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Feel sick and don’t want to leave home? Saint Al’s now has video urgent care

Saint Alphonsus launches video urgent care in Idaho, Oregon

Dr. Michael Graff, family doctor at Saint Al's in Boise, explains how the MyeVisit system works to give patients diagnosis and treatment of minor ailments over video conferencing.
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Dr. Michael Graff, family doctor at Saint Al's in Boise, explains how the MyeVisit system works to give patients diagnosis and treatment of minor ailments over video conferencing.

Worried your teen is coming down with a sinus infection? Have a nasty case of pink eye? Strange, itchy spots on your skin?

A new service from Saint Alphonsus Health System, called MyeVisit, offers a video option for patients in Idaho and Oregon. The video-conferencing service keeps patients from having to go to a walk-in urgent care clinic or wait three months to see their primary care doctor. (See factbox for conditions MyeVisit covers.)

Doctors, nurse practitioners or physician assistants who are licensed in Idaho and/or Oregon see patients remotely through telemedicine technology, with some of them taking calls during evening and night hours. The provider can evaluate, diagnose and prescribe by videoconferencing with the patient. The patient can use a tablet, smartphone or computer that is compatible with the MyeVisit platform.

Saint Alphonsus piloted the service with its own employees for about a year. It opened the service up to the public about three weeks ago. So far, more than 100 people have used it.

In almost all cases, patients have their needs met by the video call. In about 2 percent of cases so far, patients actually needed in-person evaluation right away and were referred to urgent care or an emergency room; the health system does not charge patients for the MyeVisit session in those cases.

Each visit is a $45 flat fee, paid with debit or credit card. Most insurance plans do not cover the service, and the charges do not apply toward a deductible, Saint Alphonsus said.

“Patients with minor to moderate medical conditions are expecting an easier way to access medical providers for treatment,” said Rodney Reider, president and CEO of Saint Alphonsus, in a news release. “MyeVisit is the future of medical service — leveraging technology to provide convenient, quick and quality care.”

One of the providers who sees patients on the platform, family doctor Michael Graff, says it is an option to “save time, money and a trip to the urgent care clinic ... while maintaining the best clinical quality available.”

The health system expects many of the users to already be Saint Alphonsus patients or connected with its health network. But, Graff said, it could allow patients in rural Idaho to get care for relatively minor ailments — some of which can develop into serious conditions — without having to drive 45 minutes to a clinic. He hopes it will keep more people out of the emergency room, as well, where the cost to treat something like a sinus infection is much higher.

The visits usually take about 25 minutes, and Saint Alphonsus providers recommend that patients be in a safe, private location when starting the session.

Audrey Dutton: 208-377-6448, @IDS_Audrey

Conditions treated on MyeVisit

Urinary tract and bladder infections (females 18 years or older)

Sinusitis/sinus infection (12 years or older)

Upper respiratory infection (12 years or older)

Cold sores (5 years or older)

Conjunctivitis/pink eye (2 years or older)

Hand, foot and mouth disease (2 years or older)

Impetigo (2 years or older)

Lice (2 years or older)

Poison ivy rash (2 years or older)

Ringworm (2 years or older)

Scabies (5 years or older)

Shingles (5 years or older)

Sunburn (5 years or older)

Source: saintalphonsus.myevisit.org

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