Health care provider Fairview Health Services and online health care innovator Zipnosis have launched the nation’s first virtual protocol to prevent chronic conditions. This new approach to virtual care enables remote diagnosis of chronic conditions, connects the online experience with trusted physicians, and coordinates interventions when clinically appropriate.
This first-of-its-kind, clinician-driven online health risk assessment screens for diabetes and cardiac disease, and is believed to be the first such solution to incorporate expedited laboratory access and customized patient education. Co-developed by Zipnosis and Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services, this innovative approach to chronic care screening and diagnosis is now being offered to Fairview employees. It’s given the companies the ability to test the new offering while also providing these employees with a convenient way to determine whether they have, or are at risk for, diabetes or cardiac conditions – without needing to schedule an office visit for a screening.
Fairview plans to eventually roll out the program to its patients and residents across the state of Minnesota.
Early interventions for diabetes, heart disease and other chronic care conditions can slow disease progression, but only if patients and providers know there’s an issue. Of the 29.1 million Americans with diabetes, 8.1 million are undiagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, high cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease often go undetected in people who fail to undergo regular primary care check-ups. This new approach to chronic care screening and diagnosis is designed to help close the diagnosis gap conveniently and economically.
“We expect this service will make it possible for our providers to diagnose chronic conditions sooner and to recommend immediate interventions if a problem is found,” said Dang Tran, MD, Vice President of Medical Practice for Fairview Medical Group. “Americans are accustomed to conducting commerce online, and we believe many would love to have the same degree of access and service for meeting their health care needs. This new approach makes it much easier to get a diagnosis for chronic diseases that are among the most prevalent and the most expensive to treat.”
The Patient Experience
With the new solution, patients are able to use their iOS or Android smartphones, computers or other web-enabled devices to complete a short online adaptive interview anywhere, anytime, 24/7. The interview guides patients through a series of questions that adjust to their answers based on established, evidence-based medicine guidelines. If lab tests are needed, patients are provided with a ZipTicket boarding pass, which enables instant referrals to laboratory testing at nearby lab locations, leveraging trusted health system providers.
Once the lab results are available—24 to 48 hours following testing—a board-certified provider employed by Fairview reviews the findings in combination with the interview results and makes a recommendation. Patients receive a summary of the findings via email, along with customized educational material to empower adherence to the recommended plan.
If patients are diagnosed with a chronic condition through a virtual visit and related diagnostic testing, they will need to follow up with their primary care provider or a specialist for ongoing care and medication management. Urgent cases will be routed directly to the appropriate care setting based on clinical findings.
“In the future, when the program is more widely offered, if patients don’t have a primary care physician, this is an excellent opportunity for us to work with them to establish a medical home,” Dr. Tran explained.