Corolar Virtual Care helps create and manage virtual clinics
January 28, 2021
Toronto-based Dapasoft Inc. is one of many healthcare IT providers that have refocused their product development roadmap in response to the urgent needs of Canadian hospitals struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In early January 2020 with COVID-19 happening, our customers began asking us to develop a solution for virtual care clinics,” said Jijesh Devan, Dapasoft’s senior director for marketing and business development.
With social distancing a priority in the midst of a raging pandemic, hospitals were quick to realize the importance of minimizing the number of patients in crowded waiting rooms and doctors’ offices. Responding to the urgent need for an elegant solution capable of enabling virtual clinics, Dapasoft released its Corolar Virtual Care app in July.
“We have seen tremendous traction for Corolar Virtual Care,” noted Devan. “Six large health systems have already signed up for it – two in Ontario, several in the Maritimes and one in British Columbia.”
A Microsoft partner and winner of Microsoft Application Innovation IMPACT Awards in 2019 and 2020, Dapasoft built Corolar Virtual Care on top of the Microsoft Teams platform, which an increasing number of hospitals have access to as part of their Office 365 licenses.
Capable of enabling multiple clinics for both virtual walk-in and scheduled appointments, Corolar Virtual Care manages the entire process from registration and triaging to physician consultation. Each clinic can be customized to accommodate communication via audio only or both audio and video.
The app was designed to maximize clinician efficiency, said Devan. For example, “We don’t ask the hospital to change its current method of patient registration and scheduling. All of the scheduling and registration happens in their EHR, whether it’s Meditech, Cerner or EPIC. We then pull that data using our integration capabilities into Corolar Virtual Care.
“There’s no need to register patients in one system and then create a meeting in another system. We eliminate a lot of that inefficiency.”
For scheduled appointments, the app delivers customized notifications, reminders and confirmations to patients using their preferred means of communication – telephone, email or SMS – to minimize no-shows.
Hospital staff log in to the app, select a clinic to which they’re assigned and are able to see the list of patients in the virtual lobby. Clinicians seeing patients through the app are even able to connect from home if they’re in quarantine themselves.
Patients can log in to Microsoft Teams on their computers or notebooks using a browser, or on their smartphones by downloading the Teams app.
They can be presented with a clinic-specific intake form to fill out following which they wait in the lobby until they are ready to be seen. If a patient steps away from his or her computer or notebook while waiting in the lobby, hospital staff can summon them via SMS or telephone when a nurse or doctor is ready to see them.
During the Teams encounter, clinicians are able to dial in third parties, including specialists or interpreters as required, said Devan. Upon termination of the encounter, patient intake forms and clinician notes are pushed back into the EHR.
Corolar Virtual Care is not only ideal for COVID-19 assessment clinics, but also for pre-op, pre-op, nephrology and even physiotherapy clinics, each of which can be set up with a customized care pathway.
Deployment is simple and straightforward taking as little as a few weeks, claims Devan.
Interest in Dapasoft’s Corolar Virtual Care app is consistent with the pandemic-driven global appeal of virtual care. A Gartner study, for example, estimates that only one percent of care was delivered virtually in the U.S. prior to COVID-19. Now, it’s 15 percent and, by the end of 2021, it’s expected to account for between 30 and 35 percent of healthcare visits.
Founded in 1997 by Stephen Chan, Wayne Thomas and Michael Lonsway, Dapasoft has 18 years of experience delivering healthcare IT solutions using Microsoft technologies. Its offerings for acute care customers include Corolar Cloud, an Integration Platform as a Service using Microsoft Azure.
Another Microsoft Teams app, Corolar ConnectedCare, was in the process of being piloted when COVID-19 forced Dapasoft to prioritize its virtual care solution. It was driven by the introduction of Ontario Health Teams, regional groupings of healthcare services intended to streamline care co-ordination. A secure, clinician-to-clinician collaboration solution, ConnectedCare allows authorized multidisciplinary healthcare teams to view patient records from hospital information systems in a Teams environment.
“So, much as you’d collaborate around an Excel file or a Word doc in Teams, you can collaborate around patient records and do care co-ordination,” said Devan.
Accessible via mobile devices, desktops and secure browsers, Corolar ConnectedCare streamlines patient handoffs from acute care to other healthcare services and permits access to patient records that would otherwise be locked up in a hospital information system.
Dapasoft will continue to prioritize its virtual care solution in the near term, but post COVID, the company expects hospitals to once again be free to take advantage of the full power of Microsoft Teams and its ConnectedCare solution.