Trios Health launches virtual doctor house calls
Lois Evanson knew she needed to see a doctor when she couldn’t stop coughing.
So she drove to an urgent care clinic only to find she would have to wait about four hours before she could see a provider. She returned home and asked for a house call instead.
Trios Health in Kennewick recently launched a new service called Urgent eCare, which allows patients to consult with providers by phone or via Skype or FaceTime for $39. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to treat common minor illnesses.
Trios Health employees took the system for a trial run a month before the program’s January launch, and Evanson, a Trios Health food service coordinator, was among the first to try it.
After her initial call to Urgent eCare, a nurse practitioner called back within 10 minutes via FaceTime and spoke with her for about 15 to 20 minutes.
“She was just a realm of questions. After we were all through, she called in a prescription and was able to help me right there. It was so easy,” said Evanson, who has worked for Trios Health for 12 years.
Evanson’s husband then picked up her prescriptions for cough medicine and antibiotics at their pharmacy.
“If you’re not feeling well, the last thing you want to do is go sit in an office, for an hour and a half sometimes. … I was lying in bed talking to her. She was really thorough. I would definitely use it again,” she said.
Evanson, 59, said she sees this new service as “the wave of the future.”
“It was better than going somewhere…I’ve been with kids where you sometimes have a 45 minute wait and it’s hard, especially if you’re not feeling good,” she said, adding that another benefit is not spreading or picking up germs from doctors’ office waiting rooms.
Trios Urgent eCare offers wait times of up to 30 minutes with a board-certified provider and a $39 flat fee per visit—regardless of insurance coverage.
Patients with additional coverage for telemedicine services can submit claims for reimbursement to their insurance carrier. If a person is referred for in-person care within the first three minutes of their Urgent eCare visit, the fee is waived.
The eCare service is provided by Seattle-based Carena. Founded in 2000, Carena has partnered with more than 120 hospitals, offering virtual care to more than 15 million people, according to its website.
Virginia Mason, University of Washington School of Medicine, CHI Franciscan Health and Swedish Medical Center are among other providers using Carena’s telemedicine services.
Providence Health & Services, which is affiliated with the Kadlec Health System, also offers $39 doctor virtual visits throughout the state via Providence Express Care Virtual at https://virtual.providence.org. Its providers are employees of Providence.
As part of Trios’ service, Urgent eCare providers can make additional care referrals, as well as sending prescription orders—with the exception of narcotics, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants and refills—to a patient’s local pharmacy of choice.
The eCare users do not need to be an existing patient of any other Trios Health provider or service to use the service.
“This is an important service that many communities across the nation are starting to adopt,” said Dr. Wassim Khawandi, medical director of Trios Medical Group, in a release.
“We understand that our patients want as many primary care options as possible, including the ability to see a provider without an appointment in cases of common, non-emergency medical conditions that require same-day attention. Trios Urgent eCare is intended to fill the gap when your primary care provider is unavailable on short notice or urgent care facilities are closed or otherwise inconvenient to access.”
Urgent eCare visit records for those who are current Trios patients automatically will be sent to their primary provider for follow-up.
More information about how Urgent eCare works, including frequently asked questions and an instructional video, is available at trioshealth.org/UrgentEcare.
Community members may request a virtual appointment through the website, or call 888-TRIOS-03 (888-874-6703).
Trios Health is the Kennewick Public Hospital District’s system of care serving the greater Tri-Cities. The district operates two hospitals, Trios Women’s and Children’s Hospital in downtown Kennewick and Trios Southridge Hospital.
Trios Medical Group, comprised of nearly 100 physicians and providers, serves as the core of a growing medical staff network of more than 325 providers throughout the Tri-Cities and includes practices and services at eight care centers and three urgent care centers.