It’s 3 a.m., and you’ve just woken up in the worst sort of way: with sharp pains in your stomach (ugh).
You’d like to ask a doctor some questions, but urgent care doesn’t open for a few hours and you’re not sure this warrants a trip to the emergency room either. So what are your options?
With new innovations in healthcare, now all you have to do is pick up your phone and open an app to get real-time care from a board-certified physician.
“It’s great to have 24/7, 365-day availability for common things that happen,” says Dr. John Scott, medical director of UW Medicine Digital Health. “If you want to avoid the emergency department or urgent care, you have this very convenient option.”
Two different types of virtual care
While in-person visits with your primary care doctor are still necessary for cancer screenings, physical exams and getting vaccinated, there are still times — ahem, like in the middle of a pandemic — when a virtual visit may simply be more convenient.
That’s why many medical organizations are offering alternatives for their patients. UW Medicine, for example, provides two types of virtual visits.
One is a telemedicine video-based appointment with your regular UW Medicine doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or midwife. These appointments are scheduled in advance and work the same way an in-person visit might. You can discuss health concerns, review medications and even go over your diet, mental health and physical activity.
The other is a text-based virtual visit, which lets you connect 24/7 with a 98point6 board-certified physician on demand. It’s ideal for when you have a sudden health concern but maybe don’t feel like getting out of bed at dark o’clock.
“We’re really excited about it because it’s adapting to the new reality of how patients want to engage in care,” Scott explains.