By: Dang Tran, MD., Fairview Health Services
It’s amazing how much technology continues to change our daily lives. Industries like banking, entertainment and retail have been transformed by technology and the internet. Layer on top of this an array of online social networking platforms, and our world really looks different than just a few years ago.
I’m among those who feel a similar transformation is well on its way in health care. Estimates show half of our current health care needs could be served remotely. Fairview is on a journey to use technology to expand our ability to deliver health care virtually. Let me share three examples.
Yet, not everyone has a consistent primary care provider and many are looking for the convenience of online care. Fairview offers an exciting service, Zipnosis, through which we can safely evaluate more than 50 common, acute illnesses like bladder infections, sinus infections and the common cold. Any Minnesota resident can receive an online assessment and treatment at Fairview.org/zipnosis. A quick history is gathered and a Fairview provider gives an online diagnosis and treatment, within one hour, if clinically appropriate. For patients, this is a low-cost, quick way to receive high-quality care.
Although technology has created these wonderful new ways for us to provide care for our patients, it does present some challenges. Virtual care is often more convenient and less costly, yet it can lead to further fragmentation of care as patients receive care from multiple sources. At Fairview, we have addressed this by creating a web portal, https://www.fairview.org/MyChart, where patients can safely access all the care they need, whether in person or virtually.
I firmly believe the benefits of virtual care outweigh the potential risks. It really is the way care will be delivered in the future.
Do you have an experience with online care that you would like to share? Comment below.