The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has engendered more than 4,000 eVisits, or digital house calls, since April 2009. The health system has also worked with four payers to get reimbursed for the electronic service.
The eVisit platform makes it possible for non-emergency patients to receive a diagnose and seek treatment over the Internet for 25 different primary care issues, without a physical office visit or waiting for an appointment. The eVisit costs the same as an office visit would. Sinusitis and urinary symptoms top the list of problems for which eVisits have been requested, and the platform’s team evaluates potential new topics, such as the recently-added eVisit for birth control.
Patients can select an eVisit after logging in and fill out a questionnaire giving the healthcare provider any medical data relevant to the eVisit. A response from the physician typically comes within four hours. Initial physician concerns that the eVisits would bog down staffs with overly wordy questionnaires have turned out to be largely unfounded, and in many cases patients are more concise filling out online forms than they would be on the phone.
This program is tightly integrated with UPMC’s Electronic Health Records (EHR) system and patient portal. An EHR such as Allscripts MyWay, Medisoft Clinical, or Lytec MD makes caring for patients and managing their records much more streamlined. Microwize Technology can facilitate with a professional implementation and training package.