Local resident launches Woodland Park branch of national telemedicine company
~ BY Trevor Phipps ~
As people age, health issues may tend to happen more frequently and many prefer to be closely connected with their primary physicians.
The only problem with that need, according to a report conducted by the Colorado School of Public Health, Teller County has a very low doctor to patient ratio. To make matters worse, the county has a large population of elderly people and many of them have transportation issues. And for those who do have doctors and wish to see them on a regular basis, expect a reported average waiting time of 29 days.
The lack of easy, quick access to health care is not just a local issue. Many seniors across the country find it difficult to seek a physician’s opinion when they need this advice. Recently, there have been a few companies that have launched a possible solution to the problem by creating a telemedicine service.
There have been some telemedicine companies around for quite some time, but a new platform, called “Carie,” may change the way people communicate with their doctors in the future. This service is completely free for the physicians that choose to provide the new, innovative services. According to Carie’s website, 70 percent of medical cases, including emergency room visits, can be treated using this new “TeleHealth” technology.
At the beginning of October, Teller County native and one of Carie’s founding members, Max Engelhardt, decided to start a branch of the Miami-based telemedicine company in Woodland Park. “We’re kind of disrupting health care,” Engelhardt said. “We’re trying to make it more affordable for people and we’re trying to bring down insurance costs, too.”
The program charges clients a modest monthly fee and members are given the option to purchase a family plan that is good for up to five people under the same reasonable rate. Once they sign up, participants can initiate a conversation with their doctor or other physicians and specialists from across the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The new and improved platform is easy for patients to access and it’s kind of like a live video chat,” the Carie founder said. “But it meets all of the regulations that doctors have to meet.”
According to Engelhardt, doctors must abide by regulations preventing them from giving certain medical advice over the phone. But with the Carie platform, this is not an issue because it meets the guidelines allowing doctors to legally be able to help their patients more than they can, with just a phone call.
The team currently provides access to over a thousand doctors nationwide and continues to grow.
Engelhardt believes that the Carie service will help a large amount of people who reside in Teller County.
He said that it is great for those who are self-employed or work for companies that do not offer health insurance benefits. He also contends that many of the senior citizens in the area will find it useful because using Carie’s services will reduce the number of doctor visits required.
Overall, the entrepreneur says that this new telemedicine platform will reduce insurance costs and the total amount of money people spend on health care services.