GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — At his Glendale clinic, Dr. Manuel Momjian was getting ready to see a patient Friday – not in the exam room, but on his computer screen.
Through a new video conference tool called “Virtual Visits” at Urgent 9 Urgent Care, patients are now able to have a consultation with a doctor from the comfort of their own home or office.
Momjian said it is all about convenience. “Because no body wants to go to an ER. No one wants to come to an urgent care. No one wants to come to these places. You only come here because you have to.”
You can either download the app on your phone or just do it in front of your desktop or laptop. First, you log on to the secure web portal on Urgent 9’s website. Then you are taken to a virtual waiting room before the doctor speaks with you.
Through the remote consultation, doctors can make a diagnosis, give advice and email a prescription to the patient’s pharmacy.
Momjian admitted there are limitations since doctors can’t get vital signs or put their hands on the patient. But “if you are good at asking the right questions to patients, sometimes the physical exam is not as important,” he said.
A virtual visit costs $149 and is not covered by insurance. But Momjian said it is much cheaper than going to a hospital, and you can avoid being around other sick people.
“If we can’t take care of the patients (via a virtual visit), then we guarantee that within 24 hours, they can be seen for no additional costs,” Momjian said.
The physician believes this service will also help ease overcrowding in emergency rooms.