Ballad Health Medical Associates has added resources to help patients access virtual and in-person primary care, urgent care, and quick care.
The organization, which provides care in 29 counties in four states, said the digital tools will help expand access to care regardless of time and location.
“We are listening to our patients and working to improve their access to care,” said Mark Patterson, MD, president of Ballad Health Medical Associates, in a press release. “Our new digital options make it easy for patients to schedule appointments and receive the appropriate level of care without sacrificing the quality of care.”
Specifically, the added resources allow patients to participate in in-person visits at a primary or urgent care clinic, virtual visits with a physician, or through an online tool that patients use to describe symptoms.
The primary care resources allow for treatment access without a decline in care quality. The tools will also allow patients to obtain a diagnosis and receive treatment from their Ballad Health provider through an online-scheduled visit. Virtual visits will cost the same as those that take place in person.
New Ballad Health resources also allow patients to schedule urgent care visits through the website or an app. The organization also provides virtual urgent care visits, offering services usually within an hour.
Ballad Health also added a new symptom checker service known as Quick Care. Through this resource, patients can use the Ballad Health app to participate in a self-guided questionnaire related to symptoms. Providers would then review the submission and contact patients within an hour.
“The integration of digital technology in healthcare is no longer a vision of the future – it is a reality happening in the Appalachian Highlands that is actively shaping how we deliver and receive care. With virtual care options and online scheduling, we can connect with our patients more meaningfully and empower them to take control of their healthcare from the convenience of their own devices at any time and location,” said Taylor Hamilton, Ballad Health’s chief consumer officer, in a press release.
These innovations come as the healthcare industry works to balance in-person and virtual care.
In October 2022, the Business Group on Health composed a set of recommendations for virtual and in-person health integration, and why they are necessary for the process of enhancing healthcare delivery.
The Business Group on Health described the sharp uptake of telehealth resources that took place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this type of care is earning a position as part of the new normal.
Because of this, the recommendations related to the importance of understanding the virtual health needs of patients, monitoring consumer experience, confirming that virtual care improves access, maintaining clear communication, and measuring outcomes.
Source: mHealth Intelligence