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UPMC AnywhereCare – 'Patients Like It'
By Lois Thomson

Melinda SchriverUPMC AnywhereCare offers convenient, quick, and high-quality care from UPMC providers, and according to Melinda Schriver, "Patients like it."  And why wouldn't they?  With AnywhereCare, people now have the option of using the video camera on their electronic devices 24/7/365 to receive diagnoses and treatment from health care professionals for a range of non-emergency health symptoms

Schriver, senior director of telehealth strategic solutions at UPMC, said, "What's really innovative about this service delivery is that patients can have the visit in their home, or while they're out running errands; if something were to happen, they don't have to go anywhere.  From the convenience of being able to log onto their smartphone or their tablet or computer, they can initiate a visit with one of the UPMC emergency room doctors who are staffing the AnywhereCare service."  The average wait time to be seen by a physician is six-and-a-half minutes.

Natasa Sokolovich, executive director of telehealth services, explained how such treatment is possible.  "When you talk to our providers, they'll often tell you that they are able to diagnose and provide treatment recommendations to patients just by being able to see them, to interact with them visually and via audio; and because we tie in AnywhereCare for patients that have been seen at UPMC to their electronic health record, they also have access to historical clinical or medical information, which allows them to really be able to effectively diagnose and treat patients online."

The cost for a UPMC AnywhereCare on-demand visit can range from $10 to $49, depending on the patient's insurance coverage. If a prescription is needed following the evaluation, the health care professional is able to send it directly to the patient's pharmacy so treatment can begin immediately. Any prescriptions must be paid for separately by the patient.

Schriver continued by saying, "We recognize that we can't do everything remotely through this on-demand model, so we have worked with the providers and have a limited set of conditions that they will see."  Those conditions range from sore throats to upper respiratory illnesses to back pain.  Doctors have indicated that they are able to complete about 90 percent of the visits; but they can use their discretion to schedule a patient for an in-person visit if they feel they don't have enough information, or if they're not certain about their clinical diagnosis, according to Sokolovich.
Launched in November 2016, the enhanced UPMC AnywhereCare services are available to patients across the country, and are seen by UPMC providers when the patient is located in  Pennsylvania.  Sokolovich explained that during the day, doctors are emergency medicine physicians positioned at multiple locations. 

"Overnight, we utilize advance practice providers, nurse practitioners, who are also oftentimes covering the emergency departments.  That clinical skill-set lends itself well to these types of visits, because emergency-trained physicians and clinicians are used to diagnosing and treating a variety of conditions."  The UPMC providers could be located anywhere and treat patients from Pennsylvania because they have a license to practice in Pennsylvania.

Fast, convenient help from professional health care providers.  What's not to like?

For more information, visit https://upmc-anywherecare.com.

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