See Your Doctor Without Leaving Your Home

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Getting into the doctor’s office can sometimes be a hassle, but what if you could get the treatment you need without ever leaving your home?

It’s already happening and some patients say they’ll never go back to the doctor’s office again.

If you could consult your doctor without actually going into the office, would you do that? Some local doctors are now offering such online visits, called e-visits.

“These are for run of the mill, everyday symptoms. Back pain, sinus infections, urinary tract infections, things that we deal with on an ongoing basis. And patients want alternatives to coming to the office,” Dr. Grant Shevchik with UPMC Partners in Health said.

It’s for patients the doctor has already met in person with symptoms on a list of 20 specified conditions. Some of the conditions include, pink eye, rash and erectile dysfunction.

The patient would sign in to the secure system with a password, answer questions, and submit the information.

“I think it’s as safe as anything else you might want to use on the Internet. I mean, you take chances when you’re on the Internet, but no, I wasn’t concerned about that,” Michelle Pochiba said.

The process takes five minutes. She has an answer back from the doctor within 30 minutes and a prescription electronically sent to her pharmacy. Her insurance covers it. If it didn’t, it’s a flat charge of $30.

“We used to get eight or nine a week. We’re now getting eight or nine a day. Our busiest day was 18. Our oldest patient last week was 92,” Dr. Shevchik said.

The doctor who gets the e-visit request has the patient’s record in front of them in the computer, so past problems, current medications, allergies and test results are right there.

“As long as I have a laptop and I can connect with the Internet, I can be anywhere. So can patients. That’s what’s neat. So, snowbirds can do it, kids who go to college are another one that’s worked out really well,” Dr. Shevchik said.

Not everything is appropriate to address through an e-visit. Pain so bad you think you need narcotics, for example, or issues related to a chronic condition, like multiple sclerosis.

If those types of questions are brought up under the “other” category, Dr. Shevchik has them come in to the office.

For more information about this service:

UPMC HealthTrak

  • Christina

    How do you get on it

  • Rosie Kiefer-kihn

    well theres no link to check it out…when will u post that

  • Rosie Kiefer-kihn

    keep us updated

  • Jim Moucheron

    you talked about this service, where’s the link

  • Jennifer

    Ask your doctor. They have to participate in UPMC Healthtrak.

  • Lotti

    Not surprising UPMC would come up with this. They have to many patients to see them all in person, so do it by computer. How much do they charge your insurance company for this? Do insurances even cover it? Shouldn’t it be less, & is there still a co-pay for an “office visit”. So, basically, you diagnose yourself, to make sure it fits in the categories? And they prescribe drugs without seeing you? If you give your password to people in say your dorm, can they get drugs too for the sinus infection? Doesn’t sound to safe to me.

  • Janet

    I have done this and it worked really well. Prompt reply from my dr and a prescription right to my pharmacy that I could pick up on my way home. The questions were pretty specific about my symptoms , just like I was in the drs office

  • Joseph Puskar

    honestly this is not a good patient service!! if you have a car and it has a problem can u call a mechanic and figue it out online with a 100 percent guarantee we can figure out in this way? our body is def not worth chancing an online doctor…….wow. and they charge 30.00 just for 5 min worth of typing when doc doesnt do anything…the secretary is basically diagnosing you….yikes…..people …go to your local walgreen there doctor will see you anytime for low fee ..!!

  • Gary S. Fischer, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh

    As a doctor who conducts eVisits, I see this is just one of many ways that I can make myself available to my patients. There is nothing new about patients being treated for some conditions without being seen – people call their doctors on the telephone all the time. But eVisits have an advantage over the telephone, since patients get a questionnaire asking for details about the problem, which they can complete at their own convenience, and provides more detail than is often possible in a phone call. At UPMC, doctors read and respond to eVisits – other staff are involved only if they are needed to help schedule tests, etc – so the patient hears directly from a doctor without someone else relaying the message (which may occur with phone calls). The doctor can review the patient’s electronic chart when making decisions, and the messages are all saved in the chart for the primary care physician to review (if it is not the PCP answering the eVisit).

    I will not complete an eVisit if I think that I cannot safely do it without the patient coming in (in which case there is no charge). Some insurance companies, including the UPMC Health Plan, will pay for eVisits. If insurance does pay, the co-pay is set by the insurance company, not by us.

  • Lar

    I like this idea . We currently do not have a car and in this weather, walking to a bus is murder on my hips and legs. I can not afford a taxi. $12 for 2 miles one way. Major things I would see a doctor in person, but some things I could see using it for.

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