HAGERSTOWN, Md. - No one wants to be sitting in a hospital waiting room when they feel under the whether, but with the help of a new Medicaid program, locals can have the chance to skip the wait and still receive quality care.
Jessica Swan's three-year old daughter was sick and but didn't want to go through the emergency room.
She'd seen an email about My VirtualMPC, an app that was recently launched that allows Medicaid patients instant message or video chat with an ER physician throughout the state.
“He asked lots of detailed questions about her symptoms and her situation. He asked me to do the equivalent of FaceTime on the app, so he could see her, and she could point to the different areas of her stomach that were hurting,” Swan said.
The app is completely free to Maryland Physicians Care members, which is a state-wide Medicaid program. All a patient needs to do is download the app, register, and then they can talk with an expert in seconds.
“It can be something simple, whatever the issue is. Sometimes, we give them advice that they do need to be seen somewhere, but we can help them figure out where that might be. Sometimes, we can fix the problem right there on the application, and if they need a prescription, we can call that in for them,” Alex Mohseni, Sky Physician, who helped Swan’s daughter.
If there is worry that using the app can delay a patient from seeking care during an actual emergency, experts said this is a good way to convince people to go to the hospital.
“This will permit them to be able to identify problems more easily [and] know when they need to actually go to an emergency room more quickly,” Bruce Vanderver, Chief Medical Examiner, Maryland Physicians Care, said.
Swan said the doctor checked in the next day, maintaining the feel of a personal experience even though they were never in the same room.
“I figured if it didn’t meet my expectations, we would just go to the urgent care like we were going to do anyway. But, it went above and beyond what I thought any kind of medical app should be,” Swan said.
Meritus Medical Center offers Maryland Physicians Care.