2017 Innovation Awards: Emerge Diagnostics Telemedicine Program
Anyone in the medical field will say a major disadvantage of telemedicine is that a doctor cannot touch a patient to accurately gauge pain or measure discomfort.
Emerge Diagnostics Inc., a 2017 Business Insurance Innovation Awards winner, began to bridge that gap earlier this year with a telemedicine service that attaches sensors that go from the patient to a computer manned by a technician, through the internet and onward to a doctor who can check for muscle spasms via readings in the same way an electrocardiogram detects a heart rate.
The Carlsbad, California-based company created the program to help the workers compensation industry deal with two hurdles: measuring soft-tissue muscle pain objectively and getting injured workers to the best providers as quickly as possible, according to founder and Chief Scientific Officer MaryRose Reaston.
“We go right to them with this telemedicine visit so that they get the best care on day one,” Ms. Reaston said, adding that an early, more accurate diagnosis on the day of the injury can lead to a better recovery.
The program tests for soft-tissue injuries by using electrodes to monitor nerve reactions to movement and other stimuli, creating a computerized reading of whether a muscle is in spasm, or whether the nerves are reacting abnormally.
Business Insurance took an up-close look at the telemedicine program at a conference hosted by Emerge Diagnostics in January, just after the company launched its service. At the time, developers told the audience that the program transcends traditional subjective tests for pain, such as when a doctor asks a patient about their range of motion or how much pain they are in on a scale of 1 to 10.
Ms. Reaston said the program is “exploding” within the trucking industry, where workers can be injured remotely as they trek across the country.
“We can deliver better care anywhere,” she said. “Better directed care from day one leads to better care; it’s really been a game changer.”