UHS Virtual Walk-in first to earn national accreditation
An online telehealth program offered by UHS has become the first hospital-based consumer-to-provider telehealth service in the United States to earn national accreditation.
The UHS Virtual Walk-In has received a two-year accreditation from URAC, the largest independent nationwide accrediting agency in the field. UHS looks forward to continuing its accreditation through URAC.
“By earning Telehealth Accreditation from URAC, UHS is operating on the cutting edge of healthcare delivery,” said URAC President and CEO Shawn Griffin, M.D. “Independent accreditation demonstrates UHS can provide value-based care to more people while meeting performance standards conceived by a broad array of telehealth stakeholders. As technology becomes more critical in achieving population health goals, UHS blazes a trail that others will follow.”
UHS’ online walk-in program is one of the few in the region to connect consumers with local physicians and advance practice providers, rather than with doctors at other locations around the country.
Patients have the advantage of using their desktop computer, laptop or mobile device to talk on-screen with a local provider who is a member of the UHS medical staff and familiar with UHS healthcare services.
“We provide patients with a real-time, on-screen visit with a UHS physician or advanced practice provider—the same trusted local provider they would see if they were to be treated at one of our walk-in clinics,” said Sean Britton, program manager for UHS Telehealth. “In short, our service is local providers, with national accreditation.”
The UHS program is the sixth organization nationwide to obtain consumer-to-provider accreditation through URAC, and the first organization which wasn’t established solely for the provision of consumer-to-provider telehealth. UHS’ service has been up and running since June 2019.
To achieve accreditation, the UHS Virtual Walk-In was measured against 36 quality standards in a rigorous review process that lasted several weeks.
Virtual Walk-In team leaders submitted supporting documentation, showing that UHS’ providers are credentialed and that the service meets the highest clinical and information security standards. In addition, as part of the accreditation process, a virtual site inspection was conducted.
The UHS Virtual Walk-In Center has just recently expanded their hours and is now open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
During the online visit, the patient receives a diagnosis and a prescription, if needed, from the convenience of their own home, workplace or other location.
The types of conditions diagnosed and treated through virtual walk-ins include respiratory infections and allergies, skin and nail problems, urinary tract infections, common infections, and eye and mouth problems.
Preventive and travel medications also can be prescribed.
The provider has access to the consumer’s current electronic health record, if the person is already a UHS patient. Third-party payers are billed when the virtual visit is complete, and the patient’s out-of-pocket cost doesn’t exceed $39.
Founded in 1990, URAC is the independent leader in promoting health care quality through leadership, accreditation, measurement and innovation. URAC is a nonprofit organization that uses evidence-based measures and develop standards through inclusive engagement with a range of stakeholders who are committed to improving the quality of health care. Our portfolio of accreditation and certification programs span the health care industry, addressing health care management and operations, health plans, pharmacies, telehealth providers, physician practices, and more. URAC accreditation is a symbol of excellence for organizations to showcase their validated commitment to quality and accountability.
UHS is a locally owned, not-for-profit hospital and healthcare system serving Greater Binghamton and surrounding counties. Founded in 1981, UHS provides a full range of medical, surgical, rehabilitative and long-term care services throughout New York’s Southern Tier.