When the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading in Arizona, United Telehealth Corporation (UTC) was in a unique position to help. A sister company of Scottsdale Physicians Group (SPG), which has been providing physician services in hospitals and post-acute facilities for the past 18 years, it was founded to provide a higher level of care outside of the hospital that patients were not receiving otherwise due to their complex chronic conditions and/or functional limitations. And they were providing that service in a unique way.
UTC’s innovative model involves sending a medical technician to a patient’s home—or wherever they may be—with a specially designed mobile office and then video-conferencing in a physician.
“Going far beyond traditional app or computer-based videoconferencing, UTC sends a highly-trained medical technician with a military-grade Transportable Exam Station (TES) to each and every patient,” explains Dr. Nima Ghadimi, president of UTC and SPG. “The technician then becomes the remote physician’s hands, collecting vitals, using an HD exam camera and digital stethoscope, and even a 12 lead EKG. The TES is completely self-contained including onboard power and internet connectivity.”
Founded by Dr. Nima Ghadimi, UTC (UnitedTelehealthCorp.com) works with a variety of conditions and circumstances, including medical issues, behavioral health needs, chronic conditions, wounds, medication reconciliation, and social determinates of health.
UTC’s goal is always to deliver high-quality medical care, increase the health status of its patients, and lower the hospital readmit rate for those who have been discharged from a hospital (when a patient returns to the hospital within 30 days), and during the COVID-19 pandemic its goal is to also provide healthcare for both those who need regular medical care as well as those who suspect they may have COVID-19 without exposing anyone to unneeded virus exposure.
“By bringing the care to the patient, especially those with complex chronic conditions, we can ensure patients are getting desperately needed care, when they need it, wherever they are,” Soza explains. “We eliminate transportation, functional limitations, and other barriers that a patient might face. Since we can also see the patient on a more frequent basis, we can rapidly improve the patient’s health status. For patients that do not have chronic conditions, we can typically schedule a visit much faster than a traditional physician office, yet provide the same if not better diagnostic and treatment services, without the hassle and exposure possibility of going to a physician’s office.
“UTC’s care model drastically reduces the possibility of exposure for both the patient and others that might be exposed as patients seek care outside of their home,” she continues. “In addition, our technology-enabled solution allows for a much deeper medical exam than traditional video-conferencing telemedicine. This gives health systems much needed capacity back, as many of our patients would end up in the emergency room otherwise. In the COVID-19 pandemic, or goal is to provide the right care at the right time at the right place, limiting exposure.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, UTC has seen a dramatic increase in the number of patients it sees daily.
“This increase is partially driven by health plans who want to make sure their members are getting the care they need without exposing them or other others to the virus. In addition, UTC has seen enormous demand directly from patients, looking for care alternatives to reduce exposure. UTC is in lockstep with the CDC and other guidelines regarding COVID-19 testing and we continue to test patients based on those guidelines.”