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Penn State Health OnDemand upgrades improve patient outcomes, physician workflow

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As an obesity medicine physician, Dr. Taraneh Soleymani with Penn State Health Medical Group – Middletown takes special care with her patients, many of whom are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to their weight. That’s why she conducts 70% – 100% of her patient visits virtually.

Thanks to a recent upgrade to the Penn State Health OnDemand App from Amwell, the telemedicine company that supports the app, Soleymani can now enhance the quality of virtual visits for patients.

The app’s new functionality, which rolled out on March 16, allows patients and providers to include other necessary people—such as residents, medical students or medical interpreters—on a call as needed. It also allows Soleymani and other Penn State Health physicians to share their screen during appointments.

“It’s one thing for me to tell a patient what they need to do, but it’s another thing to show them,” Soleymani said. “By sharing my screen, I can show patients their blood sugar or cholesterol levels, educate them on their anti-obesity medication dosing and titration, or show them a list of healthy food items. It makes a huge difference.”

The software upgrade allows providers to either share their entire screen, an individual application or a web browser tab. In addition, an enhanced grid view allows for three or more individuals to participate in a virtual visit. Another new function beneficial to providers: The diagnosis code is included as part of the wrap-up of an OnDemand virtual visit, saving providers the extra step.

“All these changes help us spend our time more effectively with patients,” said Soleymani, who also serves as a Penn State Health OnDemand medical director.

Since the app launched in 2018, more than 127,000 patients have enrolled, and nearly 100,000 patient visits in primary care, urgent care and select specialties have taken place. In addition, the app’s Vaccine Advisor, launched earlier this year, allows community members to get their COVID-19 vaccine questions answered by experts virtually from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Soleymani has used the app almost exclusively for new patient visits since joining Penn State Health in January 2020, and she’s seen the benefits time and again. “Obesity medicine physicians like me need to follow up with patients frequently to deliver intense lifestyle intervention,” she says. “Delivering this intervention via telehealth means patients don’t need to find child care, put gas in their car or travel to their appointments for every visit. It saves both time and money.”

Learn more about Penn State Health OnDemand.

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