Not only was there was an immediate reduction in emergency department visits, but the company built on its success and started offering virtual visits via Skype in 2011. Green says virtual visits are 20 minutes, still longer than the traditional primary care or urgent care visit, and he likes it because he understands a patient's needs better.
"Intellectually, it's interesting," says Green. "We rely a lot on history and exploring a condition. In a clinic, I felt hurried and rushed."
Take Two Aspirin and Skype Me in the Morning
Green helps lead a team of 15 providers, each of whom works from home. As long as a contracted patient has a computer, a webcam, and an internet connection, they can visit with someone at Carena 24/7.
Green says the "always open" philosophy is easier to staff than some might think, and he's quick t clarify that 24/7 does not mean on-call.
"It's not that hard to schedule," he says. "You would think, 'How do you schedule that overnight shift?' But we have providers who prefer [it]. They're shifts, they're not on call."