Virtual Care Before, During, and After a COVID-19 Diagnosis
Patient Journey: How physicians use patient communications to overcome challenges with remote patients
Telemedicine has been around much longer than the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this is the first time it’s been used to respond to a massive public health crisis. There are hundreds of scenarios around incorporating telehealth consultations and treatments into practice; however, in this article, we will narrow the focus to include a patient’s journey from the initial virtual consult leading to a COVID-19 diagnosis through self-isolation and symptom monitoring.
We now know that the majority of COVID-19 patients will be able to recover at home with proper education, symptom monitoring, and telehealth tools. The following patient journey is a simple scenario intended to demonstrate how a physician practice can use telehealth and secure patient texting to communicate with a patient throughout their diagnosis, self-isolation, and recovery.
Stage 1: Getting Diagnosed
- The patient is experiencing symptoms such as fever and cough. Symptoms are mild but the patient is concerned they have COVID and may infect other family members.
- The patient opts for a virtual visit with their physician to be evaluated for COVID-19.
- Using a patient communication solution like TigerTouch⁺ the physician will initiate a virtual visit from within the TigerConnect app. For patients, this happens through the mobile browser on their smartphone, allowing the patient to instantly and securely engage with their physician.
- Based on symptoms and potential exposure the physician directs the patient to go to the physician’s office for COVID-19 testing and then to begin self-isolation.
- Once at the physician’s office, the patient’s swab sample is taken and transferred to the lab for testing. Results expected to be available in 24-96 hours.
- As soon as the healthcare provider has the results they are able to immediately connect with the patient via TigerTouch. Using the patient’s preferred method of communication, the provider can text or call to initiate a follow up virtual visit to inform the patient of a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 and what steps to take next, preventing any delay in responding to the diagnosis.
- The follow-up appointment is set and through a virtual visit, the physician is able to connect with the patient in their own home and instruct them further on self-quarantine, isolation, and symptom monitoring. The physician can easily text educational materials over to the patient and schedule future check-ins through the same platform as the virtual visit.
Stage 2: Self-Isolation and Symptom Monitoring
- The patient is advised to self-quarantine for 14 days and isolate from other family members and pets.
- Twice a day the patient will check their temperature for fever and note if any other symptoms occur such as coughing or shortness of breath.
- If new symptoms arise and medical advice is required, the patient can securely use TigerTouch to share updates and concerns with their provider in real-time for further instruction.
- If symptoms worsen, the patient will be evaluated and the care team will determine whether hospitalization is required.
- If hospitalization is not required the patient will continue at home until recovery.
Stage 3: Recovery & Moving Forward
With an at-home recovery, a few factors have to be in place prior to the patient leaving self-isolation and reintegrating with others. According to the CDC:
- The patient must have no fever for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
- They have seen an improvement in the other COVID-19 related symptoms they were experiencing.
- At least 7 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared.
- Once the patient reaches this level of recovery, they can use TigerTouch to text directly with their physician or practice manager and schedule additional swab tests at the office.
- Two negative swab tests on consecutive days consider the patient all clear and they can begin having contact with others at this time. This guidance should be provided directly by their physician prior to making any dramatic changes.
- There is still a lot of uncertainty around whether a patient can get reinfected so life doesn’t quite go back to normal. The recovered patient will follow the protocol outlined by their physician, the CDC, and their local government to keep themselves and others safe.
This is just one example of a best-case scenario patient journey through a COVID-19 diagnosis. The landscape of care has dramatically changed during this pandemic. Telehealth and secure patient messaging are table stakes for most practices.
TigerTouch+: Video, Voice & Text in one Easy App
Simple and secure virtual communication for providers and patients
TigerTouch Simplifies Virtual Care for Patients and Providers
Recognizing the need for health systems to provide care, while reducing the spread of COVID-19, TigerConnect recently launched TigerTouch⁺ to help healthcare providers communicate directly with patients on their favorite platform: their smartphone. By using these newly adopted technologies the care team is protected, PPE is saved, and the patient still feels well taken care of and informed.
TigerTouch⁺ helps healthcare providers improve patient experiences by providing:
Direct engagement with healthcare providers — Clinicians can conduct 1-on-1 or group conversations via text, voice or video with patients, enhancing remote care while avoiding potential exposure to COVID-19 or other infectious diseases.
Communication throughout the patient journey — TigerTouch⁺ enables providers to engage patients at each touchpoint during a health event — from diagnosis to hospitalization to recovery.
Convenient, HIPAA-compliant communications — Secure, encrypted channels enable staff to securely share protected health information (PHI) to coordinate care quickly, avoiding time-consuming callbacks.
For more information on TigerTouch⁺, read the press announcement or watch the on-demand webinar & demo: One Secure Video, Voice & Text Solution for Patients & Providers to see the product in action.
Tags: COVID-19 Diagnosis, Pandemic, COVID-19, Virtual Care, Patient Communication