News Feature | March 17, 2015

UW Integrates Telemedicine Into Its Business Model

By Karla Paris


The health system-vendor partnership advances at UW, bringing virtual care to rural patients.

The University of Washington’s heath system has launched a virtual clinic that will be operated by UW’s partner, Carena, according to a story in the Seattle Times. The UW Medicine-Carena partnership gives patients access to health care for common ailments and relatively routine care, like mild dermatological issues or the flu, for $40 a visit via tablet, mobile, or computer. It will include prescriptions for some medications and visits can typically be conducted within a half hour of scheduling, Xconomy reports.

UW Medicine’s mission is to improve the health of the public by advancing medical knowledge, providing outstanding primary and specialty care to the people of the region, and preparing tomorrow’s physicians, scientists, and other health professionals.

UW Medicine owns or operates Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, Valley Medical Center, University of Washington Medical Center, a network of nine UW Neighborhood Clinics that provide primary care and secondary care, the physician practice UW Physicians, the UW School of Medicine, and Airlift Northwest. In addition, UW Medicine shares in the ownership and governance of Children’s University Medical Group and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, a partnership among UW Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Children’s.

UW’s hospitals, Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, Valley Medical, and UW Medical Center together have nearly 65,000 admissions and 1.6 million outpatient and emergency room visits each year.

Carena’s cloud-based platform and applications are the backbone behind the virtual clinic – connecting patients, providers, and administrators. The software can be branded and configured to integrate with virtually any existing operations.

The virtual clinic server software manages the patient and provider workflows and work queues. It also manages the flow of clinical and non-clinical data and service information between the virtual clinic and UW’s existing patient operations and systems. And it does all of this in compliance with HIPAA and other security protocols.

The virtual clinic server databases are loaded with the necessary operating data required to provide a seamless experience for UW’s patients and facilitate the delivery of care by the virtual clinic provider.

Carena’s Provider Software facilitates the interaction between the provider and the patient. Providers receive patient requests from the virtual clinic queue, which is configured to provide decision and treatment support according to a set of evidence-based Virtual Practice Guidelines. The software helps to streamline the documentation process, improve quality, and assist the provider in creating a positive and satisfying patient experience.

SOURCE: The Seattle Times