AAFP Virtual Care FAQ

AAFP Virtual Care™

Save time and expand patient access with AAFP Virtual Care™.

Members Only

AAFP Virtual Care™

Save time and expand patient access with AAFP Virtual Care™.

Members Only

AAFP Virtual Care™ powered by Zipnosis is a leading-edge virtual care platform offered to American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) members. It combines clinical efficiency and convenience with high-quality care through both online patient interviews and video visits. This HIPAA-compliant platform is designed to help you do more with less effort. You can treat more patients, retain and grow your practice, and support patients who find it challenging to access in-person care, all while streamlining your workflows and minimizing time-consuming paperwork.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Platform & Technology

Is AAFP Virtual Care HIPAA compliant and does it keep patient information secure?

Yes, the AAFP Virtual Care platform is HIPAA compliant, and Zipnosis has earned HITRUST CSF Certification for information security controls.

What equipment do I need to access the platform?

Accessing AAFP Virtual Care is easy. You just need a computer, tablet, or smartphone connected to the internet. You do not need any other equipment to start using the platform.

How do I get paid for virtual visits?

To support payment for virtual visits, you will need a merchant account and payment gateway to process credit card / HSA / FSA payments. These can be set up in one of two ways through Authorize.Net.

Merchant account and payment gateway: You will be able to set up a merchant account and payment gateway without incurring any setup or monthly fees. For this option, you will be charged a fee of 2.9% +$.30 per credit card transaction.

Payment gateway only: If you have and want to keep an existing merchant account, you may work with Authorize.net to support a payment gateway only. This is available for a $6 monthly fee with a $.10 per transaction fee and $.10 per-day fee for batch processing (only incurred on days in which you have virtual visit transactions).

Is my patients’ payment information stored by Zipnosis and accessible to others?

No. Patient payment information is not stored, nor is it accessible to anyone. Authorize.net is used for secure, transactional pass-through processing of payments and payment information.

Who has access to patient information in the AAFP Virtual Care platform?

The only people who have access to patient information are the patient, your designated administrative user(s), and clinical users (physicians and other providers).

If my patient has private payer coverage that includes telehealth services, can I bill directly through the AAFP Virtual Care platform?

Not at this time. Patients who have telehealth benefits may submit a claim for reimbursement after the visit is complete.

How do I access a patient’s virtual visit history in the AAFP Virtual Care platform?

There are two ways to view a patient’s virtual visit history:

  1. Your designated administrative user(s) can access the visit history and download PDF documents detailing virtual visit information. These PDFs can be attached to the patient’s record in your EHR.
  2. Within the AAFP Virtual Care platform, clinical users (physicians and other providers) can view the clinical notes from all of a patient’s prior virtual visits.

How do I access current and historical medication/prescribing information in the AAFP Virtual Care platform?

Within the platform, patients are asked to provide information about all prescription and over-the-counter medications they are currently taking and any medication allergies. This information is stored in the platform, and patients are asked to make sure it is accurate at each virtual visit. In the clinical note you use to make a diagnosis and a treatment recommendation, you will see patient-provided medication information alongside Surescripts medication history. If the patient is allergic to any medications, the AAFP Virtual Care platform’s clinical decision support does not offer these medications among the treatment options. In addition, you or your designated administrative user(s) can download a PDF of the virtual visit information and attach it to the patient’s file in your EHR for future reference. However, attaching the PDF does not update the patient’s medication history in your EHR; this must be done manually.

Can my patients and I securely exchange image files and documents with AAFP Virtual Care?

For certain conditions (e.g., eye and skin complaints), the platform facilitates image capture and transfer from the patient to the physician or other provider. As you are making a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan, the platform populates a communication that the patient can access once it is complete. If your practice has a patient portal, it can be used to share other documents between patients and their trusted physician or other providers before, during, or after visits.   

Can I offer my patients video visits in addition to the online interview?

Yes, the AAFP Virtual Care platform includes the option to offer on-demand, patient-initiated video visits. These visits will be available to all patients who come through your platform during virtual clinic hours. As such, it is important to set expectations with your physicians and providers about responding in a timely manner to visit notifications sent to them via email or text to ensure patients are not waiting too long to connect.

