McLaren Northern Michigan Clinics Adapt Telehealth Technology During COVID-19

McLaren Northern Michigan has expanded telehealth capabilities for patients in our community.

With social distancing and stay at home measures put in place, McLaren Northern Michigan clinicians have been seeking innovative ways to respond to patient needs. Clinicians have worked closely with McLaren Health Care to adapt existing telehealth technology to allow them to continue serving regularly scheduled clinic patients.

In 2019 McLaren Health Care launched the McLarenNow app to allow consumers to see a board-certified physician through their smart phone, tablet, or computer (with web cam) to treat minor illnesses and injuries.  These were primarily used previously for an urgent care type of visit.  In the last two weeks, McLaren has adapted this technology to enable our McLaren Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants from all specialties to connect directly with their regularly scheduled patients virtually.

“The McLarenNow app was originally used to connect a patient to a pool of primary care providers without a scheduled appointment,” said Brad Rider, Director of Northern Operations, McLaren Medical Group. “At the direction of our clinicians, who identified the need for telehealth during this unprecedented time, we have adapted the McLarenNow platform to allow patients to connect directly to their provider for a scheduled appointment.”

McLaren Northern Michigan served as the initial test site for the McLaren Health Care network and piloted the program with the Michigan Heart and Vascular and McLaren Northern Michigan Internal Medicine practices the week of March 23. Telehealth visits will be available for patients of all McLaren Northern Michigan clinics the week of March 30.

“The safety of our patients, colleagues, and medical staff is our priority,” said Rider. “Our clinics remain open for your medical needs, however we strongly encourage patients to utilize the telehealth option for their appointments. Telehealth allows patients to see their provider, while allowing each patient to practice social distancing.”

Patients will still schedule visits with their doctor’s office just like they would a regular appointment. During the registration process they will be offered the option of a telehealth visit and will receive a link from the scheduler to access their appointment.  Patients will connect to a virtual waiting room from their smart phone, tablet, or computer (with web cam) 10 minutes prior to their appointment, and their provider will connect at the designated appointment time.

For any questions regarding telehealth appointments, please contact your provider’s office. Patients who have questions about COVID-19 are encouraged to visit mclaren.org/northernmichigan, call the McLaren Northern Michigan hotline at 231-487-5550, or access a coronavirus screening on the McLaren Now app at mclarennow.org for a cost of $29.  If your symptoms from any condition are life threatening, call 911.

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