Years ago, seeing a doctor from the comfort of one’s own home was the norm – just as it soon will be again. DirectConnect, CoxHealth’s telemedicine program, will allow most people in the state of Missouri to receive health care for common ailments remotely in the very near future.
Yes, that’s right: Instead of making an appointment, patients can be seen from their couch for things like coughs, colds, upper respiratory infections, allergies, bug bites and sore throats.
“We’re so excited about this initiative because it means that not only is health care easier to access, but it’s available to almost everyone,” says Heather Swearengin, CoxHealth’s system director of Business Development. “This opportunity is being offered directly in response to the need we saw for more accessibility in our region.”
Here’s how it works: Anyone wishing to be seen by a health care professional will simply go to our website at coxhealth.com/directconnect. After filling out some initial information, a CoxHealth patient navigator will be sent the request for care. The navigator will determine the type of care required and will then contact the provider. A few minutes later, a provider will log on and see a patient via webcam before making a diagnosis. If a prescription is needed, it is sent to the pharmacy and the patient is able to use his or her health insurance just like they would when they obtain a prescription in the traditional office setting.
This service is available at the low cost of $49 for everyone, even those without insurance. Some are even able to pay a lower copay if the service is covered by their insurance plan. However, due to licensing requirements, all patients must currently be located within the state of Missouri to receive treatment. All info will be contained in a HIPAA-compliant connection, ensuring that health care information stays private.
This new technology doesn’t completely replace traditional doctor visits, because some things can only be diagnosed in person. However, with a thorough medical history review, a visual exam and interview of the patient, it is often possible to triage and treat patients without physically being in the same room with them.
This isn’t the first time that CoxHealth has ventured into telemedicine. We launched DirectConnect in 2015 by partnering with local businesses to bring virtual health care to employees. Its popularity grew quickly: Within just six months of DirectConnect’s launch, more than 50,000 lives were connected with the program.