Susan Bressler is an active member of her community and has a busy career working and volunteering for non-profit organizations. Like so many people who have dedicated their lives to helping others, she doesn’t have time to be sick. Because of her busy schedule, she put up with cold symptoms for three weeks before seeking care.
"I had the cold-sinus infection that just wouldn't go away. It was terrible congestion, and just a general miserable feeling with horrible pressure in my ears," said Bressler, who is the development and outreach coordinator for the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation and president of the Renton Kiwanis Clothes Bank. "When my boss said, 'You know, you really need to see someone,' I decided I probably had been stuffy for far too long."
With little time to get to a doctor's office, she was excited to hear about the UW Medicine Virtual Clinic from a friend who had recently used the service. "I knew it was worth a try. I have always had good experiences with Valley Medical Center – to me this is the icing on the cake to find a new, useful service," said Bressler.
What is a virtual clinic?
A virtual clinic allows patients to receive healthcare from the comfort of their home or office any time of the day or night without an appointment. During a virtual clinic visit, a board-certified family practice doctors or nurse practitioner provides treatment for an urgent care issue through a webcam or over the phone. Visits typically last about 20 minutes and the virtual clinic providers can write a prescription if it's needed.
What can be treated at the UW Medicine Virtual Clinic?
Here are examples of common complaints that can be addressed with a virtual visit:
- Assessment of cuts
- Bladder Infections
- Bug Bites
- Pink Eye
- Sinus Infection
- Sore Throat
- Yeast Infection
"They asked the same questions that would have been asked of me had I gone to my regular clinic," explains Bressler. "But, I didn't have to take a half day off work and sit in a waiting room."
She was back working from home on her computer within 15 minutes and had a prescription to treat her sinus infection within a half hour. Although the appointment was efficient, the virtual clinic provider still took the time to practice good "bedside manners" and even made her laugh, says Bressler.
Why a virtual clinic?
UW Medicine has been providing telehealth services for medical education and specialized clinical care for decades. Adding a virtual clinic to the mix of services was a natural step in using telemedicine to help improve the health of the public.
"In the tech-savvy Pacific Northwest, people want high-tech solutions for their urgent healthcare needs," says Dr. John Scott, UW associate professor of medicine and medical director of telehealth for UW Medicine. "The UW Medicine Virtual Clinic gives them an affordable, convenient solution to common health complaints."
The UW Medicine Virtual Clinic is open to anyone in Washington state for a flat fee of $40. Patients receive a medical diagnosis, information about how to treat the issue at home and, if appropriate, a referral for additional care or prescriptions. The virtual clinic will also link patients to a primary care provider if they don't have one. Due to federal regulatory restrictions, people with government-sponsored health plans, such as Medicare or Medicaid, cannot receive virtual clinic care and will be referred to a clinic in their area.
To learn more or to request a virtual clinic appointment, call toll-free 855.520.5250 or visit uwmedicine.org/virtualclinic.