Telemedicine app helps screen potentially positive COVID-19 patients

Posted at 6:48 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 01:51:34-04

The screening process for some who think they may have COVID-19 is getting easier and safer and may be able to take place from the comfort of your home.

"If it deems they are sick enough it will send a message to a person that will then contact them to say, 'What is going on? What are your symptoms? Do we need to do more?,'" said Dr. Kevin Parzych, Wilshire Health and Community Services Chief Medical Director.

Wilshire Health and Community Services has utilized Connected Home Living's telemedicine services for years, but recently, they implemented a new app that will walk a patient through a set of questions to determine if they are at a low to high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

"Depending on which basket you're sitting in will then prompt the system to move you to the next level of potentially being contacted to say, 'You got something going on. Stay there. Don't freak out, but let's get more information,' and then we will contact you with a real person to talk to," Dr. Parzych said.

Dr. Parzych says the app was created in an effort to help prevent emergency rooms and physicians from being inundated with patients, as well to limit exposure.

Those at Wilshire said they are the only home care providers on the Central Coast currently offering the triage service, but they are working to get the service out to other providers, physicians, and hospitals in the community.

"Right now it is not about us being the only one. It is about us working together to make sure our community is better and that we can take care of our patients and people in our community," said Tricia Smith, President and CEO of Wilshire Health and Community Services.

Smith said that these smart online screening tools are another way to mitigate the fear associated with the pandemic and help others not feel so alone.

"We are being innovative. We are trying to work smarter, not harder, and really trying to diminish some of the chaos and fear and remember the basics of good care and trying to take care of our patients and staff," Smith said.

Wilshire hopes to make the service free, but since the app is not completely automated and does require staffing, Wilshire is still determining if a fee will be associated with the app to make it fully functional.