Online Program

An Innovative Virtual Reality Support System to Improve Access for Primary Care

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Charles Nahabedian, BSEE, MSEE, MBA, MEDEX Spot, Potomac, MD
Background: For chronic and episodic illnesses, VRSS can alleviate many of today's access challenges, including: wait times at doctors and ERs; after hour's access; excessive travel time/costs; and exposure to contagious diseases in wait areas. The access crisis is worsening as the demands for care are exceeding the number of primary care providers. Outpatient provider costs keep increasing. For rural areas, there are higher rates of age-adjusted mortality and chronic diseases.

Objective: To discuss the benefits of a telehealth design for VRSS that provides face-to-face quality care and improved chronic illness monitoring, that is cost effective for providers and patients, provides convenient, fast access to the healthcare system, and is a sustainable business model for all geographies.

Methods: A stratified random sample of 200 prospective patients aged 21 to 80 were given a 51 item questionnaire in northeast US, from September to December 2010. Over 50 healthcare executives aged 40 to 65 in east coast US were also given a 32 item questionnaire from February to May 2010. Also, interviews were held with telehealth professionals looking at healthcare trends and requirements, technologies, and streamlined processes for patients and providers.

Results: 130 (65%) prospects were comfortable with VRSS; 35 (70%) healthcare professionals perceived the value in patient self-service and qualified referrals; telecom experts recommended private satellite/fiber for quality rather than the Internet and cellular, connecting unmanned self-service cabins for vital signs with videophones linked to call centers at a hospital.

Conclusions: VRSS can be an adjunct to improve access to primary care for patients. With VRSS cabins nationwide, access is provided for patients, insurers, and employers at half the cost of manned clinics. With satellite connectivity, rural areas will also have convenient access. The VRSS is responsive to the Affordable Care Act which encourages interoperability and service to rural areas.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Explain the benefits of a virtual reality support system (VRSS) to improve access to primary care Explain why a realistic solution to cost effective healthcare requires a holistic approach Describe why an integrated telecom-computer approach is preferred over a segmented approach

Keyword(s): Health Care Access, Telehealth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have spent 4 years focused on solving healthcare access and over 40 years in the telecom-computer industry. I have also spent 8 years as an Adjunct Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in NJ
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
MEDEX Spot Market, medical and technology research Stock Ownership

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.