Your standard deployment includes the online interview with acuity-based step-up to video, and we recommend launching with this functionality to realize the full efficiency benefits of the AAFP Virtual Care platform. If you choose to turn on patient-initiated video visits, you will have access to a change order form that enables you to submit the request and set the visit fee for your video visits.

If I choose to use AAFP Virtual Care, will Zipnosis sign a business associate agreement (BAA)?

Yes, Zipnosis will sign a BAA.

Patient Visits & Clinical Information

How do patients find my virtual care platform?

Your AAFP Virtual Care platform has a unique web address. Patients access it by typing this web address into their browser. To make your virtual care service easy to find, we recommend placing a link to it in a prominent place on your practice website.

How do I tell my patients about the virtual care options available from my practice?

We have found that the most effective way to get patients to use a virtual care service is a personal recommendation from their trusted physician or other provider. Also, you have the option to create professional quality videos—at no additional cost—that can be featured on your website to educate your patients about your new virtual care service. You also get marketing materials to promote your practice’s virtual care service, including electronic files that can be customized to make a poster, a table tent, a direct mail postcard, and a news/press release.

How do I set expectations with my patients and physicians/providers about response time?

The AAFP Virtual Care platform is set at a standard one-hour timeframe for patients to receive a response. If their visit does not receive a response within this timeframe, their visit fee is refunded. While most practices will have no difficulty meeting the demand of this response time, every practice is different. You will have access to a change order form that enables you to choose one of the three timeframes for visit responses: one hour, two hours, or four hours. Please be aware that the chosen Service Level Agreement response time is a clinic-wide modification and will apply to all visits in your virtual clinic.

What conditions can I treat virtually?

AAFP Virtual Care is designed to support diagnosis and treatment of minor episodic and simple acute conditions, such as upper respiratory infections, conjunctivitis, female urinary tract infections, and minor skin conditions. Evidence-based clinical pathways and protocols are embedded in the platform and maximize efficiencies in diagnosing and treating these conditions. However, this does not preclude use of the platform for follow-up visits or to provide care for patients with stable chronic care needs. The platform also has built-in video functionality. Video visits offer a less structured visit framework, enabling you to treat a wider variety of conditions.

What if a patient cannot be treated online?

Patients who cannot be treated online are referred to your practice for in-person care and provided with the phone number to schedule an appointment, a link to your website, or both, depending on your preference.

What if I do not have enough information to make a diagnosis?

When providing virtual care, you always have the option to refer the patient for an in-person evaluation if you do not have sufficient information to make an accurate diagnosis.

Can I offer virtual care to patients in other states?

You can offer virtual care to patients in any state in which you have an active license to practice medicine. In terms of telemedicine, it is important to note that the practice of medicine is deemed to occur in the state in which the patient is physically located at the time of care, not the state where the patient lives or where the physician or other provider is located.

Can I offer virtual care to new patients?

Yes. While the standard platform configuration does not allow you to see new patients, it is an additional feature that can be requested via a change order form at no additional cost. After receiving the change order form, Zipnosis will configure your platform to include a step-up to video at the end of the online interview to ensure you are meeting state regulatory requirements. Please note that this configuration option is clinic-wide, and cannot be turned on/off for only certain physicians/providers in your virtual practice.

How do prescriptions work in a virtual visit? What can I prescribe?

On the AAFP Virtual Care platform’s diagnosis and treatment screen, you can prescribe either over-the-counter or prescription medications, based on the patient’s complaint, your diagnosis, and patient-reported medication allergies. Once you complete a diagnosis and a treatment plan, that plan, including information about any prescriptions, is sent to the patient. Within the platform, the patient then selects from nearby pharmacies, and the prescription is automatically sent to the pharmacy he or she identifies.

The platform does not support prescribing of controlled substances.

What if a patient has medication allergies?

Patients new to your virtual care service are asked for information about their medication allergies, and returning patients are asked to verify their previously entered medication allergies at each virtual visit. Any medications noted in this section are not available to prescribe when you develop a treatment plan.

How can I know what questions were presented to a patient during the online "adaptive interview" patient intake process?

