Epic launches new telehealth service with Twilio

The tool will enable healthcare professionals to launch video visits while also updating clinical documentation and reviewing patient histories in the EHR workflow.
By Nathan Eddy
01:06 PM

Epic Systems has tapped San Francisco-based communications tech company Twilio to provide the video-communication backend for Epic’s new telehealth platform.

Based on Twilio’s Programmable Video API, the service will give healthcare professionals the ability to launch video visits with patients and to update clinical documentation and review patient histories within Epic EHR workflows.

Twilio also noted that it supports HIPAA-eligible workflows on Twilio SMS, voice, SIP and video-communication channels. Kaiser Permanente already uses the company to optimize patient communications.

Healthcare providers and tech leaders alike are investing heavily in telehealth solutions as a means of keeping patients and caregivers safe while still providing essential services during the pandemic.

The FCC recently doled out $3.7 million more to aid COVID-19 telehealth deployment as part of its $200 million aid program for qualifying providers. The technology could also help primary care practices avoid closure as business slows.

Nearly half of physicians are now using telehealth technology, up from just 18% in 2018, according to a nationwide survey of 842 physicians conducted by physician search firm Merritt Hawkins.

Epic has been also encouraging organizations to share COVID-19 data, like travel-screening documentation and infection-status information, through the company’s interoperability network, Care Everywhere.

Back in March, Epic launched a mobile app designed for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic who might not have immediate access to an EHR. It was designed in collaboration with the nonprofit health technology organization OCHIN.

The EHR specialist has also been moving to help with the establishment of physical healthcare facilities, working with University Hospital of New Jersey to open a pop-up care center in the former Meadowlands Exposition Center.

In addition to the health center, Epic and University Hospital worked together to develop a system to register, admit and discharge patients that provides a level of interoperability that allows for other healthcare organizations to bring patient data to the new facility.

"Video visits are an important way health care providers connect with their patients, so we designed a solution that can be rapidly deployed and easily used," said Taylor Seale, director of video visit development at Epic, in a statement.

"Epic built and scaled its telehealth video client at unprecedented speed to meet provider and patient demand as healthcare systems not only struggled to curb the spread of the virus but continued to deliver necessary care through the COVID-19 pandemic," added Susan Collins, global head of healthcare services at Twilio. "That’s the power of digital engagement, software agility and cloud scale."

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com
Twitter: @dropdeaded209

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