Say you and the family are on vacation and one of the kids looks like they have pink eye.
You know it's not an emergency room type of thing, but you also think your child should see a doctor.
Where do you go? Maybe nowhere.
A new app created by Tucson Medical Center allows you to speak to a board certified physician face-to-face any time of day (even the middle of the night), from anywhere using the built in camera on your phone, tablet or computer.
All languages can be accommodated through a third-party translation service. You'll select your preferred language when you set up the account.
The hospital announced the app, TMC CareNow, at a news conference Wednesday morning. You can download it for free in the Google and Apple app stores.
The service is designed for anyone experiencing an illness or injury that does not warrant an emergency room visit but is urgent enough to need immediate care, says Judy Rich, president and CEO of Tucson Medical Center.
Some of the treatable conditions include pink eye, urinary tract infection, vomiting and diarrhea, rashes, asthma, respiratory infections, sprains and strains, insect bites, arthritis and more.
"We're meeting patients where they are, and helping patients get quality treatment faster so they can get back to their lives," Rich says. "TMC CareNow is part of TMC's ongoing investment into technologies that make life easier and healthier for Southern Arizonans."
Once you download the app, you'll create a patient account with your basic health information. If you have kids under the age of 18 that need to see a doctor, you can set up profiles for them under your account.
After the initial set-up, requesting a doctor visit is as simple as tapping or clicking on a button and answering a few questions in the app.
Your appointment includes a written summary with a diagnosis, follow-up care recommendations and prescriptions. If you're diagnosed with something that requires you to stay home, you'll also receive either a work release or school release.
The app has features such as the ability to upload pictures. So, if there is a rash or something the doctor should see, you can take a photo and upload it. You can also invite a third party in on the call no matter where that other person is.
Each virtual doctor's visit costs $49. It is not currently reimbursed by insurance, but is covered as an HSA (Health Spending Account) expense.
"TMC CareNow isn't just TMC's new virtual visit platform," says Mary Atkinson, director of wellness. "It's an opportunity to utilize technology as a strategy to increase access to quality care that is both convenient and affordable to the patient."