UMMC, C Spire collaborate on new health app
Published on Thursday, October 24, 2019
By: Ruth Cummins, firstname.lastname@example.org
A new C Spire mobile telehealth app is allowing anyone located in Mississippi to receive non-emergency urgent care from University of Mississippi Medical Center providers.
The free app, C Spire Health, connects users face-to-face with providers through UMMC’s Center for Telehealth. It’s designed to improve access to quick and reliable care for a number of routine ailments, especially for those living in the state’s rural corners and other underserved areas.
The app is the product of more than two years of development by C Spire in collaboration with the Center for Telehealth. Those using it don’t have to be C Spire customers. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play and Apple App stores to any smartphone that runs either an Android or iOS operating system.
“As an innovative technology leader that gets our inspiration from customers, we are excited about giving the state’s consumers more choices to better manage their health care with simple, easy and convenient solutions,” said Hu Meena, president and CEO of C Spire, a Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company.
“We see this as a step forward for Mississippi,” said Kevin Cook, chief executive officer for UMMC’s Health System. “We’re proud to be a partner with them and to provide high quality health care when you need it and where you need it.”
UMMC is one of only two Telehealth Centers of Excellence nationwide and has led industry efforts in Mississippi for broader application of telemedicine.
Currently, UMMC clinicians are providing services through the app, but as the program grows, the goal is to include other physicians and nurse practitioners from around the state.
The cost for a visit is $59, payable online by credit card when scheduling an appointment through the app. It’s an attractive alternative for those with limited or no health insurance, and studies show is significantly less expensive than a visit to a traditional urgent care clinic or emergency room.
C Spire Health isn’t intended to replace a user’s primary care physician, but instead to treat common, non-emergency medical conditions. Patients can make an appointment after downloading the app and creating an account. Visit hours are Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
On the initial visit, a clinician will ask the patient questions about his medical history. The information is stored securely. The clinician will evaluate the patient’s condition verbally through audio or video consultation. In most cases, the clinician can reach a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan without additional testing.
The provider also can call in prescriptions to the patient’s preferred pharmacy and refer patients to specialists if needed. The app will send patients a summary of their visit at the end of their appointment.
UMMC 2 You, a similar telehealth urgent care program, is offered by the Medical Center to state employees who are covered by the state’s insurance plan. Several corporations also take part In UMMC 2 You. Users can download the UMMC 2 You app onto a computer, tablet or smartphone and create an account. State employees covered by the base plan pay $49 per visit and are eligible for a $10 copay after meeting their annual deductible; those covered by the select plan pay $10 per visit, which is not subject to their annual deductible. Costs to corporate customers vary by insurance provider.
The C Spire Health app debuts at a time when hospitals and doctors are looking for new, creative ways to combat physician shortages. At the same time, there are growing consumer preferences for more convenient access and treatment for minor health issues and conditions, said Ryan Kelly, executive director of the Mississippi Telehealth and Rural Health Associations.
Meena said technology innovation in health care is a key part of the C Spire Tech Movement, a companywide effort begun in 2017 designed to help move the region forward through improvements in broadband access and workforce development.
To learn more or to download and use the C Spire Health app, go to www.cspirehealth.com.To learn more about the UMMC Center for Telehealth, go to www.umc.edu/Healthcare/Telehealth