A start-up called MediSprout has launched a new videoconferencing service that can be used “on demand” by medical providers and is fully compliant with healthcare regulations, unlike a number of other videoconferencing services.
MediSprout says the service is aimed at providers who see patients on a daily basis in hospitals, nursing homes or other healthcare-related facilities and allows anyone to “connect with anyone else at any time”.
Some medical providers have been relying on ‘over-the-top’ services like Skype (Luxembourg) for videoconferencing, but these are not compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and so their use risks incurring large fines and penalties.
MediSprout says it came up with the idea when Samant Virk, its co-founder, began exploring more efficient ways to communicate with patients while he was working as a physician.
“It was at times frustrating to hear patients explain how they had to take half their day off for a ten-minute appointment that was solely based on verbal and visual interaction,” he said. “It was a misuse of their valuable time as well as our valuable office resources.”
MediSprout says its service had to address a need for ease of use and integration into a typical medical workflow with patient accessibility.
“It’s seamless and streamlined with design that does not store any confidential patient information,” said Virk. “Our service just mediates the interaction for now through encrypted video technology that is extremely easy to use.”
The system also incorporates medically specific tools that can enhance the visit, says MediSprout, such as file sharing and screen sharing.
MediSprout says it differs from other telehealth companies because it understands there is still a need for the face-to-face visit, viewing itself as a service that “enhances rather than replaces” the traditional appointment at the doctor’s.
The company aims to generate revenue through a flat monthly fee that providers pay to use its technology, but insists that using MediSprout could be quite lucrative for existing practices “given the trends in insurance reimbursement as well as people paying out of pocket or using healthcare spending accounts for other types of telehealth visits”.
MediSprout has also indicated that it sees its videoconferencing service as a platform for the introduction of further innovations.
“We have several ideas on how we want to make the interactions between provider and patient more meaningful and productive using technology to improve patient experiences, improve medical outcomes with more efficient use of physician time while reducing overhead,” it said in a statement.