Virtual Visit Helps Prevent Spread of Seasonal Viruses
COLUMBIA, Md. —With cold and flu season just beginning, virtual medical visits are an effective option for getting medical attention—in the comfort of your own home and on your schedule. MedStar Health is now offering this service, and it’s available to anyone 24/7 through MedStar eVisit, with a free, downloadable app for smartphone and tablet or through a secure computer portal. Aside from being convenient and easy to access, virtual visits can help contain contagious viruses that are spread by coughing, sneezing and touching contaminated surfaces. Virtual house calls are effective in treating common conditions, like mild flu-like symptoms, coughs and colds. Other minor conditions that are suited for virtual visits include skin rashes, pink eye, allergies, and known urinary tract or yeast infections.
“We encourage everyone to get the seasonal flu shot as a first line of defense,” says Stephen R.T. Evans, MD, MedStar’s chief medical officer. “But if you experience mild, flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, a virtual medical visit is a great option. The easier we can make it for people to seek care, the more likely they’ll get help early, when symptoms are milder and easier to treat,” he said.
Increasingly, consumers expect personalized care that is convenient and coordinated. Use of virtual visits is expected to grow rapidly and account for one in five medical visits within the next 10 years.
A consult through MedStar eVisit costs $49 and qualifies as a reimbursable healthcare spending account expense. The cost can also be reimbursed through health insurance, depending on one’s plan. The MedStar eVisit app is free on the Apple App Store, or you can access it online.
Flu season is October through March, with peak activity occurring in February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
MedStar’s partner is American Well, which is accredited by the American Telemedicine Association. MedStar eVisit was piloted with MedStar associates a year ago.
“MedStar is known for delivering advanced care to a wide range of patients,” said Danielle Russella, president of Customer Solutions at American Well. “From urgent care, to chronic condition management, to follow up appointments, telehealth will allow MedStar to extend care into the communities it serves and beyond. We are honored to help bring eVisits to life and, most importantly, to the MedStar patients it will serve.”
About MedStar Health
MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.