Setting Up A Doctor Visit Online


Monday, February 19th 2007, 10:04 am
By: News On 6


With flu season in the air, many people are feeling under the weather. But does just feeling lousy really mean you need to spend the time and money on a doctor visit? Health experts say the answer is often ‘no.’ The News on 6's Heather Lewin reports care for your cold, allergies and more is now just a click away.

Two local doctors are hoping to streamline patient access, much like online banking, with the website docvia.com. But first, patients must have an established doctor who agrees to take online visits.

"Once your doctor validates your account you can do simple things like schedule an appointment, fill a prescription, or ask a nurse question,” CEO Noah Roberts said.

Roberts says the most valuable service is the online visit.

"It allows the patient to get on within 5-7 minutes, complete a template, and find out whether or not you even need to take off work and go see the physician in the first place," he said.

The template asks specific questions about non-urgent medical conditions like allergies or sinus infections. The doctor checks the answers against your patient history and if no visit is needed they send a reply, including a diagnosis and prescription.

The online doctor visit costs $25; other services like scheduling or asking a medical question are free. Roberts says that benefits patients without insurance, also some employers are willing to pay for the visit, knowing no time will be taken off work.

Since the pilot program was launched a year ago, more than 1,300 patients and 50 doctors have signed up.

"We're talking about reducing thousands of non-urgent phone calls and allow, in essence a shortage of health care workers to get more done," said Roberts.

Saving everyone time and money makes it a more efficient trip when you do need to see the doctor, face to face.

You can type in your doctor's name on the docvia website to see if online visits are accepted. Designers say more doctors are expected to sign up in the next three months. And the site will soon offer even more services including online lab results and cell phone access.