Telecommunications giant Verizon has etched its name into the ever-growing list of virtual care platform developers with this week’s announcement of BlueJeans Telehealth.
The telehealth offering was built from the ground up with collaboration from an advisory board of health system clinicians, creating a platform designed with the needs of providers in mind, Verizon said in the announcement.
The developers worked to create a telehealth solution that meets two key concerns providers and patients have in the age of virtual care: ease of use and security.
BlueJeans Telehealth can be deployed on any connected device or through the accompanying app. It runs with Dolby Voice Audio to ensure an uninterrupted visit and will be available in more than 200 languages, including sign language, in addition to transcription and closed captioning services.
When patients log in for their appointment, they will be prompted with a pre-visit medical condition survey and educational onboarding materials to prep them for the visit.
On the provider side, the platform automatically shares data and information from visits into their electronic health record workflow. BlueJeans Telehealth also works to simplify reimbursement by licensing on a per-visit model, which allows for straightforward data capture and reporting, Verizon said.
The platform has a commitment to privacy and security and, as such, includes access controls, encryption, privacy checks, locked meetings, fraud detection and moderator controls. Additionally, Verizon said it will sign HIPAA business associate agreements with its customers that address regulatory requirements regarding privacy and security.
Patients and providers will be able to use BlueJeans Telehealth in May, according to the announcement.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The expanded use of telehealth has been one of the most reported-on narratives of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s no wonder Verizon is hopping on the virtual care bandwagon.
During the beginning stages of the pandemic last March, telehealth visits increased 154% compared with the same period in 2019, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With its rapid growth, telehealth has morphed from a niche segment of healthcare into a service option that could turn $250 billion of U.S. healthcare spend into virtual care, according to McKinsey & Company.
THE LARGER TREND
Verizon acquired BlueJeans last May with the hopes of combining its telecommunication expertise with BlueJeans’ video conferencing capabilities to grow its digital communications pipeline.
Verizon had previously dipped its toes into telehealth back in 2014, but the venture was short-lived, and less than a year after it launched Verizon pulled back both its patient-to-provider Virtual Visits product and its FDA-cleared telehealth hub software.
The company now joins veterans in the virtual care space such as Amwell, which reported 65% revenue growth in 2020; Doctor on Demand, which recently announced its plans to merge with clinical navigation platform Grand Rounds; and MDLive, which is being acquired by Cigna's health services subsidiary Evernorth.
ON THE RECORD
“While the use of telemedicine has been steadily growing for some time now, the pandemic has accelerated telehealth adoption and changed the conversation around what patient care will look like moving forward,” Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, said in a statement.
“We worked closely with an advisory board of health system clinicians and healthcare decision-makers to build BlueJeans Telehealth specifically to address the most pressing needs for a virtual-first telehealth offering – from ease of experience to enhanced security. Today’s launch is just the beginning for Verizon in what we see as the future of telehealth, especially when you consider the innovation that will come from 5G mobility, broadband and cloud capabilities.”