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West Orange Times & Observer Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 1 month ago

Orlando Health expands Virtual Visits system

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Patients can connect with a doctor using a smartphone, tablet or computer to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan for non-emergency symptoms.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

A digital tool offered by Orlando Health has made doctors visits a little more convenient.

Adult patients seeking out convenient, quality care now have 24-hour access to certified physicians through the expansion of Orlando Health’s Virtual Visit system. Patients suffering from non-emergency symptoms, such as a rash, pink eye, or sore throat and cough, can receive care anytime and anywhere through the Orlando Health Virtual Visit app. 

“Our Orlando Health Virtual Visit program is an online 24/7, 365 … virtual urgent care,” said Jonathan Baker-McBride, who is the corporate manager of telehealth, telecare and remote-patient monitoring at Orlando Health. “Patients are able to connect to it any time of day. (They’ll) fill in any basic intake information and all the sort of stuff you would do if you went to your doctor’s office (such as) height, weight, medications you’re on (and) health conditions.” 

By using a smartphone, tablet or computer, patients can connect with a doctor in real time to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan. Those who use the Virtual Visit system will be able to connect with a doctor and receive their diagnosis and treatment plan in a fraction of the time it would take for a traditional doctors visit. Additionally, required prescriptions can be sent to a patient’s local pharmacy for pick up.

“You’re able to (see a doctor) in a relatively short period of time — we usually have less than a 10-minute wait time,” Baker-McBride said. “It’s kind of designed for — what we would say to be — low-acuity conditions, so things that may not necessarily require a test or a physical examination. That extends out to cold and flu symptoms, nausea, stomach aches and things along those lines. … You can choose between a video and a phone call. We recommend doing a video call, because there’s a lot more that can be garnered by taking a look at the patient and their condition as opposed to describing it over the phone.” 

Previously, Orlando Health’s Virtual Visit system only was accessible to Orlando Health employees and parents of pediatric patients seeking treatment. Now that the system has been released to the general public, everyone has access to Orlando Health’s most convenient service offering. At a flat-rate cost of $49 per visit for those with and without insurance, using the Virtual Visit system can be a more cost-efficient alternative than a trip to an urgent care facility or emergency room, Baker-McBride said.

“We see it as (an) expansion of how we deliver care out into the community,” Baker-McBride said. “We have a very wide and very comprehensive network of primary care physicians and specialists coupled with urgent care and our emergency rooms, but there’s still a gap in coverage. Providing access to patients is really what health care has needed. It’s more access and more avenues to get the care they need when they need it.”

“Orlando Health is committed to doing all we can to provide the best care to our patients,” said Greg Ohe, who is the senior vice president of ambulatory services at Orlando Health. “This commitment requires us to have as many touch points available as possible, so that patients can access quality health care when needed. The expansion of Orlando Health Virtual Visit represents another expansion of our efforts to create a robust telemedicine infrastructure and it demonstrates our desire to serve our patients well, anytime and anywhere.”

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and the West Orange Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. Contact Eric at...

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