Neil Kinsley (left), CEO of Medici South Africa and Deon Bührs, Global Group Executive: Operations at SpesNet Global Group (EZMeds parent company)

Telehealth is a focus at present, given the surge of COVID-19 – a focus that has served to update and expand regulations around telehealth in many countries across the globe.

South Africa is no exception and has seen a significant rise in virtual consultations, especially since the inception of the national lockdown. 

Providing an advanced solution for healthcare practices in South Africa, are EZMed and Medici who have announced a partnership that takes telehealth to the next level. 

EZMed is a South African, established practice management software solution. Medici is a specialised virtual healthcare technology platform that has seen an increased uptake for its services in the USA, by over 1 000 percent. This growth was recorded over a two-week period earlier this year and confirms the need for services of this nature. The partnership expects to see similar results in South Africa, especially as the transmission rate of COVID-19 advances towards its peak. 

Virtual consultations will mitigate the risk of infection for both provider and patient in terms of not only COVID-19, but any other communicable diseases. That said, as telehealth is applicable to all manner of healthcare services (such as psychology, physiotherapy, nursing etc), the partnership also views telehealth as a sustainable and essential service that can reach even the most remote areas in South Africa, where on-the-ground healthcare is often difficult to provide, along with helping some of the most vulnerable in our society receive the care they need. 

The now integrated platforms offer healthcare practitioners across the country a simple yet highly effective and secure, end-to-end solution that goes beyond offering just video consultations. Instead, practitioners will be able to offer their patients a combination of virtual consultation methods that best suit their circumstances – voice, text or video. While many current consultations take place over open and public platforms the EZMed and Medici solution places an emphasis on security. 

A key component to the solution is the real time tracking and recording of the consultation duration. This is then pulled through into the billing management system. An invoice is subsequently generated and is either sent directly to the medical scheme or makes provision for a cash payment from the patient. The platform also takes into account the need for secure storage of patient records and the ability to update patient notes on the go. 

EZMed launched its specialised healthcare administration, appointment scheduling and billing software system to the South African market in 2017. The system alleviates the time pressure on practitioners to handle an ever-growing burden of paperwork, thereby allowing them to focus on putting their patients first. 

With the integration of the US-based Medici’s virtual practitioner and patient platform, EZMed has created a simple, end-to-end solution for a broad range of healthcare practitioners operating in a modern world – especially one defined by the need for social distancing. 

Of the integration, Deon Bührs, Global Group Executive: Operations at SpesNet Global Group (ProfNet’s parent company under which EZMed falls), said: “Today’s busy practices are seeing an increase in regulatory requirements, together with an increase in patients seeking healthcare, and this has brought with it a corresponding increase in administration. As healthcare practitioners ourselves, we knew we needed to do something that would alleviate the burden on practitioners, streamline the process and allow us to still perform what we were trained for: healing people. The result was EZMed. 

“Now with the integration of Medici, we have developed what we collectively believe to be a powerful tool that will allow healthcare providers to support their patients’ needs by putting the practitioner patient relationship at the core of the practice, while EZMed streamlines the administration.” 

There are numerous other benefits for practitioners who subscribe to the platform too, which include among others: 

• Unique practitioner code (pulls through all consulting and admin interactions) 

• Full mobility for practitioners on the go (video, text and voice over desktop, laptop, and phone) 

• The ability to track all those, till now, free minutes that can sometimes add up to unbilled hours, and which can now be claimed for 

• ePrescribe functionality 

• eTranslate 

• Claim directly from any medical scheme, including virtual consulting if enabled as a benefit 

• Health Code Index – Intelligent and sophisticated ICD-10, Procedure, Tariff & NAPPI code search 

• Funders File – Comprehensive, up to date list of all medical schemes in South Africa, their respective benefits, plan types, rates and payment arrangements 

• Healthcare Helpline – for ICD-10 and PMB coding 

• PMB conditions cross mapped to ICD-10 codes 

• EZMed integrates, manages and coordinates multi-disciplinary practices 

• Secure appointment scheduling 

• Electronic submission of claims to medical schemes via EDI (including eligibility and family checks) 

• Electronic incorporation of remittance advices into EZMed for easy reconciliation and allocation of payments via ERA capability 

• Voice recording of patient notes, which are uploaded directly into the patient’s file on the secure EZMed system 

• Malpractice Insurance – EZMed clients engaging with their patients using the integrated Medici telehealth platform receive preferential ProfNet Malpractice Insurance terms, together with complimentary cover at no additional cost. 

The EZMed and Medici offering is also independent. This means that it is healthcare practitioner focused. Being non-exclusive to any one particular scheme, it is able to service all health-related industries and practices that have a need for virtual consultations. 

The platform operates within the regulations allowed for the practice of telehealth in South Africa and is also PoPI and HIPAA compliant. It also complies with the guidelines as set out by the Digital Health Association of South Africa. 

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