You are here

Beyond the News

The Doctor Will Video Chat with You Now

University Business, January 2013
webcam doctor

At Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (Pa.), seeing a doctor is now just a click away. Using Rapid Remedy, an online service that allows students to video chat with board-certified physicians, Harrisburg students can skip unneeded office visits while saving the school money, shares Harrisburg’s President Eric Darr.

“Often with students, particularly in an urban setting, what leaps to mind is, ‘I’m going to go to an emergency room because I think I have the flu,’” says Darr. “It’s ridiculous to sit there for six or eight hours, or however long it could take to wait in an emergency room, when all you need are antibiotics.”

With Rapid Remedy, 60 percent of what people will typically call in for—think rashes or cold symptoms—can be fully handled online. Follow-up visits can be scheduled, and the doctors can transmit a prescription to any pharmacy the student requests. The other 40 percent of the time, the doctors will direct a patient to the emergency room or to his or her family physician.

Located in the center of urban Harrisburg, the university does not have its own health services center as a more remote school would, so the school contracts with a health system just a block away from campus. The online doctor’s visits, which are covered by the school, are one-tenth the cost of an in-person visit,
according to Darr.

Harrisburg has been in pilot use of Rapid Remedy since September, giving students unlimited access for the time being, at least. And students are already relaying the convenience of the service. Take, for example, the student who had flu-like symptoms and, within 20 minutes, was prescribed antibiotics and didn’t have to leave his dorm room until walking two doors down to the nearest pharmacy to pick up the prescription. Not only was this time and cost effective, it minimized the number of students who come in contact with him, says Darr.