I pity the fool that does not bother to ask the question…
- How does this app work?
You must sign up as a provider and notify your patients of your availability to see them via Housecall. The patient can then make appointments with you through the scheduling portion of the app. A provider can also manage appointments through the web scheduling portal at http://www.iHeartDoc.com/Housecall. This web portal does not contain the video conferencing portion of the app, just the scheduling portion. It allows for your medical staff to help manage Housecall appointments much like any appointment is handled in your office.
- How do I bill for my services?
Housecall is covered by a growing list of private insurers but you must check with your local carrier as coverage varies widely from state to state. It is not currently covered through Medicare. Medicaid coverage varies from state to state as well. In situations where coverage is not provided you can bill the patient directly provided you notify them before providing the service. For Medicare patients you must have a signed Advance Beneficiary Notice prior to providing services to bill the patient directly for non-Medicare covered services. Credit card and insurance data is available through the app if the patient has filled out that data in their profile. No billing is done through the app. You must bill the insurance or credit card as you usually do.
- How do I document the visit? Is there an EMR in the app?
No EMR or documentation is done through the app. You use your existing EMR or dictate a note to document the visit just as you would during an in-office visit. The ability to archive the videoconference is not currently available but will be available in an upcoming version. The wellness and health data from Jawbone or Withings can be screen captured and printed if necessary.
- What health and wellness services are currently supported?
Withings is supported as well as Jawbone. Withings makes wireless scales as well as wired and wireless BP cuffs. Their Pulse activity monitor is not currently supported but we plan to support it in the future. Jawbone’s UP band is currently supported and provides exercise data, sleep data, and dietary data in graphic form. Any app on the patient’s iPhone can be captured via a screen shot and sent to the provider for review. This gives some support within the app for a wide variety of health uses and connected apps.
- What is the cost of the app for a provider?
The app services are free for the first 30 days for a patient or provider after initial app purchase. At 30 days, a provider must purchase addition time on the app to continue their use. Current cost is $9.99 per month via an in-app purchase. Discounts are available for longer range purchases up to a year of app time for $99.99 per year. Patient use is free.
- How do most providers use the app?
Most providers use the app in the same manner as a regular office appointment. The visit can be scheduled on an iPad or iPhone that can be used to conference with the patient privately in their office or an exam room. The provider can make notes in the EMR or chart during the visit. At the conclusion of the visit a nurse can arrange follow up visits via the app prior to the conclusion of the teleconference. Many providers have used the app for short visits after previous procedures or testing. It can also be used for rapid follow up of ill patients recently hospitalized to prevent readmission to the hospital.
- What kind of connection is required to use the app?
The app is capable of working on a cellular connection alone but the video quality can suffer from a noticeable lag with a poor non-4G signal. It does perform well on a reliable 4G cellular connection. For optimal quality, a good WiFi signal is preferable.