Point-of-care platform OptimizeRx launched a free text message program to educate patients and doctors about the coronavirus.
The program sends the latest coronavirus guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directly to patients’ and healthcare providers’ phones. Users can sign up for the free service by texting VIRUS to 55150.
“When the outbreak of COVID-19 took place, we thought about how we can leverage our platform to help everyone that is really in need of help,” said Steve Silvestro, chief commercial officer at OptimizeRx. “This is not a service we’re charging for, we felt it was something we needed to do to help our community.”
The OptimizeRx platform integrates patient information and alerts into their EHRs. Physicians can see patient information like medications, refill alerts, lab results and more in real time.
“We’re leveraging the texting abilities in our platform, using that modality to be able to outreach to patients or people who are concerned about COVID-19 with accurate, clinical information that comes directly from the CDC,” Silvestro said.
The company is getting the word out about the texting service through its platform and through the media. So far, several thousand people have signed up, Silvestro said.
The text service is focused especially on people who may have limited access to this information, like elderly patients, Silvestro said. He hopes the program will help reduce panic and urge patients and doctors to take the appropriate action, whether that’s social distancing or other measures.
He also hopes keeping people informed will help with the effort to flatten the curve, which means everyone should engage in efforts like social distancing to avoid a rapid spread of COVID-19 that could overwhelm hospitals.
“There’s so much noise compounded by the effects of financial markets and people being told they need to social distance, but no one understands what that means,” Silvestro said. “People are panicked and the easiest way to provide accurate and timely information is to use the platform to benefit those people, to reduce panic load and anxiety. The reality is it’s not a panic situation, but a situation where we need to pay attention. Information is power.”