Sam Zebarjadi, director of business development at the Providence Health System, said their Express Care offers a suite of services that includes freestanding retail clinics as well as those partnered with Walgreens, both lighter versions of urgent care that focus on non-emergent but somewhat acute conditions, such as strep throat and urinary tract infections; traditional telemedicine, in which a clinician is videoconferenced into the home; and Express Care at Home, which utilizes house call technology built on the Medicast platform, the startup created by Zebarjadi and acquired by the Providence Health System, along with Zebarjadi’s team.
Explore this issue:May 2017
Zebarjadi said that his service allows patients to benefit from a continuity of care within the Providence Health System. “Before, if you wanted your doctor to have access to your medical records, you would have to go to a Providence doctor’s office or Providence Emergency Room. Now, our providers have access to your medical records within any of our Express Care offerings, whether it’s in one of our retail clinics, through telemedicine, or through our home visit service,” he said.
Providence Express Care at Home clinicians see many otolaryngologic issues, including sore throats, strep, stuffy noses, congestion, laryngitis, and pharyngitis. After an initial diagnosis is made, they may end up referring a patient to a specialist, channeling the patient into a clinic for a follow-up visit. “Once you’re on a treatment plan, if it’s a chronic issue, we want to get you in to see a specialist,” Zebarjadi said.
Dr. Dua said often a patient with a cold will go to urgent care and get a referral to an otolaryngologist. “We want to utilize [the specialist’s] time correctly. If you have a stuffy nose, you don’t need to see an otolaryngologist. But if you have hearing loss, you do,” she added.
Express Care at Home is planning to offer otolaryngology consultations via telemedicine in the near future but, for now, the company is concentrating on the model of sending a nurse practitioner out on the call and bringing in the specialist as needed. The company is currently working with other healthcare systems to help license technology in their respective geographies.
Renée Bacher is a freelance medical writer based in New Jersey.