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Information About HeyDoctor for Policy Makers and Regulators

Written by Brendan Levy, MD on September 17th, 2019

Information About HeyDoctor for Policy Makers and Regulators

Hello and thanks for stopping by!

HeyDoctor was established in 2017 by Brendan Levy, a California-based primary care physician, to provide patients an affordable, safe, and convenient way to get primary care online. Dr. Brendan believes that augmenting the skill and knowledge of medical professionals with safe, secure and intelligent technology can enable all Americans to receive high-quality, evidence-based preventative medical care.

Visits with a medical professional through HeyDoctor work much like a typical in-person primary care visit, with the added benefit of ensuring that all relevant information is collected from the patient and a clear treatment plan is provided when necessary. Best of all, the results of these visits are used to continually improve these interactions for maximum patient benefit.

The typical visit conducted by a medical professional on HeyDoctor begins with the creation of a comprehensive picture of the patient, their medical history and their current ailment.

  • First, the patient is asked about their chief complaint and symptoms.
  • Then, the patient is asked to provide past relevant medical history, allergies, other medications and other questions relevant to that complaint.
  • When appropriate, the patient may be asked to provide specific data or test results, to the best of their knowledge.
  • Lastly, the patient is required to provide photo identification.

Once the patient’s information has been collected, a board-certified primary care medical physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant (depending on the state of the patient) will talk with the patient over secure messaging and/or telephone to help the patient understand the risks and benefits of different testing, treatment, and referral options. Lastly and only if necessary, an easy-to-understand treatment plan is provided to the patient.

Post visit, the patient has the ability to remain in contact with their medical professional or his/her peers for follow up questions or issues.

We know that telemedicine is an evolving area, and we’re also aware that not all telemedicine providers always adhere to best medical practices. We believe that our medical professionals provide quality medical care using technology available to virtually all Americans in a way that enhances both the patient and physician experience. We welcome the opportunity to share our mission with policy makers, regulators and the medical boards charged with ensuring access to safe and high quality health care.

Below are answers to some common questions we’ve received from regulators and policy makers. If we haven’t answered your question, please contact me with any inquiries.

HeyDoctor Medical Professionals

At HeyDoctor, all medical care is provided by independent physician-led medical groups that use our secure technology platform to connect with and treat patients. Patients are charged a visit fee per medical consultation and match each patient to a board certified clinician licensed in the patient’s state of residence.

All clinical decisions are made by a licensed medical professional exercising their independent medical judgment after reviewing a patient’s health needs and medical background.

HeyDoctor Medical Group was founded by Dr. Brendan Levy, a board certified family medicine doctor who trained at the University of Washington, the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and completed residency at Georgetown University and Providence Hospital.

Evidence Based Medical Care

All the services we provide are designed to adhere to the highest quality evidence based medical evidence and national guidelines (e.g. CDC MEC, JNC 8). We continually update our guidelines and information to incorporate advances in primary care.

Telemedicine offers a great opportunity to increase access to quality healthcare for all Americans. However, it is isn’t appropriate for every medical issue and in certain instances, an in person evaluation may be required. The services offered on HeyDoctor were selected by our medical teams, working with an advisory board of medical experts, to meet or exceed the standard of care for each type of service. As with any medical visit we only treat patients we can fully diagnose and treat. If appropriate, we order testing where it aids our diagnosis, and refer patients to seek in person care if they require further diagnosis, more urgent treatment, or a service that our physicians don’t provide.

All clinical decisions are documented in medical records for each visit and we encourage patients to update their in person primary care doctor and help them setup in-person primary care if they don’t have it.

HeyDoctor Does Not Own or Operate a Pharmacy

HeyDoctor does not own a pharmacy. We do not dispense medication, and our doctors are provided no incentive to do so. We operate like a traditional medical practice and charge patients for visits.

Direct Pay Only

We bill patients directly for professional services rendered. Today, we don’t currently accept or bill insurance, but we are evaluating the option to accept insurance in the future.

State Regulatory Guidance around Telemedicine

As state regulators and medical boards learn more about telemedicine and how it is being utilized, we expect that they may be understandably cautious. Although HeyDoctor is currently available for a limited set of primary care conditions in only 20 states, we’d like to bring our vision for an online doctor’s office to more Americans. We know the best way to achieve that vision is to enter into proactive conversations with regulators.

A core regulatory challenge for any medical organization looking to provide high quality healthcare via telemedicine is the ambiguity in some state regulations around telemedicine. Depending on the state, the laws may be subject to interpretation, may not address key issues around telemedicine, or lack clear guidance from the state medical board or regulators. It is in these circumstances where a thoughtful dialogue between regulators and medical boards on the one hand and telemedicine organizations on the other, would be most beneficial.

We’ve designed our technology platform to be adaptable to the requirements of any state, regardless of modality, so once clear expectations and requirements are set, the implementation to meet those guidelines can be done quickly.

That said, if you are a state medical board or regulator reading this, we encourage you to contact us at the email or phone number below to start the discussion. We want to learn more about the specific laws and guidelines in your state so that we can determine how we can provide your state’s residents with affordable, safe and convenient healthcare access.

Dr. Brendan Levy

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HeyDoctor, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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