UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Health Plan has launched a new smartphone-enabled UPMC AnywhereCare telehealth app platform that allows patients to receive high-quality care from emergency room professionals 24 hours a day and with reduced copays – all from the comfort of their own home or office. Since the launch of the smartphone-enabled app in November 2016, satisfaction with AnywhereCare has ranked highly among consumers, with patients rating the overall experience 4.8 out of 5.
Using the video camera on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, patients age three and older with a variety of non-emergency symptoms ranging from sore throats and upper respiratory illnesses to back pain and seasonal allergies, can be seen face-to-face by a health care professional who will assess the symptoms and recommend a personal treatment plan, just like a traditional in-office visit. The average wait time for AnywhereCare services is just over six-and-a-half minutes, a much shorter wait time than a typical physician’s visit and without the travel time. Following each patient evaluation, if needed, health care professionals are able to send prescriptions directly to the patient’s pharmacy so that treatment can begin immediately.
UPMC AnywhereCare is available for all patients within Pennsylvania, regardless of whether they are UPMC Health Plan members. The cost of an AnywhereCare visit is between $10 and $49, depending on insurance coverage. Medically-appropriate prescriptions, if needed, must be paid separately by the patient. If a prescription is needed, it may often be a low-cost or generic prescription.
“UPMC members and patients now have access to a UPMC physician, 24 hours a day, seven days a week through their computer or mobile device,” said Kim Jacobs, vice president of consumer innovation at UPMC Health Plan. “Consumers are seeking convenient and high quality care, when and where they need it. Using AnywhereCare, patients can initiate a visit with a UPMC physician without traveling to an office or taking time off of work. AnywhereCare visits are low cost, typically about half the cost of a health care plan copay, and they allow patients within Pennsylvania to be cared for by UPMC clinicians in their homes, at work, or on the road.”
“The platform allows patients to use technology to be seen by doctors more quickly,” said Jacobs. “AnywhereCare also helps to free the backlog in doctor’s offices, urgent care facilities, and hospital emergency rooms and allows doctors to spend more time with patients who suffer from chronic conditions. Nearly 90 percent of patient issues are resolved during the AnywhereCare virtual visit and do not require follow-up care.”