Kalispell Regional Healthcare recently increased access to primary care with the opening of its newest clinic – KRH Care Anywhere – online. KRH Care Anywhere connects patients to a medical provider through a smartphone, tablet, or computer via an internet connection – all without leaving home.
“The 24/7 virtual clinic provides round-the-clock access to medical providers for low-acuity conditions,” said Kip Smith, executive director of telehealth services, “When we say low acuity we’re talking about things patients commonly come into our clinics for: coughs, colds, ear aches, sore throats, and things like rashes, pink eye, allergies — normal everyday things.”
Smith said KRH Care Anywhere is not a platform for the more complicated conditions like broken bones or chronic illnesses. Those conditions require in-person care.
KRH Care Anywhere is staffed by board-certified physicians and nurse practitioners. Visits typically last about 20 minutes. Providers will offer a summary of the patient’s visit online and make arrangements for follow-up if it is required. They can even help patients find a primary care provider if they don’t have one.
Patients are charged a flat fee of $45 for each visit. No appointment is necessary, and there is no time limit on visits. Any prescriptions the virtual provider deems appropriate will be called in to the patient’s pharmacy. Virtual providers do not prescribe narcotics or other controlled substances or provide routine refills. These prescriptions, as well as chronic medications, are most appropriately filled with patients’ primary care providers.
“Telemedicine is definitely a national phenomenon. It’s an increasing thing, and KRH Care Anywhere is really our first local foray into primary care and urgent care telemedicine,” said Doug Nelson, MD, who has been a local primary care physician in the Valley for more than 25 years, “I think it’s exciting. It gives another way for patients to access the medical system, and it has a lot of potential for future uses, as well as in chronic care management and other parts of medical care.”
For more information and to visit KRH Care Anywhere, go to krhcareanywhere.org.