Vidant Health has a new app that allows North Carolinians to see a doctor whenever they want. The Vidant Now app allows a user to connect instantly with a physician for about $50 per consultation.
This app could be especially useful for patients in rural areas, for whom a doctor's office could be more than an hour away, according to Vidant's Medical Director of Health Informatics Joseph Pye.
“Vidant Now is prioritizing access,” Pye said. “So in this case, we're pushing the access first and the ability to see a physician quickly. Now, we are developing models for the future that allow for a broader range of problems to be addressed and expanded access to your individual physician as well.”
Pye cautions that these virtual exams on Vidant Now are intended for mild conditions, like a rash or infection, and not emergencies.
“It's for those simple conditions that we may not necessarily need to perform a hands-on physical exam, but over our video platform, we can do a great observational exam, as well as get a good history from the patient on the problem and be able to render an effective diagnosis that could include prescription therapy,” he said.
Pye says the app formally launched in January. About 1,000 patients have created accounts so far, and about 100 have gotten exams.
“We consider this critical to improving access,” he said. “Being able to reach a physician is really the first step in being able to get great care. And so, for us, this is really about making sure that we connect our physicians and patients together in as many ways as possible so we can have that relationship.”
Formal hospitals have consolidated or closed across Eastern North Carolina in recent years. Pye said the Vidant Now telehealth app will make it easier to continue medical care when doctors offices are far away.