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Reno Helping Shape the Future of Healthcare

Oct 07 2015


By Erin Breen

Those who showed up for the Food Bank's food pantry near downtown Reno Wednesday found more than fresh fruits and vegetables. They also found a chance to visit with a doctor online on Anthem's test program called Live Health Online. 

"I call it an Urgent Care in the Cloud," said John Jesser with the Anthem Foundation.

They had two kiosks set up where people could access a doctor, punch in their symptoms and their vitals and talk with a doctor face-to-face within ten minutes.

"We see a lot of small acute things,"said Dr. Andrea Gabel who is based in San Antonio, Texas. "Things like pink eye and sore throats and coughs and even urinary track infections. I've diagnosed a couple of embolisms online and one brain tumor. If it's something we can handle, we do. If not, we refer them to a local doctor or to a hospital for more help. But it does calm a lot of nerves. We don't see ourselves as replacing physicians but as taking the burden off of those who are too busy and offering patients the convenience of actually talking to a doctor."

And they say it's all for the same price as an in-office visit.

"Mothers find it amazing. Because say it's 9 at night and someone doesn't feel well. That's when you have to decide whether to get everyone up and go to an emergency room or urgent care, and you have to decide whether to stay home with them the next day and get in with a doctor," says Jesser. "Well, within ten minutes they are face-to-face with a doctor who can tell how urgent it is and either refer them to an emergency room or call in an prescription."

Helaine Johnson used the program at today's food pantry.

"It's great," she said. "It's convenient and the same price as a regular office visit. They can't do everything, like I needed a knee brace, but they got me to a primary care physician and it was good. I hope they do more of this...it's affordable and convenient."

The program is already available to Anthem clients who can access if online or through a smartphone with an app. They are seeing how it works in Reno and hope to implement it nationwide over the next few years. 

"Reno could be the model for the country!" Jesser said today. 

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