CHRISTUS Physician Group and CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini dramatically expand Telehealth services and online screening tool

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CHRISTUS Physician Group and CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System is drastically expanding telehealth services and online screening tools Louisiana with the launch of secure video and telephone visits and an online COVID-19 screening tool.

Beginning now, telehealth services are expanding to offer secure, HIPAA-compliant video visits with primary care providers at CHRISTUS Physician Group locations in central Louisiana. These video visits are available for Apple iPhone and Android users and on computers with video/audio capabilities.

“A video visit is a visit with your clinician through your computer or smart phone with video capability and is appropriate for evaluations of most any symptom you have. A telephone visit is used for those with no video capability and is just a telephone call only. Either a video or telephone visit can be used for simple things such as coughs and colds, or for more complicated things such as helping manage diabetes or heart disease,” said Marisa Emmons, MD, MHA, FAAFP, Medical Director, CHRISTUS Physician Group. “Primary care video visits are available now, and specialty visits will be coming soon.”

If a patient begins a video visit and their primary care provider determines the need for an in-person evaluation, that will be arranged. If further testing such as blood work or consultations is necessary, a referral and instructions will be provided. Both video and telephone visits are covered by nearly all major medical insurances including Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. Depending on your plan, you will likely be billed a copay, just as though you were seeing your provider in a traditional office setting. For self-pay patients, video visits are $75 and telephone visits are $40.

“The new CHRISTUS Health telemedicine offerings can be used to prevent overcrowding in clinics and used in the prevention of any possible exposures. Our goal is to reduce risk and continue to facilitate high-quality care,” said Dr. Emmons.

The CHRISTUS COVID Health Chatbot is live at CHRISTUSHealth.org and accessible by the public. The goal is to alleviate stress on call centers facility phone lines by offering a dedicated tool to help patients self-screen for the virus and get direction on what steps they need to take next.

A chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) unit programmed into a website to perform basic, automated duties, such as replying to customers on a retail site or engaging with users on social media messenger services.

“Just look on the right side of the screen, and you will see a yellow box. That’s our Chatbot. Patients can interact with the Chatbot through a text-chat interface on the website,” said Paul Generale, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Network Officer. “The COVID Health Chatbot is available 24/7 and provides a screening function for patients who have any of the COVID-19 symptoms and/or have had exposure to a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.”

He added. “The goal is to alleviate stress on our hospital switchboards. We want people to be able to access valuable tools to help them self-screen for the virus and get them connected to the right place to receive care.”

“As healthcare systems adapt their procedures and we all make changes to our daily lives and routines, it is important that CHRISTUS Physician Group does everything we can to ensure patients have access to the medical care they need,” said Jennifer Beal, Chief Operating Officer, CHRISTUS Physician Group. “We are poised to do whatever it takes to continue bringing you the same seamless, compassionate care you have come to expect, while also doing everything we can to minimize the spread of infectious disease throughout the communities we serve.”

For patients who are interested in scheduling a secure video consultation, please contact your local clinic directly to schedule an appointment or visit ChristusVirtualMedicine.org