Online visits help patients get answers about health conditions from the comfort of home

November 15, 2018  //  FOUND IN: News

There’s never a convenient time to be sick.

Michigan Medicine offers consultations through the MyUofMHealth patient portal, called e-visits, to help patients get a care plan or prescription for minor illnesses — with no travel required or missed time from work.

Michigan Medicine primary care adult patients can initiate an e-visit for minor illnesses any time day or night, including on the weekend. Patients will receive a written care plan and prescription as needed from a health care provider in less than 24 hours. With e-visits, there is no phone call or appointment needed to access the same great care from a Michigan Medicine health care provider.

“Michigan Medicine, and other health systems across the country, are looking for ways to be more responsive to what patients want,” said Larry An, M.D., medical director for the Virtual Care Program at Michigan Medicine. “The greatest advantage is convenience and providing the right care to patients with minimal disruption to their daily lives.”

Michigan Medicine primary care patients can use e-visits for:

  • Cough and flu-like symptoms such as a sudden fever, body aches and chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Vaginal discharge/irritation
  • Red eye
  • Sinus problems
  • Urinary symptoms/painful urination

Adults can initiate an e-visit by signing on to and submitting a condition-specific questionnaire. They answer a series of questions about their symptoms, similar to the questions they would be asked during an office visit.

The Michigan Medicine health care provider responding to e-visit requests is able to access the patient’s health record and review their health history. If the questionnaire is submitted before noon, patients can expect a same-day response.

Patients pay $25 for the e-visit, which is comparable to the amount charged for a regular office visit and are available seven days a week.

To date, a reported 80 percent of patients who used e-visits were able to get the care they needed without going into the doctor’s office. If a patient is unable to be treated by an e-visit, their information is routed to their primary care doctor to schedule an urgent appointment. If referred to an in-person appointment, the patient is not charged for the e-visit.

E-visits can also reduce unnecessary and costly trips to an emergency department for minor illnesses. There will be times when patients must come in for a physical exam and follow-up.

“Part of providing quality care is knowing when those in-person visits are needed,” said An.

E-visits should not be used in an urgent situation, but are available as an option for patients instead of scheduling an appointment with their primary care provider.

Planning is underway to offer e-visits for children and to expand service to video visits in more areas. The advent of telemedicine and virtual visits is making an impact across Michigan Medicine.

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