When you’re not feeling well and it isn’t easy to make it to the doctor, what do you do? NYU Langone Health’s Virtual Urgent Care service now offers patients in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania a real-time video visit with a world-class doctor in the palm of the hand.
Launched in September 2017, virtual urgent care doctors have successfully treated thousands of patients with minor conditions, such as cough, sore throat, cold, other flu-like symptoms, rash, urinary tract infection, pink eye, and earache, to name a few. With more than 30 NYU Langone board-certified, emergency medicine physicians available to treat these conditions, all patients can get the care they need remotely and schedule an appointment in a matter of minutes. Virtual urgent care recently expanded to offer appointments for children ages 12 and older, as well as adults.
“Our patients are asking for convenient ways to manage their own healthcare and virtual urgent care provides them an easy and engaging way to access care from an expert physician,” says Paul A. Testa, MD, chief medical information officer and assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Health. “It’s exciting to develop an integrated technology that extends NYU Langone’s patient experience beyond our facilities and to our patients’ homes and offices.”
Virtual urgent care is covered for patients 12 years and older who are insured by UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Cigna patients, throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Unlike similar telehealth services, patients can be covered for just the cost of a co-pay.
Simple, Convenient, and for Some, Life Saving
Available from 7:00AM to 11:00PM on weekdays and 8:00AM to 8:00PM on weekends, a virtual urgent care video visit is designed to mimic an in-person visit. Doctors use NYU Langones’ single integrated medical record system to get the full picture of a patient’s health, evaluate symptoms, and develop a diagnosis and treatment plan. Physicians can also instantly electronically prescribe medications, order tests and imaging, or assist in arranging a follow-up visit with a specialist.
While virtual urgent care is geared toward non-emergency conditions, it can also identify potentially serious conditions that would require a visit to the emergency room. For example, when John Donovan first started to experience stomach pain, he assumed it was the lingering effect of the prior week’s flu. When the pain persisted, he still wasn’t convinced that his discomfort merited the crosstown trek to his doctor’s office in Midtown Manhattan. Instead, he turned to his smartphone and was able to set up a virtual urgent care appointment within minutes.
During John’s video visit with the NYU Langone emergency medicine physician on his phone, he described the degree of his discomfort and was prompted by the doctor to do a facilitated self-examination. Following her directions, John pressed down on the lower right side of his abdomen and experienced alarming pain. Concerned that he may have appendicitis, a potentially life-threatening emergency that requires surgery, the NYU Langone doctor immediately referred John to the emergency room. She also called ahead to brief the attending physician, and added him to the digital line so that the emergency room nurses would expedite care and be aware of his potential diagnosis when he arrived.
Twelve hours later, John was recovering from an emergency appendectomy. “I really wanted a doctor to ease my fears, to tell me I was okay and that the pain would go away on its own. But virtual urgent care did more than that—it helped me when I really wasn’t okay,” said John. “It was simple, fast, and effective, so there really isn’t more I could’ve asked for.”
How to Make an Appointment
Appointments can be scheduled through the NYU Langone Health app, which can be downloaded from App Store® or Google Play™, or through our website. Patients will first be directed to create an account or log into an existing account through NYU Langone Health MyChart to make an appointment for a video visit.
Telemedicine Initiatives at NYU Langone
NYU Langone Health is venturing even further into the telemedicine space by applying technologies to create innovative solutions for patient needs across specialties. Nearly 200 physicians at NYU Langone are engaging with telemedicine to connect with patients treated in different specialties, including psychiatry, orthopedics, ophthalmology, neurology, bariatrics, transplant, cardiology, hematology and medical oncology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology.
As NYU Langone continues to invest in these critical telemedicine initiatives, several specialties are beginning to offer virtual visits for post-operative follow-up visits, including general surgery, transplant surgery, orthopedic surgery, and even thoracic surgery. NYU Langone physicians are also leveraging telemedicine to bring patients’ remote data into their integrated health records by remotely connecting to home monitoring devices, such as heart rate and blood pressure monitors, scales, step trackers, and glucometers.
“Telemedicine is advancing the way we offer healthcare and NYU Langone Health is at the forefront of these innovative healthcare technologies,” adds Nader Mehrabi, senior vice president and vice dean, chief information officer at NYU Langone Health. “We’re connecting with our patients in ways that are not only more convenient for them, but also offer the same quality care they expect of us.”