Technological advances in medicine are occurring at a rapid pace, with more and more electronic devices to access almost any location and perform many functions once impossible to do.
One of the latest advances is MedNow, from Spectrum Health.
Spectrum Health’s Stacee English, gave a presentation at a TechTalk program sponsored by the Barry County Chamber of Commerce at Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital Tuesday.
There are two pieces to MedNow, English said. E-Visits and Video Visits.
E-visits are done through a secure online messaging exchange with a medical provider who gives medical advice through a My Health account after completing a questionnaire describing your symptoms. E-visits are not for emergencies, urgent conditions or questions needing an immediate response. An e-visit will never cost more than $25.
A Video Visit provides direct, real time visits to a Grand Rapids-based Spectrum specialist for low acuity conditions. It can be accomplished with a webcam and smart phone, I-Pod, or computers anywhere there is a strong internet connection, and requires an e-mail address.
Using special equipment, a doctor can take vital signs and other tests with a patient and show the results to a specialist in Grand Rapids with images of good clarity that can be enlarged and sound that can be turned up. A Video Visit will never cost more than $45.
Online primary care with a doctor 24/7 includes allergies, bites and stings, colds, cough and flu, heartburn, nausea/vomiting pink eye, rash and hives sinus problems, sprains and strains, fever and headache and more. A report of every MedNow visit is sent to the person’s primary care physician as part of their medical history and so the physician can follow up if necessary. //
Director of the MedNow program, Jeremy Bainbridge, said the first use of telemedicine was on July 14, 2014. “It’s a very exciting opportunity,” he said.
There is no difference in quality of care with other state using the technology, and tracking use of antibiotics shows physicians prescribe less when using technology than during face to face visits, he added.
To a question about making mistakes without touching patients, Bainbridge said: “We try very hard to make sure we can triage and send them to the appropriate place. We’re looking for the right people to see.” If a referral is needed, to an emergency room for example, the specialist will help smooth the way for that visit, he said.
“We do robust tracking on all sorts of information, English said. Eighty percent are comfortable with the technology.”
Currently, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan and Priority Health offer coverage of e-Visit and Video visits, Medicare does not. The Spectrum telemedicine service is for any Michigan resident over the age of three. For much more information and complete lists of problems cared for by E-Visit or Video Visit, go to mednow.specturmhealth.org.