Healthcare technology pioneer DrFirst today announced that its award-winning, care collaboration platform, Backline, is being used to mobilize and expand healthcare capacity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Backline enables the delivery of “healthcare without walls” through telehealth capabilities that empower clinicians to provide patient care beyond the traditional confines of a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic, or long-term care facility.
Backline extends healthcare capacity by allowing clinicians to triage and treat patients using telehealth while protecting healthcare workers and other patients from potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. It also enables healthcare providers to work remotely if they are quarantined but well enough to work. In addition to helping avoid overcrowding in emergency departments during the pandemic, it can also be used by physicians to provide routine care for patients with chronic health conditions. Patients can use Backline without needing to download an app, access a patient portal, or undergo a time-consuming registration process.
“Backline functions at hospital-scale immediately and is helping U.S. healthcare providers fight back in the novel coronavirus battle,” said G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst. “From hospitals to physician practices to paramedics, Backline is making the idea of anytime, anywhere patient care a reality.”
In addition to providing telehealth video visits with patients, Backline allows physicians to connect with collaborating clinicians in patient-centered group chats, as well as share files, e-forms, e-signatures, and images. Backline can be integrated with electronic health record (EHR) systems and its HIPAA-compliant communications protect private health information. Backline also can document all patient interactions, providing the extended healthcare team—from practitioners to payers—with full visibility into their patients’ histories.
“The need for rapid expansion of patient care has never been greater, as hospitals have limited capacity which is being further stretched during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Deemer. “Backline can play a crucial role in our response to this crisis because it can be implemented almost instantly and ramp up capacity for every doctor in a hospital, clinic, or practice. And because it’s a full care collaboration platform, it will help healthcare providers better connect with patients and colleagues after this crisis resolves.”
The Backline Platform in Use
Backline is already helping to increase care capacity in hard-hit New York. The Town of Hempstead in Long Island is using Backline for its emergency medical services to help keep patients out of emergency departments. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, our number one priority is keeping our patients and healthcare providers safe. Using Backline means our paramedics and EMTs can have video calls with physicians who can help them fully assess, treat, and release patients in the field,” said David Neubert, M.D., Emergency Medical Director of the Town of Hempstead. “This helps our paramedics and EMTs prevent hospital surge and provide care in new ways, including proactively checking on senior citizens in the community.”
A psychiatric medicine practice in Long Island, N.Y., is using Backline for telehealth visits with its clients, many of whom are healthcare workers and first responders, including those who were part of the 9/11 response team. “We knew we needed to mobilize our care—and do it fast—our patients on the frontlines of this pandemic were counting on us to be available when they need a visit,” said Frank Dowling, M.D., of Long Island Behavioral Medicine. “As part of a medically high-risk group, it’s important that they can have secure video visits and feel safe and protected. They are also happy that their therapists are protected.”
Hospitals around the country are using Backline to help “flatten the curve” of the pandemic. The platform can be implemented for each doctor in a hospital simultaneously, so entire health systems can go live with remote healthcare to achieve real-time collaboration between medical providers, pharmacies, and patients, as well as their families.
“Our physicians are using Backline for telehealth visits so we can help patients avoid unnecessary exposure to coronavirus,” said Jackie Rice, VP and CIO at Frederick Health in Frederick, Md. “We were able to get started very quickly and we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from patients.”
The hospital is also using Backline to help connect hospitalized patients with their families who can’t visit them during the pandemic. “If a patient doesn’t have access to their cell phone, we can provide a tablet and set up a video chat using Backline so their loved ones at home can see them, and even talk to the nurses or doctors in the room,” said Rice. “We’ve had some very touching stories and families are so grateful for the ability to have a video visit. For example, we were able to connect a daughter at home with her mother who was recovering from a stroke. We’ve had families at home gather around their phone, so they can all do a video visit with a patient.”
Against the backdrop of the global pandemic, Backline offers patients online appointments with their own doctors who know their medical history and comorbidities, both important considerations when fighting COVID-19. In recognition of the critical role Backline can play to help physicians care for their patients, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) recently announced that it is partnering with the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) to provide small physician practices in Maryland with a year of complimentary access.
“CareFirst continues to take action to ensure our members have access to telehealth services, and to partner with our physician community as they find new ways to care for patients,” said Brian Pieninck, President and CEO of CareFirst. “Our work with MedChi will help to support people as they do their part to stay home and slow the spread of COVID-19, while still ensuring they have virtual access to the care they need.”
Physicians using Backline can turn any appointment into a video visit and maintain relationships with their patients during the pandemic and afterward.
Since 2000, DrFirst has pioneered healthcare technology solutions and consulting services that securely connect people at touchpoints of care to improve patient outcomes. We create unconventional solutions that solve care collaboration, medication management, price transparency, and adherence challenges in healthcare. We unite the Healthiverse—the interconnected healthcare universe—by providing our clients with real-time access to the information they need, exactly when and how they need it, so patients get the best care possible. DrFirst solutions are used by nearly 300,000 healthcare professionals, including more than 100,000 prescribers, nearly half of the EHRs in the U.S., and more than 1,400 hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. To learn more, visit DrFirst.com.