Being sick sometimes can make it tough to get out of bed, let alone go to a doctor’s office. Thanks to an alternative to in-office doctor visits, Rush patients may not have to leave home to receive care.
Rush has expanded a quick, convenient online medical evaluation service using innovative technology for web-based consultations with a physician. Previously available to Rush primary care patients, online treatment for common medical conditions now is available to all patients who have seen a Rush health care provider within the last three years.
Patients use the web-based Rush application through MyChart, Rush’s secure online health records system. It allows the patient to conduct an electronic consultation (or e-visit) with a physician, who will determine a diagnosis and treatment plan that may include prescriptions.
The service debuted at Rush University Medical Center in April 2017. E-visits also have been offered by doctors at Rush Copley Medical Center since November.
“When someone doesn’t feel well, it may be difficult for them to walk or drive to a doctor’s office,” said Dr. Michael Hanak, assistant professor of family medicine, and one of a group of physicians who offer the online consultations at Rush University Medical Center. “Having an e-visit is a convenient way for patients to get advice for common health issues, such as coughs, colds and heartburn.”
Patients receive diagnosis, treatment plan and prescriptions usually within an hour
Adult patients can select from a list of nine common medical conditions and complete an online questionnaire about their symptoms. The information is transmitted to one of several primary care physicians to respond.
Typically within an hour, the physician decides on the best course of treatment and sends an email to the patient with a diagnosis and treatment plan. Any prescriptions that are issued as a result of the e-visit are sent to a pharmacy designated by the patient, and the patient then is charged for the visit. The entire e-visit costs $30 payable by credit card (the service isn’t covered by health insurance), which is collected at the beginning of the session but is not charged until diagnosis and treatment is delivered.
“Patients will be able to get a medical evaluation electronically from the comfort of their home for non-urgent conditions commonly treated by a primary care physician,” Hanak said. “People have busy lives, and we want to create convenient and high-quality options that work.”
“Patients who live half an hour or more from the doctor’s office may especially appreciate the service,” he said.
The service is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. In the coming months, Rush is planning further expansion of its e-visit options to include visits for children, additional adult conditions and video visits for acute, non-urgent adult care.
“We are just at the beginning of this virtual journey, and in the future are planning to expand services that engage with patients in ways that are convenient, affordable and easy to access, knowing these are important ways to keep patients connected to Rush for all of their care,” said Dr. Brian Patty, vice president and chief medical information officer at Rush.
“This service represents our commitment to serve the needs of our patients with innovative options that meet them when and where they want to be met,” said Dr. Anthony Perry, vice president of ambulatory transformation at Rush University Medical Center.