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Telehealth: UHS Virtual ‘Walk-In’ Is First to Earn National Accreditation

An online telehealth program offered by UHS has become the first hospital-based consumer-to-provider telehealth service in the United States to earn national accreditation. UHS Virtual Walk-In has received a two-year accreditation from URAC, the largest independent nationwide accrediting agency in the field.

UHS’ online walk-in program is one of the few in the region to connect consumers with local physicians and advance practice providers, rather than with doctors at other locations around the country. Patients have the advantage of using their desktop computer, laptop or mobile device to talk on-screen with a local provider who is a member of the UHS medical staff and familiar with UHS healthcare services.

To achieve accreditation, the UHS Virtual Walk-In was measured against 36 quality standards in a rigorous review process that lasted several weeks. Virtual Walk-In team leaders submitted supporting documentation, showing that UHS’ providers are credentialed and that the service meets the highest clinical and information security standards. In addition, as part of the accreditation process, a virtual site inspection was conducted.

During the online visit, the patient receives a diagnosis and a prescription, if needed, from the convenience of their own home, workplace or other location. The types of conditions diagnosed and treated through virtual walk-ins include respiratory infections and allergies, skin and nail problems, urinary tract infections, common infections, and eye and mouth problems. Preventive and travel medications also can be prescribed. The provider has access to the consumer’s current electronic health record, if the person is already a UHS patient. Third-party payers are billed when the virtual visit is complete, and the patient’s out-of-pocket cost doesn’t exceed $39.

“We provide patients with a real-time, on-screen visit with a UHS physician or advanced practice provider—the same trusted local provider they would see if they were to be treated at one of our walk-in clinics,” said Sean Britton, program manager for UHS Telehealth. “In short, our service is local providers, with national accreditation.”