When a family member of a Saint Alphonsus employee got back into town after a weekend of hiking, they weren’t sure if the smoke from wildfires was bothering them or if they had something more severe, such as a sinus infection. They knew it wasn’t serious enough to go to an emergency room for treatment, but instead of jumping into the car and driving to the nearest urgent-care clinic, they logged on with their smartphone to Saint Alphonsus’ new telemedicine site for a video consultation with a doctor.
After the video chat with the doctor from the comfort of their own home, a diagnosis of sinusitis was made, a prescription ordered, and the patient went on with their day.
The MyeVisit pilot, an initiative we recently launched at Saint Alphonsus for employees and family members who are covered by one of our medical insurance plans, saved the employee’s family member time and money. MyeVisit allows for consultation with a Saint Alphonsus medical provider from a desktop or mobile device through a secure, HIPAA-compliant site and two-way audio/video communication.
In 2015, the Idaho State Legislature passed the Idaho Telehealth Access Act, which provided clear policy for providing telehealth services. This legislation has advanced our ability to develop the MyeVisit program and offer this service to our health plan participants.
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Dr. Adam Husney, medical director for the MyeVisit program, said the initiative “brings innovation to Saint Alphonsus to help deliver the best care in the way that is most convenient and cost-effective for the patient. The program is just like talking to a medical provider in the same room, using evidence-based medicine and standardized protocols for treatment and follow-up communication with the patient’s primary care provider.”
Currently, 10 conditions can be diagnosed through MyeVisit, including conjunctivitis (pink eye), sinusitis and sinus infections, urinary tract infections, ringworm, shingles, sunburn, poison-ivy rash, impetigo and cold sores.
Providing a telemedicine option to our employees is helping us prepare to roll out the MyeVisit program to the general public next year — and based on the feedback we are getting from those who have used the service to date, the broader rollout to the community should be well-received.