As primary care physicians and hospitals look to avoid being overwhelmed by potential COVID-19 patients, Children’s Health is offering free screening via their app. The Virtual Visit app is available to children and adults, allowing a physician to determine if a patient needs to be tested and keeping them out of the doctor’s office.
Children’s Health has full time telemedicine providers who take the virtual visits and connect the patient with their primary care provider, or arrange for the patient to be set up with one. With the COVID-19 outbreak, the screenings have been made free as Children’s Health communicates their diagnosis to their primary care physician, who can approve the patient to be tested at one of the testing centers that have been set up over the past week. This keeps the patient away from others and out of the office, conserving the personal protective equipment that is becoming scarce all over the country. It also prevents the testing sites from being overwhelmed with potential patients, and only sends those who really need it.
If the patient doesn’t already have a primary care physician, Children’s Health utilizes its network of practices to find an appropriate provider for the customer, whether they need a federal qualified health center or have private insurance.
Even though it is a pediatric hospital, Children’s Health vice president and medical director of Network Development and Innovation Dr. Stormee Williams says they see more adult patients than children on the app. “Pediatric patients have parents and are at risk for the disease,” she says. “Even though we see the child, we have to focus on the entire family, making sure that every day we are prepared.”
Williams says that the app is being used as much for mental health as for physical. “What we are finding is that most of the patients who log on want reassurance for their kids, and to know that whatever plan they are coming up with is the correct one.”