Board-certified caregivers provide a virtual-clinic option to many Washington residents.
UW Medicine today launched its virtual clinic, giving Washington state residents access to care of minor illnesses from the convenience of their home or office, 24 hours a day, for a flat fee of $40.
Board-certified physicians and nurse practitioners based in Seattle consult with patients via phone, tablet or computer using online video applications such as Skype. Patients will receive a medical diagnosis, information about how to treat the issue at home, a referral for additional care and prescriptions, if appropriate. People who lack a regular primary-care provider can receive referrals to one based on their preferences.
Patients can receive consultations at home or work, at all hours.
picture of a man talking with a caregiver via web-based video
The care providers can give guidance for adults and children about flu symptoms, seasonal allergies and minor illnesses such as urinary tract infections. A virtual visit costs $40 and no health insurance is necessary.
Due to federal regulatory restrictions, however, people with government-sponsored health plans such as Medicare or Medicaid cannot receive virtual clinic care. Those callers will be referred to a clinic in their area.
“In the tech-savvy Pacific Northwest, people want high-tech solutions for their urgent health care needs. The UW Medicine Virtual Clinic gives them what they want – an affordable, convenient solution to common health complaints,” said Dr. John Scott, UW associate professor of medicine and medical director of telehealth for UW Medicine. “It’s also great for people new to the area who have not yet engaged in local primary care.”
UW Medicine has contracted with Seattle-based Carena to provide the service. Carena and its medical partner, CareSimple Providers, have significant experience with virtual medical care programs for large, self-insured organizations and health systems.