Virtual health visits now available with Franciscan On Demand
With patients demanding easier and more convenient access to health care, Franciscan Health now offers online visits. Patients can interact with a Franciscan On Demand physician during a video visit during which a doctor can evaluate a patient’s medical issues in real time.
Patients can access the on-demand physician through computers and mobile devices. The visits are powered by an app called Live Health Online which is available at the app store, Google Play and at FranciscanOnDemand.org.
Patients pay $49 for a video visit that averages 15 minute in length. Before beginning, patients must create an account by selecting a state, an organization (such as Franciscan Health), a preferred pharmacy and insurance information if applicable.
If a patient regularly uses Franciscan Health services or sees a doctor in the Franciscan Physician Network, the visit is recorded in the patient’s chart and the identified primary care physician is notified, just as if the patient presented in-person at the urgent care site. A medical assistant performs an intake interview for the physician.
Commonly treated on-demand visit conditions include cough, headache, fever, flu, minor rashes, allergies, diarrhea and pink eye. Central Indiana physicians based out of Franciscan ExpressCare handle the calls. When necessary, the On Demand physician will make a referral to the nearest urgent care center or emergency department.
Most medical insurances in Indiana cover this service; Medicare and Medicaid, however, do not.
Virtual visits are available daily from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. For more information, visit FranciscanOnDemand.org.
Where would you go for care?
Today, we have more locations for health care than ever. But do you understand the different levels of care offered at locations near you?
Knowing the differences between what an emergency room and an urgent care center offer can make treatment decisions for a loved one in need much easier. What’s more, ending up at the right care center can save you time, money and frustration.
When to go to an emergency room
Emergency rooms are equipped and staffed for the most dire of situations, usually life-threatening, such as accidents and heart attacks. This is one of the reasons why they also are the most expensive option for seeking care. Situations that require emergency room care include:
• Heart attack symptoms such as chest pain
• Stroke symptoms or sudden paralysis
• Trouble breathing
• Broken bones
Urgent care situations
An urgent care center like Franciscan ExpressCare can attend to less serious conditions that aren’t life-threatening but probably should been attended to as soon as possible, including:
• Sprains and strains
• Minor cuts and burns
Your family doctor
Your family doctor is the ideal person to see for non-urgent needs, including coughs, colds, pink eye, earaches, muscle strains and rashes. Your family doctor also is your best health partner for preventive care and can help you keep track of and administer recommended vaccines and tetanus shots, and schedule you for annual physical exams, sports physicals and screenings appropriate to your age and gender.
When your family doctor isn’t available, however, and you have a non-urgent concern, a virtual online physician service like Franciscan On Demand often can provide needed care via a video visit for more information, visit FranciscanOnDemand.org.
Take your exercise routine outside
Now that we get to enjoy longer days and warmer weather, this is a wonderful opportunity to change up exercise routines and head outdoors. Exercising outside is better for your body than activities indoors; it’s now scientifically proven that it’s good for your mental health, too.
Several studies show the connection between exercising outdoors and improved mental health, including:
• Increased energy
• Feelings of revitalization or feeling alive
• Decreased feelings of depression, anxiety and anger
Outdoor exercise can:
• Save you money. The average gym membership costs around $50 a month. Exercising outside can be free!
• Distract your mind from the task of “working out.” On a treadmill, you’re more likely counting the minutes until your time is up. Outside, you have nature, fresh air and beautiful views to keep your mind engaged, and you’ll be more apt to exercise longer and burn more calories.
• Provide vitamin D exposure. While it’s still important to wear sunscreen, getting at least 30 minutes of vitamin D exposure from the sun daily keeps your body’s immune system healthy.
Being active is fun, remember?
Remember how much fun you had playing outside when you were younger? You can experience those feelings again with these fun outdoor exercises:
• Playing with your dog
• Enjoying a nature hike at a park
• Visiting on a playground
Don’t forget safety
Before you head outside, be sure to apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water, especially on very hot days.
Need an exercise goal? Start training to walk or run a half marathon! Franciscan Health is a longtime major sponsor of the Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon and 5K in September and the Monumental Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K in November. Find more information online at IndyWomensHalfMarathon.com and MonumentalMarathon.com.
Q: A friend of mine was told she has prediabetes. How is that different from regular diabetes?
A: Your friend was probably told her blood sugar level is higher than normal but not at a level that would indicate type 2 diabetes. While people diagnosed with diabetes usually report having symptoms like increased thirst, frequent urination and fatigue, a person with prediabetes may not have any such symptoms.
Still, it may be possible that some long-term damage may be happening. Like diabetes, prediabetes can affect the heart, blood vessels and kidneys. This is due to the body’s inability to process insulin properly.
In many cases, adapting healthy lifestyle changes can reduce the chances of prediabetes progressing to type 2 diabetes. This means eating a healthy diet, increasing your activity and losing those extra pounds to reach a healthy weight. These changes can not only reduce your blood sugar level but also help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.
Continuing Christ's Ministry in our Franciscan Tradition. Each day, we commit ourselves to practicing the words of our mission in how we care for our patients.