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Online Doctor Appointments

March 20, 2014, 6:19 PM

Online Doctor Appointments

Between household chores and work, it can be difficult to find time for a doctor's appointment--even when you're sick.

Now a new service lets you get medical advice from a local doctor online.

21-year-old Samantha Bumann is a full-time student and works part-time. When she thought she might have pink eye, she didn't have a lot of time to see a doctor.

"Just driving there and back takes about half an hour depending on traffic. Then just waiting in the waiting room is another 15 or 20 minutes of my time," Bumann said.

That's why Bumann decided to try Sanford's new E-Visit service. Patients who have My Sanford Chart are able to get medical information online from a local doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.

"The patient will log on, indicate their suspected illness or diagnosis and answer a series of questions," Sanford Physician Assistant Louise Papka said.

The health expert can diagnose and even write a prescription for you if you have one of seven common illnesses: a sinus infection, pink eye, urinary tract infection, discharge, diarrhea, back pain or a cough.

"Right now we decided to start with some of the most common illnesses, but that list will expand over time," Papka said.

If you have kids and they get sick, you still have to bring them to the doctor's office. E-Visit is for adults only.

"With pediatric patients we're getting second-hand information from the parents, so it's more beneficial for that pediatric patient to be seen face-to-face for that encounter with their physician," Papka said.

Bumann was thankful to get an accurate diagnosis online. She did not have pink eye.

"I just needed some eye drops. It was just a dry eye," Bumann said.

But now she's feeling better thanks to some professional medical advice at the tips of her fingers.

An E-Visit costs $55. It is covered by some insurance providers but not Medicare.

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