(TNS) — Need health care assistance? There's an app for that.
One of middle Tennessee's largest care centers has launched a new mobile app designed to provide patients with urgent care services through face-to-face contact with physicians using a mobile video conferencing platform.
Using Maury Regional ondemand, patients download the mobile app, create an account and use the camera on a smartphone or tablet to connect with a provider.
The app is available for download on iPhone and Android devices. Users can also use a personal computer with camera and audio features to access services at MauryRegionalondemand.com.
The service is designed to supplement existing primary care and urgent care services, with availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week including when the patient is traveling or when their physician's office is closed. The service's features include an average wait time of less than 10 minutes and prescriptions sent to a pharmacy of the patient's choosing.
"We don't want this to interfere with the primary care provider," said Mark Kirschbaum, vice president of population health for Maury Regional. "This is for for what we would call minor illnesses. From headaches to bronchitis, a Maury Regional on-demand urgent care provider can help."
Kirshbaum and Maury Regional Marketing Director Rita Williams Thompson said the app was designed to give patients access to care easily and quickly, for minor illnesses allowing employees to receive care from their desk at work and parents to help their sick child without the constraints of regular business hours, or making a trip to the emergency room for minor illnesses.
"We are really working hard to make it incredibly easy for patients to get access to care," Kirschbaum said.
He said the service will also create additional convenience and efficiency for diabetes care and the management of other chronic illnesses.
Services are offered at $69 and the local program is connected with American Well, a major presence in the telehealth industry.
Maury Regional says insurance is not filed on the patient's behalf but a patient may choose to use the receipt to submit for reimbursement. As coverage may vary, Maury Regional encourages patients to contact their insurance provider for more information.
Since launching in October, Kirshbaum said several patients have registered to use Maury Regional ondemand but only one has called in for care using the service.
"We are going to try to promote it during this open enrollment season," Thompson said.
The two say they expect to see an increase in the service's use as flu season continues and the medical center continues to make patients aware of the new service.
The Move To Telemedicine
Telemedicine is a fast growing service of the health care industry in the digital age.
Chiron Health reports that there are currently about 200 active telehealth networks with more than 3,500 service sites. More than half of all hospitals in the U.S. offer some form of telehealth services. The telehealth services are expected to reach $93.45 billion in value by 2026, up from $21.56 billion in 2017.
"We are preparing ourselves for the future," Kirshbaum said.
With an average wait time between five and seven minutes, Maury Regional says the new program is more affordable than a visit to the emergency room and any needed prescriptions can be sent to a pharmacy of the patents choosing.
Urgent Care With Maury Regional
Maury Regional Medical Center opened its first urgent care operation at its central campus in Columbia in 2013. Over the past six years, Maury Regional has added two more locations to its service area in Spring Hill and Neapolis.
"For those in the north Columbia area, our new urgent care location will be a convenient and cost-effective option for non-emergency illnesses and injuries," said Maury Regional Health CEO Alan Watson said when the Neapolis location was opened this summer.
The urgent care locations offer walk-in services for conditions such as common illnesses, minor cuts, sprains, strains and other minor injuries.
The new location also offers a prescription dispensary giving patients the option to receive antibiotics and other non-recurring medications at the care center.
"We are trying to provide a convenient service for patients, which is what they want," Watson said.
©2019 The Daily Herald (Columbia, Tenn.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.