HealthTap launched the first of its kind training and certification program in Virtual Care, which — according to the company — constitutes more than just “telemedicine” or providing care remotely over video or the telephone.
HealthTap’s newly released online and mobile educational course is designed to train and certify doctors in skills and capabilities of the new discipline of Virtual Care. This moves is necessary, HealthTap believes, as most medical schools, hospitals, clinics, and private practices still lack up-to-date training and certification programs on the best methods for delivering care remotely.
Last year, more than 200 million people used Virtual Care services, and Dr. Robert Pearl, executive director and CEO of the Permanente Medical Group recently stated that Kaiser Permanente expects to deliver a greater number of virtual visits than office visits by 2018. As adoption of Virtual Care accelerates, it is essential for both patients and doctors that best practices are established, learned and adopted by doctors everywhere.
Virtual Care relies on smartphones, personal computers, and wearables, as well as data and advanced logic to deliver higher quality, more efficient, and safer medical care. It also empowers people to improve their own health and well being. The adoption of Virtual Care by both doctors and consumers is growing rapidly and is an increasingly important part of the continuum of care, helping doctors assess and triage patient needs remotely, provide care appropriately, and refer patients to in-person visits as needed.
“Offering benefits far beyond telemedicine, Virtual Care gives people access to trusted information created by doctors, such as personalized tips and answers to health questions,” Dr. Raj Goyal, Director of Physician Education and Medical Affairs at HealthTap, said in a statement. “Virtual Care also provides ubiquitous useful data and tools like automated reminders and health checklists that are available right from patients’ and doctors’ mobile devices and computers 24/7.”
HealthTap’s network includes more than 100,000 U.S.-licensed doctors who span 141 specialties and subspecialties. With the new Virtual Care Certification and Course HealthTap is now sharing what it has learned about all aspects of delivering care virtually, including legal, technological, and behavioral, establishing best practices for doctors everywhere.
The program is completely free, independently developed and non-commercial.The program is completely free, independently developed and non-commercial. It provides doctors who successfully complete the course with official Category 1 Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit (required to maintain their licenses), as well as a certification verifying training in Virtual Care. The course is lead by doctors who have also taught in medical schools like Stanford and Harvard. Beyond introducing Virtual Care to doctors, it also provides advanced-level training, complete with practice hour requirements, certifying that the doctors have real-world experience delivering Virtual Care.
“Thousands of doctors from all over the world have been continuously asking questions about Virtual Care delivery, and we believe it is our responsibility to develop this new discipline of medicine, and share what we’ve learned using the knowledge we’ve gained in the past 6 years with hundreds of thousands of doctors serving hundreds of millions of people virtually,” Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge, Chief Medical Officer at HealthTap, and former faculty at Harvard and Stanford University, said in a statement.
The HealthTap Virtual Care Course and Certification helps doctors understand which medical situations can be handled through virtual rather than in-person care. The program also provides instruction how to deliver high-quality Virtual Care quickly and compassionately.