New app allows virtual doctor’s visits

WASHINGTON — When you’re sick, you may not feel like going anywhere — even to see a doctor. But MedStar’s new eVisit app makes virtual doctor’s visits possible.

“You have access to a physician 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Eric R. Wagner, executive vice president of MedStar Health.

The free app allows patients to make face-to-face doctor’s visits using a smartphone, tablet or camera-equipped desktop computer. The visit costs $49 or less, depending on a patient’s insurance plan.

“You would, for example, be charged $10 on your credit card, and the insurance company would pay the $40 remaining balance,” Wagner said. “For some of them, you’ll have to submit the claim yourself.”

When all the major health plans in the D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia area are in the new app’s system, a drop-down menu in the app will display insurance options.

Through the app, doctors can assist people with ailments such as rashes, the flu, pink eye or urinary tract infections, Wagner said. They also can send prescriptions to a preferred pharmacy.

“We’ve talked with people who, by the time they’ve hung up, gotten into the car and gone to the pharmacy, the [prescription] is ready to be picked up,” Wagner said, explaining the method’s convenience.

Electronic visits are becoming more common in the health care industry.

The CEO of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, known as Kaiser Permanente, recently said more than half of Kaiser’s patient interactions are virtual, Fortune reported.

Virtual visits are expected to account for one in five medical visits within the next 10 years, MedStar Chief Medical Officer Stephen R.T. Evans said in a news release.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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