Colorado Springs-based health care provider PeakMed and Denver health-tech company CirrusMD have announced a partnership for a secure text and video platform between doctors and patients.

The partnership will provide “a confidential and direct line of communication, increasing access to care and decreasing health care costs,” according to a news release issued by PeakMed and CirrusMD.

PeakMed offers direct primary health care, bypassing insurance companies to give patients unlimited direct access to a doctor for a fixed monthly membership fee.

According to the release, CirrusMD’s HIPAA-compliant communication platform will allow PeakMed patients to ask questions and get the treatment they need — even prescriptions — via text, image sharing, video or phone, without having to come to the PeakMed Life Center.

The system is different from a typical patient portal, where a patient may wait up to a day for a response after emailing their doctor, according to the release. CirrusMD allows patients to text their doctor through an app on their computer or mobile device, allowing for on-demand communications to determine the next steps.

“Seventy to 80 percent of all doctor visits can be done over text, phone or video once a health care plan has been established,” PeakMed founder Dr. Mark Tomasulo said in the release. “Access to secure texting from CirrusMD brings PeakMed to the next level in care and puts the exam room right in a patient’s pocket. We can provide care if the patient is at home in bed or hundreds of miles away on vacation, bringing added value and convenience.”

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Many people who go to an emergency room or urgent care don’t actually need that level of service, the release added, and unnecessary emergency visits create significant cost. PeakMed and CirrusMD aim to divert those patients from the ER and urgent care clinics, and instead connect them with a doctor who can treat them. According to the release, CirrusMD’s communication platform has prevented unnecessary ER and urgent care visits for 40 percent of patients who use it.

“Patients are demanding instant access to care,” CirrusMD CEO Andrew Altorfer said in the release. “By meeting patients where they are, with a familiar text messaging experience, CirrusMD and PeakMed will be able to treat patients virtually and guide them to the most appropriate point-of-care for their situation, saving both time and money.”

PeakMed physician Craig Kilpatrick said electronic communication is “a great tool for the doctor-patient relationship.

“Having a patient text me when they’re concerned about their health, or the health of their child, is not a disruption. I want to be able to help them. CirrusMD’s technology makes life easier for patients which, in turn, makes my job easier.”