It’s the middle of the night and you hear your child crying in the next room. You rush in to see what is wrong. She is holding her ear and running a high fever. You’re worried and feel for her; you know you need to take her to the clinic, but tomorrow is a big day and you have a lot going on. Sitting in a waiting room for more than four hours would put everything on hold. What to do?
Now, you have the option to open the McLarenNow app on your phone and in minutes, consult with a medical professional about your little girl’s condition. The doctor evaluates the symptoms, makes a diagnosis and, if necessary, writes a prescription you can pick up at your local pharmacy as soon as it opens in the morning. You rest easy knowing that your child is not in an emergent situation and that soon, she will be on the road to recovery.
McLarenNow is a new program developed by McLaren Health Care to allow Michigan consumers virtual access to professional medical care 24/7. It is the future of health care. The service was created and modeled after McLaren’s highly successful Telestroke program and seemed a natural expansion. McLaren worked with a partner, InTouch, and developed McLarenNow over a period of 14 months.
“McLaren is a very progressive organization,” noted Cheryl Ellegood, vice president of service lines for McLaren Health Care. “Recognizing the trend toward telehealth services for non-emergent conditions, we decided the time was right to implement this service as a way to expand access to quality healthcare throughout the state.”
With McLarenNow, anyone can speak with a board-certified physician anywhere at any time through a smart phone, tablet or computer with webcam. McLarenNow reduces wait time, drive time and appointment cancellations while expanding access to specialists. It’s a win-win opportunity.
“We want to provide healthcare to people who may not have easy access to service,” explains Ellegood. “With McLarenNow, people don’t have to drive a long way to a clinic. They can have the physician visit them anywhere, do it on their lunch break, at their office or from home.”
It is important to note that McLarenNow is NOT for emergency services (if you are having a health emergency, continue to dial 911), or intended to replace regular healthcare visits with your primary care providers. Instead, McLarenNow is designed for treatment of minor illnesses and conditions that would not require a visit to an urgent care facility. Some examples are:
- Back Strain
- Ear pain
- Insect bites/stings
- Pink Eye
- Sore Throat
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
McLarenNow is extraordinarily easy to use and is available for ALL Michigan residents over the age of 2, not just McLaren patients or employees.
“With McLarenNow, people don’t have to drive a long way to a clinic. They can have the physician visit them anywhere, do it on their lunch break, at their office or from home.”
Cheryl Ellegood, Vice President of Service Lines
The process is simple. The first step is to download the free app via Mclarennow.org or the app store; then, open the app. (The McLarenNow platform is secure, HiTrust certified and HIPAA compliant.) The user is then prompted to enter diagnostic information for the patient. Next, the user will be required to enter a credit card number for payment of a $49 service fee. After payment, the user will then enter their symptoms. Once finished, the patient will be placed in a digital “waiting room” while a doctor reviews the information. The doctor will then interview the patient via webcam and make a diagnosis. The consulting doctor is able to prescribe medication if needed. If the condition requires testing, a referral will be made to the patient’s primary care physician. If the condition is deemed an emergency, the patient will be referred to the closest emergency room.
“While a number of similar services are using mid-level providers, we are using only board- certified physicians,” Ellegood assures. “We want the most accurate judgements. People really need to approach this with a clear understanding of their symptoms. If they call for someone else, such as a child, it is very important to fill out the demographic and symptom information for that person, not for themselves.” Following the consultation, patients need simply follow the doctor’s instructions to find their way back to health.
“It gives me such joy to be able to provide this service,” says Ellegood. “We are really focused on taking healthcare to those areas where access is limited. Our concentration is making McLarenNow telehealth the best program we can.”
McLaren Health Care is embracing the future of medicine in a way that can help provide affordable medical care for all. So, no more worrying in the middle of the night. No more making an appointment for a minor illness or waiting for hours at an urgent care facility. No more wondering if you can afford a hospital visit. There’s an app for that.
To download the free McLarenNow app, visit mclarennow.org or your app store. For more information, visit mclarennow.org.
Photo Provided by McLaren