Patients in Ohio now can access an online urgent care consultation around the clock, thanks to a partnership between Cleveland Clinic and telemedicine vendor American Well.

With its MyCare Online service, Cleveland Clinic is the first hospital in Ohio to offer such consultations. American Well is providing the technology platform and the board-certified medical professionals for the telemedicine service, which costs $49 per consultation.

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Ultimately, the hospital’s goal is to integrate its providers into the service. In fact, some Cleveland Clinic physicians have already begun using MyCare Online for “virtual appointments” with their patients following surgery.

MyCare Online, which is available to anyone in Ohio, can be accessed from a free app called Cleveland Clinic MyCare, downloaded from Google Play, Apple’s App Store, or on the web. Through a private and secure video telemedicine consultation, providers will be able to “judge the seriousness of a rash, an earache or flu-like symptoms” and diagnose/treat many other acute health symptoms including cough, urinary tract infection, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever and headaches. And, if necessary, send an electronic prescription to a patient’s pharmacy.

The telemedicine service “makes the geographical location and time of day a patient needs care largely irrelevant,” said Peter Rasmussen, M.D., a neurosurgeon and medical director for distance health at Cleveland Clinic. “We’ve all been in situations where our doctor’s office is closed and we don’t know if we should go to the hospital. Or, it’s the middle of the night and your child has a sore throat that needs to be looked at,” said Rasmussen. “It’s tremendously more convenient, because people can be seen from home or work. For certain conditions, there’s no need to drive anywhere.”

MyCare Online is not the first acute care offering at Cleveland Clinic to leverage telemedicine technology. The hospital was among the first in the country to deploy healthcare kiosks—enabling patients to access providers in retail environments—and it also offers MyConsult, a medical second opinion service, in which Cleveland Clinic’s physician specialists review a patient’s medical records and diagnostic tests and then render a second opinion.

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