Lee TeleHealth, virtual care service, offered
Area residents and visitors can now access medical care for minor injuries and sickness from home, thanks to Lee TeleHealth, a virtual care service.
“Lee TeleHealth is a game changer for patients, especially those with hectic lives who might otherwise struggle to find time to make it to the doctor’s office. When it comes to minor sicknesses and injuries, Lee TeleHealth offers the luxury of no more waiting rooms, no more sitting in traffic during season and the option to see a doctor at a time that is convenient for you,” said Kris Fay, chief administrative officer of Lee Physician Group in a prepared statement. “Telemedicine is transforming the way health care providers interact with patients, and we look forward to continue embracing new technology to provide the best possible care.”
Medical Director for Lee Convenient Care Karen Calkins said they introduced Lee TeleHealth to the community because they were looking to provide more access to their patients in the area, whether local, or travelers on vacation.
“It offers a service pretty much 24/7,” she said.
The service is easy to use. All individuals have to do is download Lee TeleHealth from their smartphone app store, or access it through leetelehealth.org from a home computer.
“It’s pretty easy to sign up. Once you register it keeps your information. You don’t have to do it again,” Calkins said.
The service is $49 per “visit” and provides an individual with the opportunity to talk with a board certified physician, or advanced provider, through their smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Calkins said at the moment patients have to pay $49 for the visit because a lot of insurance companies are not covering this type of service yet. The hope is eventually to bring on insurance.
“Once you download the app on your phone it will bring up the waiting room with a list of providers working that day. You can choose to pick the next provider available, or pick someone you have seen before,” Calkins said. “Then you type in your basic complaint, a cough, fever, or sore throat, what kind of medicines your taking, what your allergies are. It will all be stored, so you don’t have to do the history again. Then it will do a video conference call with the provider and they will help you. It’s pretty user friendly.”
Conditions patients may want treated via Lee TeleHealth include flu-like symptoms; sore throat; rashes, because you can see rashes on the camera; some sprains, abdominal pain and urinary tract infection. Other symptoms might include a sinus infection, pink eye, headaches, allergies and a cough.
Pediatric patients also can be seen through this service.
Calkins said she has been asked if the physician cannot touch the patient, how can they provide a diagnosis. It can be done through virtual clues such as looking at the patient’s breathing and their complexion’s color.
If a thorough examination is required, the physician will refer the patient to a Lee Convenient Care, or a Lee Physician Group doctor.
“If a prescription is warranted, we can do that electronically. They can pick up the prescription from the pharmacy,” Calkins said.
Patients who are part of the Lee Health system and use Lee TeleHealth will have their virtual visit scanned and put into their chart, so that history is there.
“It all becomes a part of their medical records,” she said.
The visits are all encrypted to protect private information and patients can expect to receive the same kind of care that they would receive in an office.
“I’m a big fan,” Calkins said of Lee TeleHealth. “I think it is up and coming for the future. You can go to your yearly visit with primary care. If there is a follow up with lab work, or medicine, you can do that with a conference visit. You can stay home.”
There are many other options that can be included in Lee TeleHealth. Some of the things they are looking into is offering referrals to specialists, which can be done through Lee TeleHealth.
“You can schedule a consult that way,” which she said is great for those living in rural areas. “I was just at a TeleHealth conference. It’s pretty amazing what people are doing with it already.”
Lee TeleHealth, which has already opened for the community to use, has received a lot of sign-ups, but not a lot of visits yet.
“We are trying to get the word out. It is an option and it is available,” Calkins said.