As the use of telemedicine skyrockets during the coronavirus pandemic, Outcome Health has rolled out a service to reach patients while waiting for virtual appointments.

Outcome Health’s Virtual Waiting Room service integrates with existing telemedicine services and provides educational content to patients while they wait. The goal is to make the wait time feel shorter for patients and help reduce appointment abandonment, said Nandini Ramani, chief operating officer at Outcome Health.

“While waiting [for virtual appointments], patients usually see a blank screen that says ‘please wait.’ They can’t quit the app and they have no idea what the wait time will be,” Ramani said. “During the blank screen wait time, our Virtual Waiting Room engages patients with a content stream tailored to providers speciality. We’re giving them a customized curated content experience which reduces perceived wait time and can help to keep appointment abandonment rate low.”

Outcome Health has already rolled out the Virtual Waiting Room to one partner, a dermatology specialty practice, with content specific to dermatology. The service can integrate with a practice’s existing telemedicine service, Ramani said. 

The point of care company began working on this idea last year when it rolled out its Moments of Care strategy, Ramani said. 

“Of course COVID-19 accelerated our journey into the Virtual Waiting Room telehealth solution and is ushering the point of care sector into telemedicine,” Ramani said. “We want to provide this empathetic patient experience and have it transcend for physical walls of the physician’s office. We want patients to have access to our content whether in their living room, on their computer screen or phone or any device they might be using.”

In the future, Outcome Health is open to working with advertisers in the Virtual Waiting Room, but has not started that process yet. The company already has strict standards for advertising that will carry over to this service. 

“Our first focus is on patients and their providers,” Ramani said. “Our foremost thought is what is best for patients and their interaction with providers. Our goal right now is to test utilization value and adapt it with advertisements as we see the need for it. We want to be thoughtful about it, not just bombarding people with ads.”