UnitedHealthcare launched a new app this week that enables its millions of members to access on-demand virtual doctor visits on their smartphones, computers and other devices.
WHY IT MATTERS
The app, which will over time replace the healthcare provider's Health4Me app, connects patients with doctors 24 hours a day for digital visits to diagnose non-emergency medical conditions like allergies, influenza, colds, pinkeye, fevers and rashes.
Physicians can also prescribe medications and send prescriptions to local pharmacies for pickup through the digital visits, which typically take 20 minutes for non-emergencies, according to UnitedHealthcare.
There are more than 27 million people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare health benefit plans that are eligible to use the app. Available for Apple and Android, it allows access to healthcare consumers to access their health plan ID card on their smartphone, review and manage prescriptions and view information on deductible and out-of-pocket spending.
It also helps users locate nearby physicians and hospitals through GPS technology, which the company says can help patients in need care when they are out of town.
UnitedHealthcare touts the app as a money-saver for patients who use it to avoid going to the emergency room, which the company says is more expensive than virtual visits, which generally cost about $50.
About 25% of emergency room visits involve conditions that could be addressed with a virtual visit; ER treatment for low-severity conditions costs an average $740, according to UnitedHealthcare.
THE LARGER TREND
UnitedHealthcare chief medical officer Anne Docimo said the new app is part of UnitedHealth Group's more than $3 billion annual investment into data, technology and innovation.
Implementing more virtual care solutions is a top priority for many employers, 51% of companies currently planning to do so according to a 2019 study by the National Business Group on Health.
That expansion of services is considered critical, according to UnitedHealthcare, for people with chronic conditions, as well as the 20% of the U.S. population that live in rural areas where healthcare is often lacking.
ON THE RECORD
"Digital health resources are fundamentally changing how people navigate the health system, making it possible to access care from anywhere at any time and helping remove barriers to care," said Docimo.
Max Sullivan is a freelance writer and reporter who, in addition to writing about healthcare, has covered business stories, municipal government, education and crime.
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.
联合医疗( UnitedHealthcare )本周推出了一款新应用，使其数百万会员能够在智能手机、电脑和其他设备上按需访问虚拟医生。
什么是 IT 问题
随着时间的推移，这款应用将取代医疗服务提供商的 Health4Me 应用程序，它将患者与医生每天24小时进行数字访问，以诊断诸如过敏、流感、感冒、小钥匙、发烧和皮疹等非紧急医疗状况。
据 UnitedHealthcare 称，医生还可以开出药物处方，并将处方送到当地药店，以便通过数字拜访来取药。非紧急情况通常需要20分钟。
有超过2700万人参加了联合健康医疗福利计划，有资格使用该应用程序。苹果( Apple )和安卓( Android )都可以通过智能手机访问医疗保健消费者的健康计划 ID 卡，审查和管理处方，并查看有关可扣除和自费支出的信息。
它还帮助用户通过 GPS 技术找到附近的医生和医院，该公司说，这可以帮助需要照顾的病人时，他们外出。
联合医疗公司（ UnitedHealthcare ）称，这款应用对于那些为了避免去急诊室而使用它的患者来说是一种省钱的应用。该公司称，这款应用的价格比虚拟访问贵，而虚拟访问通常花费约50美元。
UnitedHealthcare 首席医疗官 AnneDocimo 表示，这款新应用是 UnitedHealth Group 每年在数据、技术和创新方面超过30亿美元投资的一部分。
对许多雇主来说，实施更多的虚拟护理解决方案是重中之重，根据国家健康商业集团( National Business Group on Health )2019年的一项研究，51%的公司目前计划这样做。
“数字卫生资源正在从根本上改变人们如何导航卫生系统，使人们能够在任何时候从任何地方获得医疗服务，并帮助消除医疗障碍，” Docimo 说。
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医疗保健 IT 新闻是医疗卫生信息与管理系统协会（HIMSS）媒体出版物。