BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Gov. Baker has announced new telemedicine options for people in Massachusetts who need medical attention during the coronavirus pandemic.
"We ordered telemedicine to be fully covered by health insurance for all services," Baker said at a press conference on Friday. "I urge everybody to take full advantage of it, and not go in person to a medical facility if you have the alternative of a phone call or a video chat."
Gov. Baker also announced a new online resource for people in Massachusetts to get medical guidance and a risk-assessment for coronavirus from the safety of their home.
The online assistance tool, created by Massachusetts-based company Buoy Health, is available to the state's residents for free, which Baker says will "provide medical advice remotely."
Gov. Baker said the Buoy Health online assistance tool "is not to be used in place of emergency medical care." Instead, he said it is "a tool that's been collecting data and providing guidance to people for many, many months, and everyone can use it to get much more information about their health, which, as we know, everyone is thinking about these days."
The Buoy health tool will first ask the user a series of questions to complete a "risk assessment interview" online. If a user screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms or risk factors, Baker said they will be directed to "the most appropriate resources based on their answers."
If a person is deemed at risk of having the virus, they will be sent to an online portal that links with their health insurance provider, so they can talk immediately on the phone or via video with a healthcare provider.
"It's a tool everyone can use to get more information about their health, and get connected quickly to the people they need to talk to, to get the best guidance and advice about what to do next."
Dr. Andrew Le, CEO and co-founder of Buoy Health, said his company is "eager" to help its home state during the crisis.
"Buoy was founded seven years ago at Harvard's Innovation lab to help people figure out what to do when they're sick or injured using modern technologies and artificial intelligence," said Dr. Le. "Now, we're here to help the Department of Public Health give personalized information and guidance to residents about what to do if they're experiencing symptoms related to the coronavirus, whether that's self-isolation, or how to get care and testing."
To access the Buoy Health online assessment tool, click here.