Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Telemedicine Advances for Patient Care During COVID-19

Telemedicine Advances for Patient Care During COVID-19

telemedicine at texas tech physicians

In 2019, Texas Tech Physicians performed nearly 550 telemedicine encounters for the year. Over the past 12 weeks, TTP has performed 500-600 telemedicine encounters per week. Telemedicine encounters began increasing in the spring as the COVID-19 pandemic forced TTUHSC to operate on a very limited basis. Patients needed the ability to communicate with their providers in an easy, yet secure manner, all while being distant from our clinics. To meet this need, multiple telemedicine initiatives were launched, beginning with Zoom.

Zoom became one of the most popular online communication platforms when people all over the world began their transitions to work-from-home. Zoom is the preferred online meeting platform at TTUHSC, so naturally, this free and TTUHSC IT secured platform became a quick and effective solution to the need for telemedicine visits with our patients.

In addition to Zoom, virtual visit provider QliqSOFT, was introduced to our patient population. QliqSOFT is a virtual visit tool that does not require an app download. A link is sent to the patient and accessible through email or text. After clicking the link, the patient is able to go straight into their visit with their TTP provider using their phone, tablet, or computer. QliqSOFT also gives clinic staff the ability to send documentation to patients and obtain signatures without a visit to the office or submittal of paper records. We also have AmWell as a third platform that allows patients 24/7 access to a provider through telemedicine visits without having to make an appointment.

Student Health Services has been able to confront the coronavirus situation developing on the TTU campus head on by employing telemedicine in their clinics and vastly increasing their telemedicine appointment offerings through these platforms. Today, there are more telemedicine encounters than in-person appointments. These efforts have allowed TTU students to maintain the connection with their clinicians while staying safe from potential exposure to the virus.

Overall, patients have been very pleased with their telemedicine visit experiences. Positive comments include “Zoom meeting was confidential, effective, and most appreciated!,” “It went better than I expected. It was very easy to connect to my Doctor and I was able to communicate with him as if I was there physically in the same room with them,” and “First phone appointment I've ever had, went very well! I liked not having to go to an appointment.”

Another program in the realm of new offerings at TTP is Wait From Car. This platform allows patients to wait in their cars for their appointments, rather than in lobbies. This frees space in waiting rooms, allowing for social distancing measures to be as efficient as possible. It also conserves personal protective equipment (PPE). Patient Services Staff can text patients when they are able to come in for their appointment. Though this is not a method of virtually seeing patients, it is an approach to creating a safe environment for our patients and clinical staff during COVID-19.
Braden Cook, Director of Patient Experience and team leader of multiple telemedicine initiatives said “Texas Tech Physicians’ ability to rapidly adopt this method of medicine has been key in maintaining patient access to vital healthcare, while at the same time, protecting against the potential spread of a deadly disease.”

This is a true example of the value of One Team!