Rockwood Health System, which operates Deaconess and Valley Hospitals in Spokane, recently launched VirtualHealthNow, which allows patients to have a doctor visit via a mobile device, tablet or computer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The system gives patients more convenient access to health care providers, especially when their primary care physician’s office is closed.
The system is ideal for minor health concerns — such as sinus problems, fever, flu symptoms and stomach pain — that would otherwise require a trip to an urgent care clinic. Like with an in-person doctor visit, the doctor will diagnose the patient and, when necessary, send prescriptions to a pharmacy. VirtualHealthNow costs $39 to use, and patients can use their Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Account cards to pay for it.
This is one of many examples of hospitals and health systems using technology to make it easier to access health care when, where and how patients need it.