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Medical Edge: Electronic doctor visits

CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- Physicians at Saint Elizabeth were the first in the area to follow a national trend that allowed patients to see their doctor electronically.

Melissa Nader took the time to come in and see a doctor at a family practice office Wednesday.  But most days she works a full schedule and has three kids to juggle.  This made the idea of an electronic (or E-visit) with a doctor very attractive.

Melissa said, "Oh I think it's great!  Flexibility, don't have to come in and wait in the waiting room."

In fact, in doctor Wes Dunaway's office for an E-visit there was generally no wait at all.

Dr. Dunaway said, "A lot of people have busy schedules and it's hard to get into the office,  And this is just another way to provide care when you can't get into the office."

For an E-visit to work a person registers for a secure account in advance at the doctor's office through a program called, "My Chart."

"'My Chart' is a program that allows you online access to your medical records, you can review your labs, review certain x-rays; stuff like that," said, Dr. Dunaway.
Then for a 35 dollar fee the patient can request an E-visit any time during regular office hours.  The request is submitted and if accepted, Dr. Dunaway can even send a prescription to a pharmacy.

Dr. Dunaway pointed out that the service is not a substitute for seeing the doctor if a person has problems that go beyond what the E-visits include.  Currently, E-visits are only approved for seven conditions and they ask very specific questions about those conditions when logging in for a visit.  Those seven conditions include everything from a bad cough to pink eye to urinary problems. 

If the E-request is not accepted a person doesn't pay for the E-visit, they are promoted instead to make a real visit.

CLICK HERE for more information on E-visits.

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