St. Luke’s, Essentia Health Expand Patient Appointment Services

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DULUTH, Minn. – Two Duluth hospitals announced today that they will be expanding options for patient appointments amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Essentia Health says they fast-tracked their virtual visit technology that was originally scheduled to be unveiled later this spring to allow patients the option to schedule a video visit with their provider.

The vital visit model is being used for many primary-care and specialty visits at Essentia Health.

“Given our current crisis, we have an opportunity to provide excellent and safe patient care in a different way,” said Dr. Sarah Manney, Essentia Health provider, and chief medical informatics officer.

Essentia says the virtual visits are covered in the same way an in-person visit would be covered through most insurances.

To schedule your virtual visit, patients can call their regular clinic’s appointment line or go through the MyHealth website or the MyChart app. At a set appointment time, they’ll log into the MyHealth website or the MyChart app and the visit will start. The patient and provider will converse with audio and video like they would if they were together in the exam room together.

St. Luke’s also announced on Monday that they will now be offering telehealth visits to patients.

Patients will only need a device with a camera and an internet connection to connect with their providers.

“It’s a really convenient option for our patients and a great tool for helping people manage chronic and acute conditions,” Dr. Timothy Kleinschmidt with St. Luke’s Internal Medicine Associates said. “The most important part of making a diagnosis or changing treatment is listening to the patient. This provides the vast majority of the information we use to make those decisions. It helps us decide if an in-person evaluation or diagnostic tests are needed. Plus, it reassures patients they can still be in touch with their primary doctor.”

St. Luke’s says people can use telehealth to be seen for minor health concerns, illnesses, chronic care management, and preventative care. People can call their clinic to schedule an appointment.

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