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May 22, 2019

UCHealth Virtual Visit Connects Patients to Providers in a Pinch

I don’t know about you, but my family and I seem to get sick at the worst possible time. Late at night, on the weekend, or right before a big trip, one of us is bound to fall ill. After spending months planning to meet up with my mom in my home state of Tennessee to celebrate the wedding of a lifelong family friend, an unexpected illness almost kept me from traveling.

I have to admit that I panicked when I woke up the day of my trip experiencing the tell-tale symptoms of a dreaded urinary tract infection. Of course, there was no time to get an appointment with my primary care physician, Dr. Mitra Razzaghi, at the UCHealth WISH Clinic before my mid-morning flight. And if you’ve had a UTI before, you know how miserable it can be without treatment.

Virtual Visit to the Rescue

Fortunately, I remembered seeing a virtual appointment option on my UCHealth mobile app (also known as My Health Connection). I made an appointment with the 24/7 program at the time that worked best for me, and within a couple hours I was using my phone to video chat with a UCHealth provider to discuss my symptoms. All while my husband drove me to the airport.

I made it to the wedding with my mom thanks to my virtual appointment!

After confirming I indeed was experiencing a UTI, the provider called in an antibiotic to my local pharmacy and shared the visit information with my primary care provider. When I landed, I went to straight the closest affiliated pharmacy to get my prescription transferred and filled. Phew! Weekend saved!

The visit was covered by my insurance, but if you need to self-pay the fee is only $49. And, if your child gets sick, you can use Virtual Visit for them, too, as long as you are present for the video appointment.

Virtual Visit was perfect for my mini medical crisis, and can be used to treat or address the following conditions:

  • Cough
  • Cold/flu
  • Pink eye
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Sinus infection
  • Sore throat
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Vomiting/diarrhea

Obviously, don’t use Virtual Visit for an emergency or for any symptoms that could be serious like chest pain or trouble breathing – and don’t do a video chat while driving (yes, it happens!).

If you request an appointment and providers determine you should not be seen through Virtual Visit, they will recommend another option to receive care. Or, if during the Virtual Visit, the provider thinks you need to be seen in person, you won’t pay for the appointment as long as you see someone in the UCHealth system. (See this handy guide for where to go if you’re deciding between urgent care and the ER.)

Convenience Care at Work or Home

I spoke to Dr. Chris Davis, medical director for Virtual Health at UCHealth about why they began offering this service to the community.

“The power of convenience is enormous,” Davis told me. “Innovation is part of the culture of UCHealth and we’re excited to be using technology to help patients connect with physicians for certain medical issues without ever having to leave their home or office.”

To connect to Virtual Visit, you need a smart phone, computer or tablet with a working webcam and sound (speakers and/or a microphone). You can download My Health Connection, the free UCHealth app on the App store or Google play for the best Virtual Visit experience. Learn more at Virtual Visit here.

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