ThedaCare links Patients and Doctors Electronically, No Clinic Visit Required
In an age when electronic communication often helps simplify and speed access to information, last May ThedaCare launched patient e-Visits with primary care providers. E-Visits do not require patients to go into a clinic to be seen in person by a care provider; rather, patients log on to their MyThedaCare private web account, select what they want to be “seen” for, and answer several questions specific to their ailment. Within two hours, they will receive a response from their physician, including a plan of care and a prescription, if needed.
Holly Hedge, a nurse practitioner at ThedaCare Physicians-Oshkosh, said patient convenience and cost figured heavily into the decision to develop e-Visits. “An e-visit costs $35, less than a visit to a traditional clinic setting or FastCare, and the service is available anytime from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.”
“When you don’t feel well, or your schedule is tight, an e-visit is just easier. You also help others avoid getting sick when you stay at home,” Hedge said. E-Visits can prevent patients from having to go out in bad weather, too. “We’ve seen a real bump in e-Visits throughout the winter months.”
Upon receiving an e-Visit request from a patient, ThedaCare providers access the patient’s electronic medical record to review current prescriptions, drug allergies, and past history. The provider also enters information about the e-Visit into the patient’s record. “The patient’s primary care team is responding to e-Visit requests,” Hedge said, “which means there’s a history there that both the health care provider and the patient can trust.”
In the first year of e-Visits by ThedaCare, nearly 1900 such visits were completed, and 98 percent of patients surveyed found the format to be easy or very easy to use. Sinus infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs) were the top two conditions treated. Patients can use an e-Visit for a limited number of conditions, including acne, pinkeye, diaper rash, influenza, lice, seasonal and environmental allergies, upper respiratory/sinus illness, urinary tract infections, stomach flu, and vaginal yeast infections.
E-Visits are available to ThedaCare patients who have a primary care provider. If current patients do not have a MyThedaCare account, they can contact their physician’s office and get an access code to set up the secure account. MyThedaCare allows patients for free to send messages to their doctor’s office, request prescription refills, schedule appointments, view test results and access their medical history.
Are you looking for a doctor to help you and your family get and stay healthy? Call ThedaCare On Call at (920) 830-6877 or go to www.thedacare.org and click on “Find a Doctor” to get connected.