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BJC Medical Group launches E-Visit program

Author: ROBERT S./Monday, January 07, 2019

by Bryan Maier • bryan.maier@bjc.org

BJC MEDICAL GROUP | On Nov. 6, BJC Medical Group’s Internal Medicine Specialists practice began an E-Visit pilot program, designed to provide secure, quick and convenient patient care online, at a cost less than an office visit. An E-Visit costs $20 and allows patients to receive care from their provider through the MyChart portal for eight common conditions: back pain, cough, diarrhea, headache, heartburn, sinus problems and vaginal discharge/irritation.

In support of the launch, more than 7,000 MyChart-registered patients received an email inviting them to use E-Visit. In the first three weeks, 35 patients had used E-Visit. By comparison, recent E-Visit start-ups at some other health organizations reportedly produced 7 to 10 E-Visits in their first month.

How it works

Patients who have been seen in the Internal Medicine Specialists office and have signed up for MyChart can participate in the pilot.

Through the secure MyChart portal, patients click on the Messaging/Ask A Question/E-Visit button and submit answers to a series of questions about their health condition.

This information is sent to a provider to review and provide a diagnosis and treatment plan electronically.

The diagnosis and treatment plan is submitted back through MyChart to the patient within two hours.

If the provider determines that the patient should be seen in the office for further examination/consultation, the patient will only be charged for the office visit, not the E-Visit.

The E-Visit service is offered 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday; requests that come in before or after hours will be handled the next business day.

“The benefits of an E-Visit to the patient are numerous,” says Michele Thomas, MD, BJC Medical Group chief medical information officer. “It’s convenient and no appointment is needed. It’s secure and confidential. There are no issues with transportation or finding the office. Patients receive a quick diagnosis at a lower cost and can get a prescription if needed.”

The benefits to BJC, says Dr. Thomas, are improved patient satisfaction, faster patient recovery and fewer missed work days, more efficient use of staff and medical resources, and freeing up office visits for sicker patients.

Patient feedback

According to surveys, the majority of patients who have used E-Visit are very satisfied with their experience and are very likely to use E-Visit in the future. Sample comments from the surveys include:

  • “I couldn’t get an appointment and my doctor suggested I do an E-Visit or urgent care. I hate urgent care, so I gave E-Visit a try and it was great!”
  • “My doctor’s schedule is ridiculously full and it’s difficult to get in to see her; also, convulsive coughing is impossible to control and exhausting ... this helped me to stay home in bed where I needed to be and not be exposed to cold air that might have exacerbated my condition.”

Even other physicians are using E-Visit for themselves. A physician who is also a patient of Internal Medicine Specialists used E-Visit for her own medical condition. She was so impressed with the quick turnaround and care received, she informed other doctors in her practice of the E-Visit offering.

The E-Visit pilot was developed by a cross-functional team including clinicians, physician services, performance improvement and Epic/business analysts. Project work began in August 2018. The pilot is scheduled to end in early February 2019, and results will be evaluated to determine if expanding the program is beneficial.

Additional information about the E-Visit pilot:

  • Providers can order prescriptions during an E-Visit.
  • The patient questionnaire takes about five minutes to complete.
  • The $20 cost for an E-Visit is not currently covered by insurance. It is self-pay with a credit card.
  • Internal Medicine Specialists, the participating practice for the pilot, has two office locations: at Missouri Baptist Medical Center and on Ladue Road.
  • Pending results of the pilot, BJC anticipates rolling out the E-Visit option to all BJC Medical Group primary care practices in 2019.
  • To create a MyChart account, go to mypatientchart.org and use the activation code given to you by your provider during your office visit.
  • Planning for a second phase of the E-Visit pilot is underway with Washington University, and is expected to focus on post-surgery follow up.

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Number of views (1171)/Comments (4)

4 comments on article "BJC Medical Group launches E-Visit program"

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Marquita Harris

1/11/2019 6:28 AM

Great News! Implementing the E-Visit pilot program to patients to receive care from their provider through the MyChart portal is awesome. This program is well overdue and much needed. After, reviewing this entire article and learning about the numerous of benefits this program has to offers will bring exceptional satisfaction to your patients. Thank you all.


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JULIE

1/11/2019 8:56 AM

This would be great for patients who may have a contagious disease (measles, mumps, flu, etc.) to prevent spreading it to staff or other patients in the waiting room!


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Denise C

1/12/2019 9:11 PM

Love this idea, but think it would be MUCH improved with a "Facetime" type contact vs just an email assessment. I mean perhaps you could do the email assessment first and then follow up with a face to face type call. Having the contact solely through the email seems a bit too removed for me. Not only that, but it would also help the careprovider to see things such as rashes, hear coughs, etc.


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Terri Coffman

1/14/2019 2:16 PM

Just curious if we can use our Medical spending account for en E-Visit?

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