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MUSC launches e-visit program for nonemergency care

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Sinus problems, urinary tract infections, allergies, back pain and sexually transmitted diseases are among the more than 30 conditions that patients can now be treated for using the Medical University of South Carolina’s new e-visit program.

Patients with nonemergency health conditions can log on to their online MUSC Health MyChart account, answer a few questions and receive a response from a provider usually within an hour, according to a news release from the hospital.

Dr. Ed O’Bryan, director of MUSC’s correctional telemedicine program, demonstrates the technology that the hospital uses to diagnose and treat incarcerated patients. O’Bryan is also medical director of MUSC’s e-visit program, which lets doctors treat patients online. (Photo/Ashley Heffernan)

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The electronic medical appointments, called e-visits, cost $25 per visit, the release said.

“In addition to the benefits of saving time and, in some cases, money, this service will enhance follow-up care and increase the quality of care for our patients,” Dr. Ed O’Bryan, e-visit program medical director, said in the release. “It provides the opportunity for your doctor or another MUSC provider to review your condition, access your health history and work with you to create a treatment plan for uncomplicated illnesses and diagnoses. We’ve seen really positive feedback during our pilot phase with MUSC employees and are very excited to offer this to all current and new MUSC patients.”

If a person’s condition is not appropriate for an e-visit, the patient will be referred for an in-person visit, the release said.

Video-based e-visits are also now available through some MUSC Health doctors. The hospital plans to expand video to more providers, but the news release didn’t indicate when that will happen.

“At MUSC, we know that through telehealth, we can deliver world-class medical care whenever the patient would like to receive it,” MUSC Health CEO Dr. Patrick Cawley said in the release. “This could be at home, a doctor’s office, another hospital or even while traveling anywhere in the world.”

School-based telehealth

Last week, MUSC announced that it is offering telehealth care to students at 11 schools in Williamsburg County and 12 in Charleston County.

The program allows a school nurse to call the parent when a child is sick and schedule a telehealth appointment. An MUSC pediatrician or nurse practitioner then diagnoses the child using secure video conference equipment, and parents have the option of listening in via phone or going to the school in person. A note about the visit is sent to the child’s regular care provider, and insurance is billed, with normal copays and deductibles applying, a news release said.

The school-based telehealth program started four years ago as a pilot study and is expected to expand to more schools along the Interstate 95 corridor over the next three years, the release said.

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