Telemedicine has expanded from its traditional setting (hospital, clinic, doctor’s office) to a more “convenient” location for the patient – the supermarket. MercyCare Community Physicians recently launched its first retail telemedicine clinic at the Edgewood Hy-Vee grocery store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The telemedicine clinic is similar to a regular office visit. After checking in, patients are taken to a private room where a registered nurse takes their health history and documents their vitals and symptoms in EPIC (Mercy’s Electronic Medical Record system). The nurse calls the provider using Cisco technology embedded in the AMD Global Telemedicine Clinical Assist system. and The provider appears on a video feed which enables him/her to have a live interaction with the patient and give instructions and education to the patient. The nurse remains in the room for the duration of the exam and, at the direction of the provider, uses telemedicine diagnostic equipment (stethoscope, otoscope, general exam camera) and AGNES interactive software to assist the provider with the physical examination. Some of the typical acute conditions assessed and treated include, but are not limited to, sinus infections, ear infections, urinary tract infections, rashes, flu and more.
The telemedicine clinic operates Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Plans to extend these hours are coming in the near future.
This type of telemedicine demonstrates that healthcare can be made available to patients anywhere they live, shop or work. Patients now have the convenience of receiving immediate care in their local area without the process of making an appointment. Congratulations to MercyCare Community Physicians and Hy-Vee for using innovative ways to provide quality and affordable care to patients.