Influenza Outbreak Drives up eVisit Appointments

Patients can stay home and get treatment they need

Last month set a record for e-Visits between ThedaCare patients and their providers, said Nathan Grunwald, MD, of ThedaCare Physicians-Menasha. More than 330 people, many of them afflicted with this season’s virulent strain of influenza, opted to stay home and be “seen” electronically by their health care provider instead of going into the clinic. That’s a 20 percent increase in utilization of e-Visits over January 2017.

E-Visits do not require patients to go into a clinic to be seen in person by a care provider. Instead, they log on to their MyThedaCare secure web portal and answer several questions specific to their ailment. Within two hours of filling out the online questionnaire, a patient will receive a response from his or her physician, including a plan of care and a prescription, if needed.

“It’s a great way for us to help tackle this flu epidemic,” said Dr. Grunwald. “Patients can stay home in bed and still get the treatment they need. The added bonus is they are not out in the community spreading germs to other people or using up their limited energy to come in.” If influenza is suspected, patients may receive a prescription for Tamiflu via their e-Visit, he said.

People who fill out the online questionnaire will need to know their temperature and be able to describe their symptoms. Dr. Grunwald said anyone experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, weakness or numbness, or neurological symptoms should seek immediate in-person medical attention. Pregnant women are not treated via e-Visits. “If we see a red flag, something that really concerns us on your questionnaire, we will call you and ask you to come in.”

E-visits are available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. To use ThedaCare e-Visits, a patient must have an established relationship with a ThedaCare provider and a MyThedaCare.org online patient account. The patient portal can be easily established online at MyThedaCare.org. The cost of an e-Visit is $35, and insurance is not billed. If your doctor requests to see you in person, the $35 is refunded and normal office visit rates apply.

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a nonprofit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, and stroke, orthopedic and cardiac programs, as well as a foundation dedicated to community service. For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.