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ConnectM: Patient-Centered Televisits

by Juan Andino, (MD/MBA Student)

The University of Michigan’s Urology Department is seeking to improve both the patient and provider experience by conducting low-complexity return visits through online video conferencing software.

Ann Arbor, MI New Practice

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About this project

The problem we solve:
The University of Michigan’s Urology Department is a tertiary referral center for the entire state of Michigan. Therefore, patients might travel from as far as Traverse City on the west coast and Alpena on the east coast, both four hours away from Ann Arbor, to seek clinical experts for conditions such as kidney stone disease, enlarged prostate, and urologic cancer. In addition to their travel, time is spent searching for parking and waiting in the clinic before seeing their providers, taking away from the clinical experience and resulting in time away from work and their families. This significant loss of time can make patients hesitant to engage closely with providers, breaking the continuity of care. Patients express a desire for an alternative way to engage with providers, while maintaining the face to face interactions they value. Due to the fee-for-service reimbursement climate, there has not been a wide-spread adoption of telemedicine visits.

About our solution:
ConnectM helps connect patients directly to their physicians using online video conferencing software for post-surgical visits that do not require a physical exam. It was selected based on an understanding of the 21st century patient population. According to the PEW center, 56% of patients have access to a computer and 53% of patients have smart phones that can be used to connect to the internet. This suggests that a majority of patients could engage with their providers through televisits. ConnectM is feasible solution because it is a substitution of a service already being provided, therefore it only requires minor modifications to fit into existing clinic processes. Due to the similarity of surgical clinics and low cost of the technology, this pilot could be easily scaled out to other specialties. Finally, ConnectM challenges the way return visits are currently carried out at a time when global payments for surgical visits help align the incentives of patients and physicians.
Progress to date: We started by gauging patient interest in Dr.Ellimoottil’s urology clinic at the University of Michigan. After these conversations, an interprofessional team was assembled, which included physician leaders in the Department of Urology as well as members of the clinic care team including Dr. Ellimoottil, a medical assistant, and a clinic manager. A minimum viable product has been designed, allowing providers to connect with patients through secure video conferencing. This was tested for the first time on February 2016 in Dr.Ellimoottil’s clinic, and a virtual clinic is now going through small scale piloting. After each virtual visit, feedback is collected in order to improve the experience for patients and providers. The next step for ConnectM will be to scale this out to other clinics in the Department of Urology and beyond. In the future, this could help grant patients, throughout the state and nationally, access to “second opinions” from University of Michigan experts.

About Our Team


Juan Andino, (MD/MBA Student)
Urology, Medical Student
Location: Michigan
Medical school: University of Michigan Medical School
Bio: Juan Andino is a MD/MBA student who is interested in the intersection of business and health services research and how these disciplines can be leveraged to improve the delivery of care. He has worked on a consulting project with the University of Michigan Health System focused on bridging the gap between the research and clinical missions of the health system, while learning from existing innovation groups in academic medical centers. He will be applying to Urology residency programs this fall.
Hospital Affiliation: University of Michigan Health System
Title: ConnectM Student Proponent
Twitter: @JJA1108
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juanandino

About Team Members

Chad Ellimoottil
ConnectM Physician Champion, M.D., M.S.
Biography: Dr. Ellimoottil completed medical school and urology residency at Loyola University Medical Center. He completed a master’s degree in Health and Healthcare Research at the University of Michigan. He is currently a physician at the University of Michigan and a postdoctoral fellow in the Dow Division of Health Services Research. Dr. Ellimoottil’s research agenda is focused on evaluating alternative payment models, and he is interested in telemedicine and its role in improving patient care.
Twitter: @chadellimoottil

About Our Company


ConnectM
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Product stage: proto
Sales: Working on it
Employees: 5-10

How We Help Patients

ConnectM will change the way care is delivered and help patients live longer, healthier lives in several ways. First, it will encourage continuity of care between patients and their urologists, those who best understand the intervention performed and how the patient must be managed, while reducing the burden of travel for patients. Furthermore, this innovation has the potential to provide patients with direct access to world-class specialists in a convenient and patient-centered way. This focus on the patient is key in developing this project, as the virtual visits are created for patients and by patients based on the ongoing collection of feedback. Finally, this project will help engage important members of patients’ care teams. Televisits will allow patients’ family members, perhaps even their local primary care physician, to be involved in their post-surgical visits in a suitable and efficient way.

How We Help Physicians

ConnectM will change how post-surgical care is delivered allowing for physicians to improve their practice in numerous ways. Primarily, this innovative way of completing visits will allow for continued engagement with highly satisfied patients. Our pilots have shown that patients are immensely grateful for the convenience of televisits. The resulting gratitude is one of the greatest rewards achieved in practicing medicine. Additionally, this innovation will unequivocally improve clinic efficiency. Televisits reduce inefficient time spent with the patient while preserving the time that is spent directly on patient care. Lastly, these online interactions will improve access for new patients by reducing the number of lengthy return visits that do not require a physical exam. Reducing these visits will increase the throughput of new patient, ensuring that a greater number of patients have access to timely, appropriate care.

Challenge Mission

Mission: ConnectM will improve access to timely Urologic care and focus the post-surgical experience around the patient’s needs, with the potential to be scaled nationally.
Use of funds: This project is expected to require $135,000 in order to move from a minimal viable product to building a model that can be implemented across the University of Michigan Department of Urology clinics. The innovation challenge prizes will primarily help cover the costs of the hardware, office space, and supplies required to scale the use of the video conferencing software in additional clinics. Any remaining funds will be used to compensate work-study students to help push this project forward and bring ConnectM to life.
Intellectual Property Status: We do not have an intellectual project portfolio as this project involves using a commercial video conferencing service, not affiliated with the University of Michigan, with its own existing patents and IP protection.
FDA Status: While the FDA provides guidance on the necessary cybersecurity for medical devices and mobile medical apps, this project does not fall under these categories and does not require FDA approval for its implementation.
Personal Message: With the coming shift towards value-based reimbursement, it is up to physicians and patients to work together to challenge the status quo and change the way care is delivered. The right patient, at the right place, at the right time means that sometimes patients don’t have to be burdened by coming into the clinic at all. Help us implement ConnectM at the University of Michigan where this project can be tested, and the results disseminated, so that others can learn from our experience.

Supporters

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    05/11/2016 Hannah Cottrell - Private

    Liked the project.

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    05/11/2016 Shubhangi Arora - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/11/2016 Shubhangi Arora - Medical Student

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/11/2016 Margaret Galva - Other

    Liked the project.

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    05/11/2016 LINDSEY GAKENHEIMER - Resident

    Liked the project.

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    05/11/2016 Rene Andino - Other

    Liked the project.

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    05/11/2016 Shubhangi Arora - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/10/2016 Mary Hall - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/10/2016 Juan Andino - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/10/2016 Juan Andino - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/10/2016 Anjali Saripalli - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

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    05/10/2016 Mary Hall - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/10/2016 Mary Hall - Medical Student

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/10/2016 Melissa Knight - Resident

    Liked the project.

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    05/10/2016 Anjali Saripalli - Medical Student

    Followed the project.

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    05/10/2016 Anjali Saripalli - Medical Student

    Interested in trying the project.

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    05/10/2016 Nikita Jambulingam - Medical Student

    Liked the project.

10

likes

4

Follows

0

Pilots

0

Partners

37

Interest
Score

3

Adoption
Score


Juan Andino, (MD/MBA Student)
Medical Student
ConnectM Student Proponent
University of Michigan Medical School

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