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    CVS Offers Doc Visits via Smartphone Video | Health

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

    The telehealth providing will present 24/7 entry to healthcare providers through cell units.

    It’s out there for each Android and iOS in 9 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Virginia. It additionally is obtainable in Washington, D.C.

    “We’re planning to develop to different states within the weeks and months forward,” stated CVS Well being spokesperson Amy Lanctot.

    Guidelines and rules governing telehealth fluctuate drastically by state, she famous.

    “Right now, we’re targeted on the states the place we are able to implement this new digital care providing shortly and effectively,” Lanctot advised TechNewsWorld.

    The service can be rolled out nationwide, the place it is allowed, by the tip of the 12 months.

    “A mix of supportive telemedicine legal guidelines and reimbursement fashions drive what’s out there,” stated Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

    “For instance, telemedicine guidelines in Texas are essentially the most restrictive,” he advised TechNewsWorld.

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

    “Because it’s presently a [paid] service, it is out there to any and all shoppers who reside within the states the place the service is obtainable,” Lanctot famous.

    Insurance coverage protection can 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 Goal shops.

    What the Service Covers

    The service is obtainable to sufferers who’re not less than two years previous. Therapy is proscribed to minor diseases, minor accidents, or a pores and skin situation.

    Among the many minor diseases 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 allergic reactions
    • Sinus infections
    • Sore throats
    • Sexually transmitted ailments
    • Higher respiratory infections
    • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
    • Vomiting

    Accidents coated embody blisters, bug bites, joint pains, minor burns and cuts, sprains, stings and strains.

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

    Circumstances generally affecting ladies, together with UTIs and yeast infections, are also coated.

    Info on the situations handled by means of MinuteClinic Video Visits is obtainable on the CVS Pharmacy app.

    A regular video go to is 15 minutes, “the period of time wanted to deal with most medical situations,” Lanctot stated.

    “The important thing profit right here is expediency,” remarked Rebecca Wettemann, VP of analysis at Nucleus Research.

    The large benefit is “not simply in not ready for an appointment, however in having the ability to entry care from wherever,” she advised TechNewsWorld.

    One doable draw back is “the potential for heavy customers of healthcare, comparable to hypochondriacs, to gum up the system,” urged Michael Jude, program supervisor at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

    Additionally, there’s the potential for legal responsibility points, he advised TechNewsWorld. “What occurs if the situation is acute and the appliance or doctor does not catch it? Who’s liable?”

    How MinuteClinic Video Visits Work

    MinuteClinic Video Visits are initiated by means of the CVS Pharmacy app, which runs on the expertise platform supplied by digital care supplier Teladoc, a CVS companion for the previous three years.

    A affected person first has to finish a well being questionnaire utilizing the cell 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.

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

    The supplier will submit prescriptions to the affected person’s most well-liked pharmacy if a prescription is required as a part of the therapy plan.

    If it is decided that the affected person must be seen in particular person for follow-up care or testing, the supplier will advocate that the affected person go to a neighborhood healthcare supplier, such because the affected person’s major care doctor or a close-by MinuteClinic.

    “The suppliers all observe MinuteClinic’s evidence-based medical pointers, so [patients] will obtain the identical high-quality, reasonably priced and handy care supplied in our in-store clinics,” Lanctot stated.

    The Lengthy Historical past of Telehealth Efforts

    A number of different firms have launched telehealth providers lately in the US. Anthem launched one in 2014.

    HealthSpot, launched in 2012 as an mHealth resolution, 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 Ceremony-Help pharmacies in Ohio. It additionally had relationships with different organizations, together with the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Rainbow Infants and Kids’s Hospital, and the Kettering Well being Community.

    “MinuteClinic has been testing telehealth for a number of years to make sure we develop and scale a service that gives an easy-to-use digital expertise mixed with high-quality medical care,” Lanctot stated. “Our first pilot started in California and Texas in 2014.”

    Throught the pilot, CVS discovered that 95 % of sufferers who opted to obtain a telehealth go to had 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 firms in 2015 — Teladoc, American Properly, and Physician on Demand.

    “Over time, we examined and discovered what works finest for our suppliers and our sufferers and developed a system that’s scalable throughout the nation,” Lanctot remarked.

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

    “Telemedicine typically is heating up resulting from pressures to cut back prices and make medical therapy extra accessible,” Frost’s Jude noticed.

    Telehealth “positively has a spot in U.S. healthcare, and can in all probability fill a niche between self-treatment and in-person therapy,” he urged.

    Telehealth “drives down value of supply on preventative care and addresses points earlier, earlier than they develop into bigger, extra continual healthcare points,” famous Constellation’s Wang, who has a grasp’s diploma in public well being from Johns Hopkins University. “I see this as a powerful public well being initiative.”


    Richard Adhikari has been an ECT Information Community reporter since 2008. His areas of focus embody cybersecurity, cell applied sciences, CRM, databases, software program growth, mainframe and mid-range computing, and software growth. He has written and edited for quite a few publications, together with Info Week and Computerworld. He’s the writer of two books on shopper/server expertise.
    Email Richard.

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