By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Jefferson Hospital has unveiled a new app that connects you with an emergency physician in minutes for a virtual ER visit.
When 6-year-old Maxwell Baron hit his head playing football, it didn’t seem really serious, but his parents wanted to check with a doctor.
“I didn’t want to do the whole ‘go into the emergency room, make a big deal of this and that,’ and then just wait there for hours,” said Maxwell’s father, Joshua Baron.
Now, Jefferson Hospital has a new app that connects you to an emergency physician in minutes to diagnose non-life threatening illnesses. It’s called JeffConnect.
An emergency room physician talked to Max and his parents via web cam, asking about symptoms like vomiting or headaches.
“It’s a simple concept,” said Dr. Judd Hollander, professor of emergency medicine and associate dean of strategic health initiatives for Jefferson. “It’s all about letting people see the doctor when and where they want to see the doctor so they don’t have to travel downtown, which is really important this week.”
Dr. Hollander said the new app is being launched early to help people who might be unable to get to the hospital because of road closures during the Pope’s visit.
“Unfortunately, if you don’t have a major emergency, you’re not going to be able to get in and see a provider,” Dr. Hollander said.
With the virtual visit, just like with those in person, there are lots of questions and a hands-free doctor exam. Max was asked to move his eyes in certain directions and perform other tasks that would diagnose a concussion.
“About 85 percent of the visits, we can resolve on the phone,” Dr. Hollander said. “Most of the rest can see their primary care provider the next day, and one to four percent need to go to an emergency department. So we really can make it a lot more convenient for patients.”
The emergency room physician determined Max didn’t have a concussion.
Kiva Baron, Max’s mother, said the virtual visit was “great. Obviously, that was a lot quicker and a lot easier than trying to call and schedule an appointment and trying to get a same day.”
The virtual visit costs $49 and can be done on a smart phone or a computer.
Find out more about the app at hospitals.jefferson.edu/jeffconnect