Samant Virk, M.D., says he developed the telemedicine platform MediSprout out of frustration in his 15 years of practice.
“We have technology in my office to help with insurance, with payments, with prescribing, with getting authorization,” Virk said on The Heartland Daily Podcast. “But we don’t have technology to do the one thing that is important, and that is to see our patients.”
Unlike conventional online telemedicine platforms, in which consumers can connect with a doctor they don’t know or may never see again, MediSprout is a system which connects physicians with their established patients. MediSprout charges consumers $4 for each virtual visit while there is no charge to physicians.
“People don’t have to travel, get in a car, sit in a waiting room, take time off from work,” Virk said.
The technology may allow physicians to see more patients on a daily basis.
“If you can see more patients in a day, you can help more people. And maybe we can make a dent in that idea that there is a doctor shortage,” Virk said.
One-third of the one billion medical office visits a year could be virtualized immediately, and 75 percent could be virtualized within a decade, Virk says.
Third party payers must also be on board, Virk says.
“Unfortunately, in health care, as medical providers, we’re the only sector that doesn’t control our own cost structure,” Virk said. “Without a predictable mechanism to be reimbursed for the service by insurance companies, it makes it hard for clinicians to adopt it.”
AnneMarie Schieber ([email protected]) is managing editor of Health Care News.