Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

June 11, 2014

Getting health help from home via computer

TRAVERSE CITY – Health screening has a new meaning with Priority Health’s virtual visits program, in which patients can speak with doctors anytime using the Internet or phone.

“Everyone talks about the consumer experience and being consumer-centric, but you know in the healthcare world there are so many things that aren’t consumer-friendly,” said Joan Budden, chief marketing officer for Priority Health, a Michigan-based health insurance provider.

Priority Health this year began contracting with MDLIVE, a company that provides online healthcare services and software.

The insurer covers patients’ virtual visits with MDLIVE doctors or other primary care physicians that provide phone or online visits.

“It’s intended for moms who have three kids, or busy working people, or during the weekend if you have a situation and need to see a physician and the physician’s office isn’t open,” Budden said.

More than 1,000 patients registered to use the virtual visits program for issues like headaches, sinus infections, pulled muscles and other non-emergencies.

Records from virtual visits are shared with patients’ primary care physicians.

“This is actually getting the care and getting a quick prescription that you know you need,” Budden said.

Budden expects the technology to grow and be used for things such as disease monitoring.

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