CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Dr. Waseem Ghannam spent the first part of his career as a practicing hospital medical physician. While working at the hospital, he quickly realized the in-patient experience was different than he thought.
“We constantly saw geriatric patients sent to the ER for things we thought were avoidable,” Ghannam says. “We thought this is avoidable, this is expensive and it doesn’t make sense to do this to seniors across North Carolina and across the country.”
Then, the idea for TeleHealth Solution was born. Fast Forward to 2020, it’s a thriving business that is particularly vital to nursing homes trying to adjust during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A multitude of our clients, locally and nationally, found themselves in a position where their medical directors could not come into the building,” Ghannam says. “And so we would be working with these patients remotely. In addition, we would be updating families on what is going on.”
That’s why Ghannam says he saw a huge uptick in clients and had to hire a lot more staff.
“What we have seen both across North Carolina and across the country is nursing home organizations are starting to ask themselves, ‘do we have a digital platform or do we have a digital strategy,?’” Ghannam says. “And if not, ‘we need to create a digital medicine strategy.’”
Ghannam believes TeleHealth treatment will be a big part of patients' lives for many years to come. He said prior to COVID-19 most insurance companies only accepted TeleHealth in rural areas or under special circumstances, but that has changed.
“Now with the 1135 waiver CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] has been paying for TeleMedicine,” Ghannam says. “There is an abundance of what we call CPT codes, which are billable codes in regards to rendering TeleMedicine services.”
Ghannam says he doesn’t think TeleMedicine will totally replace in-person doctor visits, but he hopes it will create an avenue for more convenient and efficient treatment depending on the circumstance.