CarePortMD ramps up telemedicine access
By placing urgent care clinics inside grocery stores and offering telemedicine options, Ashok Subramanian, CEO of CarePortMD, wanted to make it easier for people to get connected to the health care system.
The idea responded to a noticeable lack in accessibility and overcrowding emergency rooms. He could not have predicted that there would suddenly be a high demand for this type of service.
“The access problem has become exponentially worse,” Subramanian said. “Telemedicine had been growing and was expected to take five to seven years to really become mainstream, and then it was thrust on every doctor out there that needed to maintain connections with their patients.”
CarePortMD is a growing platform that helps patients connect with their primary physicians or a specialist. It does this in two ways. Patients can go to clinics inside grocery stores in Wilmington, Newark, Dover and Avondale, Pennsylvania, where they can get diagnostic exams and testing. Or they can talk to a clinician directly through their smartphone, computer or tablet.
Any doctor in Delaware can subscribe to take advantage of these resources. The Medical Society of Delaware has endorsed CarePortMD and partnered with the platform to make subscriptions possible.
Here’s how it works: A patient isn’t feeling well, but it’s after their primary physician’s normal hours. If the patient’s doctor is a subscriber, the doctor can either connect with the patient through its online platform or direct the patient to a nearby clinic.
At the clinic, a CarePortMD clinician will coordinate everything and set up a video conference. With the clinic’s technology, the doctor can check the patient’s vitals, review any blood tests or exams and provide next steps, all while at home.
“We are expanding the range of possibilities for clinicians and patients to react as they should,” Subramanian said.
In another response to the pandemic, CarePortMD has technology patients can take home. With a monthly subscription, often covered by insurance, the equipment monitors heart rate, lung function and other vital signs.
Subramanian compared it to a smoke alarm or security system, but for health. If something is off, the system will alert CarePortMD. Staff will determine the next step.
This is especially helpful now when people are nervous to go to doctors’ offices or emergency rooms, he said. “People are not getting the care that they should be. [They’re] allowing the illness to progress to points so they have [worse] effects and more expensive effects.”
Subramanian is hopeful that the greater focus on telemedicine will have a lasting, positive effect. “To look at the silver lining, it has really advanced access and care opportunities for patients beyond what would have happened in COVID-19’s absence,” he said.
All CarePortMD clinics are temporarily appointment-only, but patients can schedule or learn more on the website www.careportmd.com.