Telehealth services struggle to manage 'extreme volumes' related to coronavirus calls

Telehealth companies are dealing with delays in services and crashes as huge volumes of patients are seeking to consult with their provider virtually, according to CNBC.

Cleveland Clinic physicians told CNBC that their Express Care Online virtual service has been spotty and crashed multiple times. These technical issues have caused delays of more than an hour, the sources who asked to not be named confirmed to CNBC.

The health system has asked patients to avoid the emergency room and instead use Express Care Online.

With the technical issues, providers’ frustrations have escalated with some hanging up on employees. Another clinician is rescheduling virtual appointments to later in the week if not holding off on the virtual appointments until the technology is fixed.

One physician told CNBC that the program shows a gray screen with a loading circle when they try to log in.

Amwell President Roy Schoenberg responded to the technical issues in an email. The telehealth company supports Cleveland Clinic’s Express Care Online. He acknowledged the issues in an email to CNBC and said they are working to fix problems with wait times and IT crashes.

“Certain geographies where the public impact of the virus is highest have seen wait times sky rocket from five to 10 minutes to 60 to 70 minutes,” Mr. Schoenberg said to CNBC. This then causes services to freeze with “voluntary member disconnects.”

Other telemedicine companies are struggling to meet the demands of patients during the COVID-19 outbreak. Doctor on Demand is working to hire hundreds of physicians. 

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