As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rises dramatically, even in places that seem isolated, many clinics are closing to patients with flu-like symptoms. In the Seattle area, we are seeing cancellation of surgeries, and big notes posted on clinic doors announcing their inability to see patients at all. Telehealth, or virtual care, may be your only and best bet at avoiding a trip to the Emergency Department, and possibly exposing yourself to disease and diverting critical resources that may be needed elsewhere.
At First Choice Health we are strongly encouraging people to seek virtual care either through our partner 98point6 or directly with doctors who can see patients virtually during this critical time. 98point6 is an on-demand primary care service that delivers personalized consultation, diagnosis and treatment to patients. Their virtual platform provides self-funded employers with unparalleled access to immediate, high-quality care, allowing the company to meet members exactly where they are. More importantly, they can transmit prescriptions directly to your pharmacy, and it can take as little as 15 minutes for a complete visit.
The use of telehealth is going to be critical for management of this pandemic. According to the New York Times, China first reorganized their medical response by moving 50% of all health care online and as of early March, the country had dropped to about 200 reported COVID-19 cases a day - down from more than 3,000 in early February. Throughout the rest of the connected world, we're seeing telehealth use increase as well.
As COVID-19 continues to spread and clinical resources face high demand, our hospitals and clinics can become stretched to the limit. Delivering care through virtual offerings will help keep people who are contagious, though not seriously sick, at home and isolated, as well as help patients with other health problems who may have no other options.
Here at First Choice Health, it is our duty to make sure that people can access care even during a medical crisis. Telehealth may be your best bet right now to keep you and your family healthy.