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Telemedicine Enables 'Skip the Trip' to the ER Option

By HealthLeaders Media News  
   July 13, 2016

Patients connect with hospital staff via its website, which promises to provide speedy diagnoses for common ailments for a set fee.

St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, CT has launched an online diagnosis and treatment service with the hopes that the technology will free up its clinicians. The hospital is promoting the service by telling patients to "skip the trip!" to the ED.

The website connects patients with St. Vincent staff and promises to provide speedy diagnosis and treatment for common ailments, such as colds, conjunctivitis, eczema, and bladder infections.

"With, patients can skip the trip to the doctor's office and still get the care they need, when and how they need it," Dianne Auger, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for St. Vincent's Medical Center, told local media.

"We are excited to be at the leading edge of this new technology, which is taking healthcare beyond bricks and mortar and into the virtual realm."

The service, which is powered by online diagnosis provider Zipnosis, will diagnose patients for a set fee of $35. Patients begin a virtual visit by filling out an online interview that is similar to what they would experience during an in-person visit. Then, the patient's symptoms and medical history are forwarded to a St. Vincent's provider for review and diagnosis.

Once that's complete—usually an hour later, according to the hospital—the patient will receive a text or email alert. If the clinician determines the patient needs a prescription or follow-up appointment, they can make the arrangements online.

"Not only have patients found it convenient and easy to navigate, they appreciate the relatively low cost for this care," said Frank Scifo, MD, medical director at St. Vincent's MultiSpecialty Group.

"It has enhanced both the patient and provider experience because care is available when physician offices or convenient care sites are closed or may not be easily accessible."

Telemedicine services are available to patients 24/7. St. Vincent's is promoting the service on its homepage and across social media.

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