Parents know that childhood illnesses don’t wait for the doctor’s office business hours. In fact, sometimes it seems that despite all your best efforts to keep your kids healthy, sickness strikes at the most inconvenient times. The development of video visits make it easier to address those unexpected illnesses.
First introduced by CVS Health in August 2018 and now available in 40 states, MinuteClinic video visits were new to Colorado in November of 2019. The service provides patients age two and up with access to medical care appointments for a fixed price, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
How To Set Up
“One of the great features of a MinuteClinic video visit is that very little is required,” says David Fairchild, M.D., chief medical officer of MinuteClinic. Prior to your video appointment, download the CVS Pharmacy app on your smartphone or go to minuteclinic.com on a computer with built-in camera or camera hook-up.
Next, go to the Minute Clinic visit scheduler and select Video Visits. You’ll be asked to register and complete a health questionnaire, then see a board-certified health care provider via video, who is licensed in Colorado—or the state from which you are scheduling the visit. You can see a provider at the time you register, or schedule a time that works for you within 48 hours.
What To Expect
When the visit begins, the provider may ask you or your child [depending on their age] some additional questions to help assess their condition and determine the appropriate course of treatment, explains Fairchild. Depending on the condition, the provider might recommend that your child go in for an in-person follow-up visit.
Typically, video visits take about 10 minutes with average wait time of 20 minutes. “I think you’ll find that this compares favorably to on-site wait times and the amount of time a provider spends on your child for a traditional office visit,” says Fairchild. “The provider will take as much time as needed to consult with you.”
Conditions treated in pediatric video visits include seasonal allergies, colds and coughs, earaches, sore throats, upset stomachs, skin conditions, and other minor ailments. Fairchild adds that children or adults will not be asked to remove clothing or show private body parts. “If the provider determines that disrobing is required to assess the condition, an in-person visit with a provider would be recommended,” Fairchild says.
Video visits are $59 per appointment, making it an affordable option for many uninsured families, those who are in between insurance coverage, or anyone who is insured but prefers to pay out-of-pocket. Patients can use FSA and HSA accounts for payment. Early in 2020, the service will be available through Colorado insurance providers. Check with your health care insurer for details. If a prescription is needed after a visit, providers can send the prescription to the patient’s pharmacy of choice.
Benefits for Families
The benefits of video visits for parents are many, says Fairchild. “For instance, you may be traveling or have a new home where you have not yet had a chance to establish a primary care relationship,” says Fairchild. Urban parents won’t have to battle traffic, and parents in remote areas don’t have to worry about a long drive to the doctor. And if mom or dad is the sick one and the kids are asleep, there’s no need to wake anyone.
“I also think there are some significant benefits for your child,” says Fairchild. “If they are not feeling well, there’s no need to get them out of bed, dressed, and strapped into the car seat for a drive to and from a provider’s office. Also, by having a video visit, there’s no need to spread germs or expose them to other sick children in an office setting…We’ve found that MinuteClinic video visits work well for a variety of people.”