HealthSpot provides free, after-hours health care

October 30, 2013

University Hospitals (UH) Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, has joined forces with HealthSpot to provide Cleveland’s children with free, after-hours access to pediatricians.

 

University Hospitals (UH) Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, has joined forces with HealthSpot to provide Cleveland’s children with free, after-hours access to pediatricians.

HealthSpots are cutting-edge telehealth kiosks, approximately 8 ft by 5 ft in size and equipped with high-definition videoconferencing and interactive digital medical equipment.

Staffed by medical assistants or paramedics, the walk-in units enable pediatricians to interact with patients after normal office hours from the comfort of their homes.

Andrew Hertz, MD, medical director, UH Rainbow Care Connection, explains that the health stations are “aimed at decreasing the number of avoidable emergency department (ED) visits.” They are being established in areas of the city where no after-hours alternatives to EDs exist.

Intended for 3- to 18-year-olds, the units are appropriate for health problems such as fever, conjunctivitis, ear and sinus infections, coughs, colds, rashes, and urinary symptoms. The kiosks can determine such things as weight, blood pressure, temperature, and pulse oximetry. Medical attendants use instruments to provide a bird’s-eye view into the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose, and allow a pediatrician to hear heart and lung sounds remotely. With the ability to perform on-site rapid strep tests, urinalysis, and urine cultures, and to call in prescriptions, “We really can provide a great deal of care without being on site,” says Hertz.

He notes the units “are not meant to compete with physicians’ offices,” but rather to serve “as an extension of them,” so the kiosks operate from 5:30 pm to 11 pm weekdays and from 1 pm to 11 pm on weekends.

There is never a charge. The care is paid for by a $12.7 million federal grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. The hope is that the stations will save money for the Medicaid program and taxpayers by reducing the number of unnecessary ED visits by children who receive Medicaid benefits.

Hertz says the patients love it. “The patient sees what the doctor sees.” If the pediatrician views the eardrum, the child sees it, too. The physician can even take still photographs and use them as patient education tools.

For more information about UH Rainbow Care Connection telehealth services, visit http://www.uhhospitals.org/rainbow/about/rainbow-care-connection/clinical-programs/telehealth

 

 

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