During your training, you have the opportunity to complete online patient interviews through the AAFP Virtual Care platform. You can view the questions that patients are asked as part of the “adaptive interview” intake process and see for yourself how easy and convenient it is for the patient. Questions presented during the online “adaptive interview” will change based on the patient’s response, as in an in-person history review. You can go through as many simulated patient visits as you like to get comfortable and familiar with the protocols available through AAFP Virtual Care and the conditions you can diagnose and treat.

Who makes diagnoses for my patients?

You and other designated physicians or providers in your practice make the diagnoses. We believe the people best suited to make diagnoses and treat patients are the physicians and other providers who know them.

How can I be sure my patients are getting the right diagnosis and treatment through AAFP Virtual Care?

You can be sure because you and other designated physicians or providers in your practice are making the diagnosis and treatment decisions. The AAFP Virtual Care platform gathers structured data—including demographics (e.g., age, gender), symptom information, and medication information (e.g., current medications, allergies)—and then consolidates it into a comprehensive clinical note. This note gives you the information you need to make an informed and accurate diagnosis. In fact, physicians and other providers using this platform often see clinical accuracy rates that match or exceed in-person care.

What if I need to order and review lab results before prescribing medication?

At this time, AAFP Virtual Care does not support lab integration. If you require lab testing to make an accurate diagnosis (e.g., in the case of strep throat), you can refer the patient to your practice for an in-person evaluation. The platform provides the phone number to schedule an appointment, a link to your website, or both, depending on your preference.

I understand this platform includes supportive help to build out clinical documentation of virtual visits. How does this work? Can these notes be integrated into my EHR?

Your designated administrative user(s) can download PDF documents for each virtual visit and attach them to patient records in your EHR. Visit reports can also be pulled in a .csv (MS Excel) format that may be uploaded into the EHR. However, attaching a PDF or uploading a visit report does not update the patient’s medication history in your EHR; this must be done manually.  

Implementation & Support

What kind of training is available? How long does it take to complete?

The training module for AAFP Virtual Care includes tailored training for clinical users (physicians and other providers) and administrative users and takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete. Training is fully online and can be completed at your own pace. For clinical users, we make live test visits available in the platform following training to make sure you are completely comfortable by the time you go live with AAFP Virtual Care.

Am I required to complete training before I can begin using AAFP Virtual Care? What if I have used other telemedicine software before and am comfortable conducting virtual visits?

The AAFP Virtual Care platform’s asynchronous online patient interview is different than other telemedicine software platforms, so all users are required to complete the online training module. Your training will likely be more streamlined if you have experience delivering care via telemedicine.

How long does it take to set up AAFP Virtual Care? Does it include everything I need to begin using it in my practice?

Depending upon how much time you prefer to spend in training, setup time is approximately 10 hours or less over 3-4 weeks (depending on your schedule). This includes:

  • Completing online training
  • Providing information about your practice so that Zipnosis can set up your live virtual care website
  • Setting up a bank account and authorization for Zipnosis to establish direct deposit so you can receive visit fees
  • Taking all other steps necessary to complete your implementation

You receive a downloadable project plan with line-item detail for each task, an estimate of the time involved to complete each task, and guidance about what information should be gathered in advance and who should complete each task (i.e., practice owner, physician or other provider, or administrative user).

What if something goes wrong with the platform? Who do I contact and what support is available?

Technical support for the AAFP Virtual Care platform is available to your practice from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., CT, Monday through Friday. You also have access to a ticketing system to report platform issues, bugs, and product enhancement suggestions. In addition, you have a dedicated support email you can use to get questions answered and receive the assistance you need to effectively run your virtual care service.

How much does the platform cost and what is the invoice schedule?

Access to the platform requires a 12-month commitment, with invoicing available on either an annual or monthly basis. Your initial invoice will also include your set-up fee.

The platform is licensed per-seat, as follows:

Designated Clinician Users:

Annual BillingMonthly Billing
Annual Billing: $1,908/year
($1,908 invoiced annually)
Monthly Billing: $2,004/year
($167 invoiced monthly)

Designated Administrative Users

Practices receive one administrative user license at no charge (and typically only one administrativer user is needed per practice).
Fees below are for additional administrative user licences.

