Serving the southern counties of Maine and some parts of New Hampshire, York Hospital is consistently looking for innovative ways to improve patient care. The latest addition to the small hospital is a virtual care platform. In development since 2004, the telehealth platform gives patients an alternative option for accessing care. From the comfort of their home, via video and audio, a patient can speak directly to a doctor.

Using SnapMD, the hospital configured its telehealth platform to allow patients to make an appointment, register, and check-in for $49. Once a patient meets with a doctor, if in-person care is recommended, no fee is charged. Ideal for treating minor ailments, the platform is not meant to prevent a patient from accessing physical care if necessary. If a patient is bleeding uncontrollably, experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath, etc., the patient will be immediately told to contact emergency medical treatment.

Set up in an exam room, the virtual platform has already been used over a dozen times. Throughout these visits, several issues were encountered. Determining which web browser works the best, helping a patient with audio or video issues, etc. were all experienced. Glitches, bugs, and other issues were continuously worked through and the platform was repeatedly improved.

Containing a keyboard, two video screens, instruments, reference guides, and a York Hospital banner, the exam room harboring the telehealth system was designed to look as familiar as possible. Accessible to anyone with an electronic device, with video and audio capabilities, virtual doctor visits are by appointment only. Administrators are working on making the platform available to businesses, campgrounds, and hotels during the summer tourist season.

One of many hospitals throughout the country adding telehealth services to their roster, York Hospital now offers the additional care option to all area residents and visitors. The exciting new platform paves the way for increased efficiently and more effective patient care. York Hospital hopes this small step forward will lead to other technology-based initiatives. Further modernization of the hospital will enhance, widen, and improve both patient access and care.