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CVS Offers Doc Visits through Smartphone Video | Health

CVS Health’a retail
MinuteClinic on Wednesday introduced MinuteClinic Video Visits, a brand new digital healthcare providing designed to help folks with minor sicknesses and accidents, pores and skin situations, and different wellness wants.

The telehealth providing will present 24/7 entry to healthcare companies through cellular units.

It is on the market for each Android and iOS in 9 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Virginia. It additionally is on the market in Washington, D.C.

“We are planning to expand to other states in the weeks and months ahead,” stated CVS Health spokesperson Amy Lanctot.

Rules and rules governing telehealth differ tremendously by state, she famous.

“At this time, we are focused on the states where we can implement this new virtual care offering quickly and efficiently,” Lanctot advised TechNewsWorld.

The service will probably be rolled out nationwide, the place it is allowed, by the top of the 12 months.

“A combination of supportive telemedicine laws and reimbursement models drive what’s available,” stated Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“For example, telemedicine rules in Texas are the most restrictive,” he advised TechNewsWorld.

A MinuteClinic Video Visit prices US$59, payable by credit score or debit card.

“Since it’s currently a [paid] service, it’s available to any and all consumers who live in the states where the service is offered,” Lanctot famous.

Insurance protection will probably be added in coming months.

CVS has greater than 9,800 retail areas and greater than 1,100 walk-in MinuteClinic areas in 33 states and the District of Columbia. All are situated in choose CVS Pharmacy and Target shops.

What the Service Covers

The service is on the market to sufferers who are at the very least two years outdated. Treatment is restricted to minor sicknesses, minor accidents, or a pores and skin situation.

Among the minor sicknesses coated by the MinuteClinic Video Visits service:

  • Coughs and bronchitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Earaches and ear infections
  • Flu-like signs
  • Gout
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Pink eye
  • Seasonal allergy symptoms
  • Sinus infections
  • Sore throats
  • Sexually transmitted ailments
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Vomiting

Injuries coated embrace blisters, bug bites, joint pains, minor burns and cuts, sprains, stings and strains.

Skin situations embrace athlete’s foot, eczema, impetigo, lice, minor psoriasis, poison ivy and oak reactions, ringworm, scabies, shingles, pores and skin rash, sunburn and warts.

Conditions generally affecting girls, together with UTIs and yeast infections, are also coated.

Information on the situations handled by way of MinuteClinic Video Visits is on the market on the CVS Pharmacy app.

A normal video go to is 15 minutes, “the amount of time needed to handle most medical conditions,” Lanctot stated.

“The key benefit here is expediency,” remarked Rebecca Wettemann, VP of analysis at Nucleus Research.

The massive benefit is “not just in not waiting for an appointment, but in being able to access care from anywhere,” she advised TechNewsWorld.

One doable downside is “the potential for heavy users of healthcare, such as hypochondriacs, to gum up the system,” prompt Michael Jude, program supervisor at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

Also, there may be the potential for legal responsibility points, he advised TechNewsWorld. “What happens if the condition is acute and the application or physician doesn’t catch it? Who’s liable?”

How MinuteClinic Video Visits Work

MinuteClinic Video Visits are initiated by way of the CVS Pharmacy app, which runs on the know-how platform offered by digital care supplier Teladoc, a CVS associate for the previous three years.

A affected person first has to finish a well being questionnaire utilizing the cellular app. The service then will present entry to a board-certified healthcare supplier licensed within the affected person’s state. The supplier will overview the finished questionnaire with the affected person’s medical historical past and begin the video go to.

During the go to, the supplier will assess the affected person’s situation and decide the suitable course of treatment following evidence-based medical care tips.

The supplier will submit prescriptions to the affected person’s most popular pharmacy if a prescription is required as a part of the treatment plan.

If it is decided that the affected person needs to be seen in particular person for follow-up care or testing, the supplier will suggest that the affected person go to an area healthcare supplier, such because the affected person’s main care doctor or a close-by MinuteClinic.

“The providers all follow MinuteClinic’s evidence-based clinical guidelines, so [patients] will receive the same high-quality, affordable and convenient care provided in our in-store clinics,” Lanctot stated.

The Long History of Telehealth Efforts

Several different corporations have launched telehealth companies lately within the United States. Anthem launched one in 2014.

HealthSpot, launched in 2012 as an mHealth answer, declared chapter in 2016. It had raised US$48 million in funding and constructed about 190 kiosks, 54 of which had been deployed, together with 25 at Rite-Aid pharmacies in Ohio. It additionally had relationships with different organizations, together with the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, and the Kettering Health Network.

“MinuteClinic has been testing telehealth for several years to ensure we develop and scale a service that provides an easy-to-use virtual experience combined with high-quality clinical care,” Lanctot stated. “Our first pilot began in California and Texas in 2014.”

Throught the pilot, CVS found that 95 p.c of sufferers who opted to obtain a telehealth go to have been extremely happy with the standard of care they obtained, the comfort of utilizing the service, and the general telehealth expertise.

CVS started collaborating with three telehealth corporations in 2015 — Teladoc, American Well, and Doctor on Demand.

“Over the years, we tested and learned what works best for our providers and our patients and developed a system that is scalable across the country,” Lanctot remarked.

Walgreens, Anthem and RiteAid all introduced telemedicine efforts final month.

“Telemedicine generally is heating up due to pressures to reduce costs and make medical treatment more accessible,” Frost’s Jude noticed.

Telehealth “definitely has a place in U.S. healthcare, and will probably fill a gap between self-treatment and in-person treatment,” he prompt.

Telehealth “drives down cost of delivery on preventative care and addresses issues earlier, before they become larger, more chronic healthcare issues,” famous Constellation’s Wang, who has a grasp’s diploma in public well being from Johns Hopkins University. “I see this as a strong public health initiative.”



Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus embrace cybersecurity, cellular applied sciences, CRM, databases, software program improvement, mainframe and mid-range computing, and utility improvement. He has written and edited for quite a few publications, together with Information Week and Computerworld. He is the creator of two books on shopper/server know-how.
Email Richard.

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