Skype… FaceTime… and MyUofMHealth?

November 18, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

For anyone who has communicated with a family member using FaceTime or connected with a friend or coworker through Skype, the idea of a video visit for health care makes sense. It’s personal, convenient and all you need is a smartphone or tablet to connect.

Michigan Medicine video visits are appointments scheduled between a patient and their health care provider which take place through a platform similar to FaceTime and Skype.

By connecting through the MyUofMHealth Patient Portal mobile app on their smartphone or tablet, a patient receives the same world-class Michigan Medicine care, but from the comfort and convenience of their home or office.

A growing program

Video visits began at Michigan Medicine in January 2016 as a pilot program, and over the past few years have grown into an expectation of care within a number of service lines. Several hundred providers spanning 28 specialties are now offering the service, with many more specialties expected to begin the service within the next year.

“Video visits are a natural extension of your practice and a convenient offering we can provide to our patients,” said Chad Ellimoottil, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of urology and video visit provider. “To a patient that might have to travel eight hours to see their provider for 15 minutes, the opportunity is invaluable.”

Video visits and where patients are when they carry them out.

In Fiscal Year 2019 alone, video visits saved Michigan Medicine patients nearly 157,000 miles of travel, for an average of 138 miles per visit. Not only does the option provide these patients with more time to focus on their health and wellness, but it opens appointments for patients who truly need to be seen at the clinic.

Increasing patient and provider satisfaction

In a 2019 patient satisfaction survey, more than 90 percent of respondents indicated that they would recommend video visits to others. Additionally, over 90 percent of respondents found the care they received via video visit to be similar to care they expect to receive at Michigan Medicine. Patients surveyed indicated that they chose a video visit largely because there was no travel, it saved time or was easier to fit into their schedules. As Amy Drayton, Ph.D., director of the Interdisciplinary Pediatric Feeding Program noted, “Video visits allow us to provide more patient- and family-centered care.”  

Providers have also found their experiences with video visits to be positive. Michigan Medicine’s Department of Surgery created an “eClinic,” utilizing video visits for post-operative patients requiring follow-up appointments.

Data from the eClinic suggests that video visits not only are a patient satisfier but they also optimize efficiencies for the health care system. In fact, using video visits reduced cycle time in the department from 45 to 14 minutes. As video visit utilization grows, it is anticipated that the efficiencies gained will allow for increased access while also providing care that is more convenient for patients.

“The whole experience of video visits is fantastic. It’s great for me, and it’s great for the patients,” said Michael Mulholland, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for clinical affairs and executive director of the U-M Medical Group. “It makes me more efficient and saves them a hassle. They love it, and I love it!” 

For more information on video visits, please visit the Virtual Care website here.

Make sure to check out the next article in the Virtual Care series, which highlights e-consults.