by Cassidy Trowbridge,(Repost)
A Scottsdale company is trying to make it easier for patients to follow up with their physicians without having to leave home.
The product developed by iTel Companies, Inc. enables physicians to use video chats instead of office visits to share needed information. The company is part of the growing telemedical field, in which telecommunication is used to perform clinical health care.
Dr. Eric Greenman, founding member of iTel, said his personal experience helped him create a product physicians could use to improve their services.
“iTel helps me maintain continuity of care with my patients,” he said.
He said iTel was made to enhance the physician-patient relationship over distances.
One example Greenman gave involved a patient who was traveling to California. The patient was able to video-call him through iTel for a session while he was away.
Greenman also recounted an experience with a patient who lost multiple limbs and was able to have a follow-up session with him through iTel despite travel limitations.
Physicians and patients can access iTel’s software from a computer, mobile phone or tablet across iOS and Android devices. Through software using a secure server, patients can video-chat and message with physicians. Additionally, physicians can issue billing and scheduling information through iTel.
The server is HIPAA-compliant and Health Information Trust Alliance certified, meaning sensitive medical records and video recordings are stored in a secure location.
The company’s purpose is not to substitute the human-to-human interaction between doctors and patients, but to help maintain the relationship between the two.
“We’re not looking to become a doc-in-a-box solution,” Greenman said.
Currently, iTel’s biggest challenge is treating patients across state lines. No two states have the same laws concerning telehealth services, according to the Center for Connected Health Policy. But the organization recognizes 32 states that have passed telehealth-related legislation.
Greenman is optimistic.
“I don’t think the law anticipated people traveling,” he said. “I think in five years you will see state boundaries dissolving when it comes to (telehealth).”
Greenman said the company is focused on small medical practices.
“We currently have four clients using iTel routinely and about 80 other clients using iTel services,” said CEO Ron Richard.
The company has raised more than $1 million, mostly from friends and family, according to Richard. The company was also a semifinalist in the latest Arizona Commerce Authority Innovation Challenge.
While it was competing in the challenge, the company continued to speak with angel investors in the health care sector, offering the Arizona Angel Investor tax credit to potential investors, company officials said.