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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.
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