Do Telehealth

The FRPHC has an option to bring its easy-to-access, comprehensive care right to member

NJSPBA members who have come to the First Responder Partnership Health Center (FRPHC) now open in Hamilton Township have marveled at its values and virtues. They are talking about the accessible and confidential mental healthcare, the on-site physical therapy and chiropractic care, the on-site pharmacy and the many other attributes that facilitate the no-waiting, get-well-soon approach that sets the FRPHC above and beyond.

And there are those who say it sounds phenomenal. If only it wasn’t so many miles away. And then there’s that New Jersey traffic thing.

Make no mistake, it’s more than worth the trip to the FRPHC. But if members can’t come to the FRPHC, well, there’s a way to bring it to you.

The FRPHC’s telehealth care option has become another virtuous and valuable option to pursue healthy minds and bodies for all those who protect and serve. Connections available through an app, video and even text messaging are making the FRPHC’s ease of access to care and treatment even easier.

“We find that 90 percent of medicine is diagnosed by medical history,” reports Dr. Domingo Aviado, a medical director for Integrity Health which owns the FRPHC. “It depends a lot on what the patient is saying and complaining of. The physical exam is important to confirm diagnosis, but we can see a lot with the way phones are so high resolution. So technology-wise, it’s very easy and seamless.”

Dr. Aviado, who is board certified in family medicine, is also the company’s chief medical informatics officer. The fact that there is a chief medical informatics officer perhaps accentuates just how prolific telehealth can be.

Like the concept that has led to the FRPHC, they have telehealth down to a science so it’s more than just a virtue for patients who don’t like coming to the doctor. A sore throat or a rash can be viewed. Even blood-pressure checks can be done via televisits, and first responders who might need more interactions with the doctor can facilitate those through the FRPHC telehealth option.

“Injuries can be evaluated, like whether somebody might need an X-ray,” Dr. Aviado details. “We do what we do in the physical exam: Can you move it this way or that way? Can you stand on it? And if it needs to be X-rayed, then the patient comes in for the X-ray and doesn’t need to get tied up with anyone else.”

The FRPHC also has been using telehealth to bring behavioral health to more and more members, fulfilling one of the most demanded healthcare requests from law enforcement officers. Imagine just how much mental healthcare you can get if you don’t need to leave your home?

And telehealth makes it much easier to keep an appointment. Or make you less likely to cancel.

If you don’t have the FRPHC app, the center will send you a link to access it. And there’s no paperwork. Answer a screening question, and a staff member will follow up to get pertinent information and schedule the appointment. A text notification puts you in a waiting room, and then go on with your business – or just read a magazine – until the doctor comes on.

Telehealth can also facilitate sending documents back and forth. So really, it’s a viable way to alleviate the pain in the butt of healthcare to enable focusing on what’s causing the real pain.

“Sometimes, we can break it up into small snippets rather than one physical when they have to come in,” Dr. Aviado adds. “Everything moves much more efficiently. We can reach out to the patient on more intervals that enhance interaction and compliance and things like that.”

An additional interaction could be to follow up on a test or the status of an injury. The telehealth video can also offer a more personal level than a phone call. The doctor might be able to read the patient’s body language to ascertain an uncomfortable feeling about discussing complicated test results. Or that the pain might be worse than the patient is letting on.

Prescriptions, of course, can be easily administered following a telehealth visit. And there is also access to staff members beyond the doctor, which is a core principle of the FRPHC to begin with.

But wait, it gets better. When family members wind up getting that cold or the flu, well, telehealth can be the answer. And since the FRPHC is there to offer family members the same ease of access as members, that’s really when you need the center to come to you.

Now, nothing is as healthful as coming to the FRPHC. The one-stop exam, diagnosis and treatment that comes with being there is second to none. Telehealth just elevates that to another level.

“Having access to your physician is actually sometimes more relaxing for the patient,” notes Judy Lagana, the chief clinical officer for Integrity Health. “And it gives you that direct contact with the physician. He’s right there. He’s paying attention to you.”

And isn’t that exactly what members want from the FRPHC?