More people going to the doctor without physically being there

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- Doctors are seeing a growing trend in patients receiving health care, without them actually coming into the office.

The growing popularity of over-the-phone, online and virtual visits is being seen here in the Chippewa Valley.

“Medicine is practiced quite different now compared to previous generations,” said Dr. Paul Loomis, a family physician with Mayo Clinic Health System. “We don't necessarily have to see every patient on a regular basis every year, like there may be conditions where they need their medicines refilled. I’m actually interacting with more patients now than seeing them face to face.”

Local doctors said more people are getting medical help over-the-phone, online or even through virtual visits with their providers.

“You can’t provide quite as comprehensive of care if you can’t physically see or examine, but for basic illnesses, it's a good option especially for those who can’t afford coming in for a full visit,” said Dr. Thomas Hunt, an urgent care physician with Marshfield Clinic.

Services, like Care My Way through Marshfield Clinic or Express Care Online through Mayo Clinic Health System, have really been focused on addressing community members’ needs by making it convenient and affordable.

“It’s simple,” said Matthew Schnieder, the regional communication manager for Marshfield Clinic. “It’s something you carry in your pocket or purse every day, and once you download the app or have it on your computer or you can call it on your phone. It’s very simple and I think that leads into the convenience of that all. Or if you’re feeling yucky, you don't want to have to sit in a waiting room or call and hope you see your doctor.”

Local health care professionals add that this type of medical service is the way our culture is moving.

“We do intend over time to expand our conditions we provide on,” Loomis said.

Both services are staffed by nurse practioners or are followed by nursing protocol; and prescriptions are able to be written for common illnesses.

If you need to take that "trip" to the doctor without actually going, the services are available every day of the week, through set times of the day.

The online, over-the-phone and virtual medical care services are provided to help with our busy culture and help patients save time for those illnesses that are not as serious, but you're still curious about what to do.

Links are available to the right of the page to both Care My Way and Express Clinic Online.

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