Kate Fischer is director of the Free Health & Healing Clinic at the Open Door Mission in Omaha, NE. The clinic implemented telemedicine services from Omaha-based DocOn, and now sees 200 patients a week via the virtual service.
What prompted the mission to look into adopting telemedicine technology?
DocOn came to us wanting to partner with us on a trial basis. The company has issued us vouchers so that our guests can use their services for free. When we do not have a medical provider on duty, the nurse can call DocOn to meet the needs of our guests.
What physicians is the mission partnering with for its telemedicine services?
DocOn provides physicians through its service. The type of physician that seems to be drawn to providing telemedicine service is entrepreneurial and constantly looking for innovative ways to reach and keep in touch with his patients.
Why did you choose to participate in a trial run with DocOn rather than working with another vendor?
The idea was instantly accepted by our guests and is now used weekly in our clinic. DocOn founder Christy Armendariz comes twice a week and helps our volunteer nurses navigate through the system. It is quite simple to use and the nurses find it very efficient for our clientele. I have recommended it to others.
How receptive have mission residents/patients been to it?
They love it! Calling for a doctor’s appointment can be a two- to three-week wait. Calling DocOn in the clinic with the nurse present gets a quicker response to their need. Many guests come to us from being incarcerated, with health issues like high blood pressure but with no medications. Our nurse can call DocOn, the patient then registers, and the doctor comes on and visits with the guest and calls in the script to a nearby pharmacy. Medication is then picked up and started the same day. Providers can prescribe medications when medically necessary, but cannot prescribe any restricted medications via video.
Does the mission anticipate expanding its telemedicine services in the near future? How so?
Yes! DocOn has benefitted so many of our guests we are planning to obtain more vouchers to expand services.