Virtual urgent care to the rescue

It’s never fun or convenient to be sick. As a married and working mom of two, Amy Dooley knows this well.

Amy, a Peoria resident who works full-time as a Human Resources representative, has two children who attend daycare and is no stranger to the illnesses that can strike out of nowhere.

On a recent Monday night, Amy’s kids were in bed and she knew she needed to seek care for her symptoms, which included a stuffy nose and head, an ear ache, a painful cough and the need to use her inhaler more than usual. But she was in a bind, with her doctor’s office closed. She was also uncertain if she would be able to take time away from work the next day for a visit.

OSF OnCall Patient Amy Dooley

Amy remembered hearing about OSF OnCall, a virtual urgent care clinic that is accessible anytime of the day or night from a smartphone, computer or tablet, at a cost of $35. These virtual visits can be appropriate for diagnosing and treating everything from sinus infections and flu to bladder infections, pink eye and poison ivy. Amy visited the website to request a virtual visit and was speaking with a doctor – from her living room – about 15 minutes later.

During the visit, the physician:

  • Asked about physical symptoms
  • Listened to Amy’s cough
  • Walked her through a physical exam by having her tap and press on sinus areas
  • Discussed her health history

The doctor diagnosed Amy with a sinus infection and prescribed an antibiotic, which was called in to a pharmacy just blocks from her home. The exam took about 18 minutes, and Amy didn’t have to leave home – or even change out of her pajamas. She also received an email summary of her visit, with instructions for follow-up care with her primary care physician should the symptoms persist. About 4 days later, she was back to feeling 100 percent better.

“This is so convenient for working mothers, and saved me from having to schedule time away from work,” Amy said. “When you think about travel time to the clinic, time spent in the waiting room and even time spent waiting for a prescription at a pharmacy, it adds up. My co-pay is $20 anyway, and this saves so much time.”