JAMA, barriers still exist. In the US, more than 26% of Medicare beneficiaries lack digital access at home. The proportion is even greater among those with low incomes, 85 years or older, and in communities of color.

Technology Brings Care Home

There is no doubt that technology can be used to help patients manage their health at home and maintain their independence. That said, making sure that this technology is accessible to a broad range of patients, even those without broadband internet access or a mobile phone, is key to adoption and the widespread use necessary to improve patient care and impact clinical outcomes in a way that’s meaningful.

Custom Health provides in-home medication delivery and remote patient monitoring to improve health outcomes with a program featuring spencer, an in-home medication dispenser with built-in camera for telehealth visits. The device has a built-in network chip that automatically connects to the closest cell tower, meaning that patients don’t need internet service or to have their own mobile phone to benefit from virtual care. We introduce simple-to-use technology to patients at home, provide real-time monitoring with clinical pharmacists, and issue reports to simplify billing for busy physician practices – a full-service program for both patients and clinicians.

New Solutions for Virtual Care

Plug and play solutions – that don’t require patients to have internet or Wi-Fi – make virtual care in the home more accessible. This type of innovation means qualified healthcare providers can care for more patients remotely. As a result, telemedicine and monitoring can be used to provide access to care and feedback about medication use and related vitals in real time to best manage a patient with multiple chronic conditions. With easy-to-use technology in the home, patients enjoy increased independence and reduced worry about missing a dose knowing their health conditions are being monitored and managed. When coupled with prescription delivery, remote clinical monitoring, and a network of community pharmacies providing services locally, connected care solutions that break down barriers are changing the game in health care.

In short, virtual care with the right combination of services and analytics can improve access, provide healthcare when and where it’s needed, without the limitations and potential risks of an in-office visit. Now, physicians can provide virtual care to more people in need, grow their practice capacity, and improve health outcomes for more patients than ever before.