Technology has transformed our lives as well as the health care landscape, and Swedish Health Services is taking an approach focusing on innovation to meet patients’ needs and make health care simpler and more convenient. In the last several months, Swedish launched two new initiatives to improve its care.
At the end of 2015, the health system launched Swedish Health eXpress, a telemedicine service in partnership with Providence Health and Services that allows patients to see a provider via a virtual appointment within minutes and at a lower cost than a typical office visit, getting treatment for many common ailments. The service is available from 8am to midnight every day, and it costs $39, which can be billed to insurance.
In February, Swedish also opened its first three Swedish Express Care clinics in partnership with Walgreens, allowing patients who prefer to see providers in person to do so closer to home. Patients can book same-day appointments at an express care clinic online. Together, Swedish and Walgreens plan to open additional express care clinics in the greater Seattle area in the next two years.
Improvements that place patients first make getting the right care easier and helps keep the community healthier. Telemedicine, while especially helpful in rural areas, also has great benefits in urban communities for those who have trouble making it in for a physical appointment. This, coupled with expanded access to meet the need for care, make for a healthier community, which is among WSHA’s core strategies. (Tim Pfarr)