This app lets people ask ER doctors questions from home - Baltimore


Jun. 15, 2017 11:51 am

This app lets people ask ER doctors questions from home

MyVirtualMPC is designed to save a trip to the ER for some cases. Maryland Physicians Care is offering it to members.

The doctor is on.

(Photo by NEC Corporation of America, obtained via Creative Commons license)

Text and video chat is a powerful way to stay in touch with friends. The smartphone can also provide some quick advice on health matters, whether from a person you know or the web.

With a new app, a Linthicum-based Medicaid managed care organization wants to allow the info to come straight from doctors.

Last month, Maryland Physicians Care rolled out a new app with the capability to text and video chat with ER doctors. MyVirtualMPC can be used to ask questions. Dilemmas like whether to get stitches or issues with medication can require a trip, even if they don’t end up resulting in requiring medical attention. The app also allows patients to show symptoms and get a diagnosis from the doctor about a pressing health issue.

“Members can securely send messages, images, and even video chat with a local doctor to help them avoid unnecessary trips to the ER, urgent care, or their physician’s office,” Bruce Vanderver, MPC’s Chief Medical Officer, said in a statement. “All that adds up to more convenience for our members and less time waiting in the emergency room.”

The app, which taps tech from CirrusMD, is currently being offered to MPC members, which number around 200,000. The statewide org is owned by several hospital systems, and provides free care to members. The app is staffed by doctors through Germantown-based Sky Physicians.

It’s an example of telemedicine’s potential to increase access to healthcare.

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