Sanford Health's e-Visits Aim to Deliver Convenient, Efficient Care

According to a recent Pew survey, 35 percent of American adults have gone online in an attempt to diagnose themselves or someone else. Now, patients at Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health have the ability to consult online with a Sanford physician with almost the same number of keystrokes.

Through their My Sanford Chart personal health record portal, patients can fill out a questionnaire and write a 250-character description of their medical issue. A Sanford Health provider will return their message within four business hours, responding with recommendations or prescriptions, or helping the patient schedule an appointment to be seen by a provider.

The e-visit costs $55, and can be used by patients with the following conditions: Sinus infection, pink eye, urinary tract infection, vaginal discharge, diarrhea, back pain or cough. Patients must also be active My Sanford Chart users who have seen a Sanford provider in the past three years. They must also be over the age of 18 and residents of South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa or Nebraska.

Sanford Health is not the only provider offering virtual, on-demand care for minor illnesses. One Medical Group, a San Francisco-based practice, is currently using Google Helpouts as a platform to offer telemedicine consults to its patients, and in November, KentuckyOne Health in Louisville began offering similar virtual consults to any state resident.

However, Sanford's program is designed to be even more convenient than a video consult, allowing busy patients with minor illnesses or medical conditions to submit a simple form electronically to get the care they need shortly thereafter.

"E-visits allow patients experiencing common medical conditions to seek care at their convenience," says Terri Carlson, vice president of Sanford Clinic. "This tool, which improves access to providers, encourages patient engagement and enhances care."

More Articles on e-Visits:

WellPoint's Telemedicine Service Saves Patients $71 per Visit
American Telemedicine Association Urges Feds to Lift Telemedicine Restrictions
FCC Announces New Health IT-Focused Task Force

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