The cold and flu season has seemed particularly brutal this year. As I type this, people in my office are coughing, sneezing and sniffling around me. I'm afraid that it's only a matter of time until I get what they have. And then what, I ask myself. Another trip to an overly busy doctor's office, a long wait, another expensive co-pay, and being around all of those sick people, right? Not necessarily. We have a new option here in Michigan.

This new service, called virtuwell.com, offers potential patients in the state of Michigan 24-7 access to an experienced nurse practitioner, licensed by the state of Michigan. This online clinic is currently being utilized with great success in Minnesota and Wisconsin, with Michigan being the third state to offer this virtual doctor's office.

photo courtesy of Facebook

 

The site is designed to diagnose and treat a wide range of ailments including;bladder infections, chicken pox, ear pain, bronchitis, cold, cough and allergy, flu, and yeast infections. "What do you think you have?" is how the conversation will typically start with a practitioner, and patients have the option of uploading a photo to aid in their diagnosis.The site does not prescribe painkillers or narcotics, and it doesn't make a profit from prescriptions.

A visit to virtuwell will cost you $40. That cost is covered by some medical insurance carriers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Negotiations are ongoing here in the state of Michigan to have it covered by insurance here as well.

Don't forget, this service is available 24-7! Would you use this service in the middle of the night, when faced with a sick child, or if getting to a doctor's office doesn't seem practical? The cost of $40 is cheaper than many office visit co-pays. Can you see yourself using this service to save time and money?