Annual BillingMonthly Billing
Annual Billing: $540/year
($540 invoiced annually)
Monthly Billing: $564/year
($47 invoiced monthly)

Setup Fee

A setup fee to cover implementation and training based on the number of clinician users:

1-2 Physician/Provider Users3-6 Physician/Provider Users7-10 Physician/Provider Users11-14 Physician Provider Users15-19 Physician/Provider Users
$299$499$599$899$1,199

There will be an additional $150 setup fee per clinician user for each license added after your platform goes live.

Aside from the setup cost and the monthly license fee per physician or other provider, are there any other fees?

Beyond the setup cost and per-seat license fees, practices can expect to incur costs for two additional items: identity proofing and payment processing.

Identity Proofing

As part of the onboarding process, one physician from your practice will be required to undergo identity proofing prior to go-live. Zipnosis has partnered with Persona Trust to facilitate the identity proofing process via video interview. The cost of the identity proofing process is $31.50 to be paid directly to Persona Trust. Be assured that your clinic will only have to incur this cost once.

Payment Processing

As part of your virtual care service, you will need a merchant account and payment gateway to support processing credit card /HSA/FSA payments. These can be set up in one of two ways through Authorize.Net:

Merchant account and payment gateway: You will be able to set up a merchant account and payment gateway without incurring any setup or monthly fees. For this option, you will be charged a fee of 2.9% +$.30 per credit card transaction.

Payment gateway only: If you have and want to keep an existing merchant account, you may work with Authorize.net to support a payment gateway only. This is available for a $6 monthly fee with a $.10 per transaction fee and $.10 per-day fee for batch processing (only incurred on days in which you have virtual visit transactions).

If you are not charging for virtual visits, these fees do not apply to you.

How many people from my practice need to be on the AAFP Virtual Care platform? Is there an additional charge for other administrative users to have access and use the platform?

Getting started with AAFP Virtual Care typically requires two people: one physician or other provider and one administrative user. If a physician has a solo practice with no one else available to serve as an administrative user, a second email address for the physician is required to identify that the physician is also the administrative user. One free administrative user license is provided per practice. Additional administrative user licenses are available at an additional charge.

What is an administrative user's role? Can the same person be both administrative user and a physician/provider on the platform?

Administrative users are an important part of your virtual care team. They manage the back-end of the platform, inputting clinic hours decided upon the practice, physician/provider schedules as directed, resetting passwords and pulling reports, among other tasks. The role is usually filled by non-provider clinic staff or front office staff. For days when the clinic will be closed to virtual care, such as holidays, the administrative user will modify physician/provider schedules to reflect lack of availability and complete other tasks to reflect the closure of the virtual care service. To operate efficiently, we strongly recommend using staff to the top of their license and appointing a non-provider clinical individual or front office individual to serve in this role. However, this may not be practical for single-physician practices. If you are a physician and need to provide care and perform the clerical tasks for the platform, you will need to use a separate email address for your administrative user login. Currently, the platform does not support dial-role users.

Can AAFP Virtual Care link to other health care systems in my area? 

The AAFP Virtual Care platform is designed to effectively support care for minor episodic and simple acute conditions. As such, it works as a stand-alone virtual visit platform. Most patients who cannot be treated online are referred to your practice for in-person care, as opposed to being referred to another specialist or the emergency department (ED).

Can any size of practice, hospital, or health system use AAFP Virtual Care?

No. While the foundation of AAFP Virtual Care is the Zipnosis platform, AAFP Virtual Care was created exclusively for AAFP members and their practice colleagues in small to midsize practices of 19 or fewer physicians and other providers.

However, the Zipnosis platform can be used by larger practices, hospitals, and health systems. If you are an AAFP member in a practice of 20 or more physicians and other providers, or you are an AAFP member who is a leader or decision maker within a hospital or health system, and you are interested in implementing virtual care using the Zipnosis platform, visit the AAFP Virtual Care product page and click on the Get Started button. Then, follow the prompts that take you to the Zipnosis website, where you can complete an online form as directed, indicating how many physicians and other providers are part of the entity in which you wish to implement the Zipnosis platform. Zipnosis will then contact you about implementing their enterprise solution.