The Benefits of Virtual Urgent Care
- Sas Ponnapalli
- on Aug 25, 2020
Over the past six months, health care professionals have been put in a position where creative problem solving has been imperative. This type of mindset includes being open to new technologies that can better serve patients with virtual care. Since the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been growing concern from those who need care but have not been able to get to their doctor, especially for those in need of urgent care. What health care providers and patients have found is there are real benefits to virtual urgent care that will become a staple in technology and healthcare beyond this year.
A study published by the NIH entitled “COVID-19 transformers health care through telemedicine: Evidence from the field” gathered data on the effectiveness of virtual care over the course of the COVID 19 pandemic. Looking at hospital and emergency room systems in the New York and New Jersey areas, researchers followed virtual urgent care teams that treated 16,545 COVID 19 pandemic related visits and found that virtual urgent care played a vital role in “expanding emergency room capacity during a pandemic”.
Furthermore, “patients’ satisfaction ratings with telemedicine remained unchanged” despite the fact that the visits were being conducted by “virtually inexperienced providers”. Patients who took advantage of the virtual urgent care were even able to check-in and pay after their telehealth consultations, recreating the experience of an in-person urgent care center visit when such a thing was not feasible.
Another example of the benefits of the virtual urgent care service can be found in Lansing, Michigan at 98point6 Emergicenter, an alternative option to the long waits at the emergency room. Staffed by board-certified emergency physicians, 98point6 Emergicenter provides expedited access to medical care when patients are in real need. However, when the pandemic hit and patients couldn’t come to the physician practice for medical care, 98point6 Emergicenter had to change the way it operated with virtual care.
Knowing it had to enter the realm of telemedicine, 98point6 Emergicenter contacted Beam Health for support. Working hand in hand to make sure the transition to virtual care went smoothly, Beam and 98point6 Emergicenter were able to customize the virtual visit platform to fit the needs of the practice. Beam’s automated text and email campaigns were able to contact patients to alert them of 98point6 Emergicenter’s new telemedicine capabilities and even walked them through the registration process to schedule an appointment. It even assists in how to bill for a telemedicine visit.
“Virtual is where it’s at,” said Dr. Susan Fedewa, owner of 98point6 Emergicenter. “We’re using Beam to continue to provide care to people and hopefully keep the well away from the sick.”
Urgent care is a piece of the health care system that must be maintained and even improved, and utilizing telemedicine is a way to advance and grow. The numbers in New York and New Jersey prove how virtual urgent care can save lives and Beam Health was able to provide assistance to an urgent care practice in need by helping it adapt and then grow awareness in those who would benefit.
Beam Health provides an easily implemented telemedicine offering that can help healthcare practices reach patients in new ways, rather than visiting an urgent care center. Whether you are in urgent care and need to provide a safe avenue for patients to see their doctor, or you are a healthcare provider reaching out to new patients who might not have the time to make it to the clinic, telemedicine is an exciting technology that is improving health care. Contact Beam today to schedule a demo with someone for our team and see how Beam’s top-tier telemedicine platform can improve your practice.