4 reasons why virtual care is #trending

Have you ever felt like you were coming down with the flu on a Friday night, just after your doctor's office closed for the weekend? Or ever brought your child to an urgent care clinic for a bout of pink eye because the pediatrician wasn't available?

While it's always wise to check in with your primary care doctor when you're not feeling well, it's sometimes difficult to schedule an appointment on short notice or to find a walk-in clinic open when you need it. The next time you're not feeling well, consider a virtual care appointment instead of an expensive emergency room visit or a long wait at an urgent care clinic.

What is virtual care?

Virtual care offers convenient access to board-certified doctors via video chat and secure online messaging. Get treated online in the comfort of your home, 24/7 and save time and money. Virtual care appointments are most helpful when symptoms signal a mild condition or one your doctor has treated you for before. If your symptoms indicate a more urgent problem or are part of a chronic condition, seek immediate care in-person.

Use virtual care for non-emergencies like:

  • Cough, cold and flu
  • Allergies, bites and stings
  • Headache and sinus problems
  • Sore throats
  • Pink eye

Reasons to choose virtual care

Convenient, time-efficient and affordable, virtual care is a rapidly growing trend in health care. More than half of all U.S. hospitals currently offer this service — and that number is rising, reports the American Telemedicine Association. Consider these four reasons why virtual care might be the right option for you.

  1. 24/7 access to quality health care

    Virtual care can provide quick and ready access to care for people who live in rural areas, who are traveling, or who aren't able to visit their regular doctor. With virtual care, you can receive care anytime, anywhere, with 24/7 access to providers online.
  2. Cost-effective

    Virtual care usually costs you far less out-of-pocket than a trip to an urgent care clinic or emergency room for non-emergency care.
  3. No waiting rooms

    A visit to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic for a mild condition can sometimes mean sitting in a busy waiting room for quite a while. Why do that when you can schedule a virtual care appointment from the comfort of your own home or office? You can even send your physician a secure message through your online MyHealth account if symptoms persist following your appointment.
  4. Coordinated care

    Virtual care can also help doctors monitor and coordinate care for long-term or post-acute care patients. After you've been treated, your provider can send electronic records of your appointment directly to your primary care physician. This keeps everyone up-to-date and your records will be readily available for your next doctor's visit or physical.

More and more hospitals and health care networks have begun using technology to make care more accessible. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services has included "greater use of technology" as one of its Healthy People 2020 objectives for improving the health of all Americans. So, the next time you think about going to the emergency room for a sore throat or the flu, consider saving yourself time and money with virtual care.

Feel like virtual visits are a good option for you? Log in to your MyHealth account and click the MedNow tile to schedule your virtual care appointment.