DES MOINES, Iowa — Emergency rooms and clinics tend to be very busy this time of year and Unity Point’s virtual care app allows you to completely avoid doctor’s waiting rooms by visiting with a health care professional without leaving your couch.
The app is free to download and each appointment is $39 without insurance. On a webcam the health care provider asks you a series of questions about your symptoms and even has you participate in your own exams by pressing on your sinuses.
From your conversation, they can asses the care you need, including writing you a prescription. All this from the comfort of your home.
“With the amount of illness going around, often times people don’t want to go sit in a very busy waiting room, or they feel so bad that sitting in a busy waiting room is just not something they want to do,” Virtual Care Nurse Practitioner, Leah Gabriel said.
Gabriel said the flu is extremely prevalent in the community right now and this app could help prevent people from contracting or spreading the virus.
A parent can set up an appointment for children over the age of two.
“They’re homebound and they have two or three kids and they don’t want to take the kids who are not sick to a busy waiting room where there is a lot of sick people. So this allows them so this allows them to have that child that is sick seen, without potentially exposing the family to other illnesses,” Gabriel said.
This app can be used by people living in rural areas or for those who just can’t get to the doctor. It proved to be helpful mid-January in northwest Iowa, when people needed immediate health care but clinics closed because of the severe winter weather.
“Ears were hurting, sore throats, flu-like symptoms, and they weren’t able to get into the clinic because the clinic was closed so it allowed us to help them out, so yes not only have we seen an uptick because we’ve seen more people but also an uptick because of the winter weather,” Gabriel said.
It’s important to note if you do have symptoms that cannot be treated just over a webcam, things like high fever or chest pains to see a health care provider in person right away.