May 01, 2015

Why Telehealth is a Safe Health Care Option

Guest Post By Dr. Henry DePhillips, Chief Medical Officer

I’m asked regularly about how safe telehealth really is. I’m a board-certified family doc and I’ve practiced family and community medicine for 10 years. I’m passionate about improving the quality of health care using technology. I don’t hesitate to recommend telehealth to any patient with a non-emergent medical issue.

At Teladoc, I’m responsible for the overall delivery of high quality clinical care, and this gives me a unique perspective.

When a member calls Teladoc, they’re quickly connected with a board-certified physician. However, they probably never realize the extensive work that goes on behind the scenes to continually improve the safety and quality of our care.

  • Every telemedicine patient must provide a complete personal health record, often times supported by the medical history provided by their health plan. We require all Teladoc physicians to review the medical history and any clinical notes before they speak to a patient.

  • Our doctors ask a full complement of questions to make a diagnosis and recommend next steps. They also utilize our proprietary, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for more than 100 diagnoses that represent the vast majority of common medical issues we treat.

  • We treat only common, uncomplicated medical problems, where the likelihood of post treatment complications is vanishingly small. Teladoc provides the medical liability coverage for all of its physicians nationwide. After performing 750,000 consultations over the past 12 years, there has never been a liability claim in the history of the company.

  • Our physician credentialing process ensures we maintain a consistently outstanding cadre of physicians. Our doctors are selected and credentialed based solely on demonstrated experience and expertise in their respective field. We have the highest credentialing standards in the industry and are the only company to achieve National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Certification for its credentialing program.

  • Our doctors cannot prescribe DEA controlled substances, psychoactive drugs or lifestyle drugs.

  •  We also have a rigorous quality assurance oversight program where 10 percent of all physician consults are reviewed by a peer review committee, with individual physician monitoring and intervention where appropriate. Further, all patients are formally surveyed following consultation and any dissatisfaction is immediately investigated.

In short, I’m confident that Teladoc’s medical care is a safe, effective and convenient option for our patients.