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Telemedicine helps Iowans during Flu Outbreak Spike

The U of I eCare telemedicine service is one more way Iowans are fighting the flu outbreak

IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) – With 31,000 students back at the University of Iowa after holiday break, some doctors say it’s a safe bet a few have returned carrying the flu. The CDC says the influenza outbreak is now widespread and involves nearly every state but Hawaii. With that in mind the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are trying to make it as easy as possible for patients to access a quick diagnosis and treatment. UIeCare makes it possible for anyone, anywhere to have a face to face meeting with a healthcare professional over their smart phone, laptop or home computer.

Dr. Katie Imborek, UIeCare Medical Director says a remote triage can make all the difference in determining if someone just needs liquids and rest or worst case, needs to head for the emergency room, “ We know that it’s really important that we treat them as soon as possible and so instead of potentially having to wait for your doctor’s office to open or your primary care provider’s service to open, you have access 24 hours a day to UIeCare.” Dr. Imborek says telemedicine is not a substitute for 9-1-1, but in the case of flu it can definitely help a patient in the middle of the night or in the middle of nowhere to determine how serious their symptoms might be.

She says very young patients under the age of five and older patients over the age of 75 are more at risk and should probably be seen in person by a doctor, but anyone else can use the UIeCare app or website and pay $29 for advice and treatment suggestions. Dr. Imborek says it’s a reasonable cost that may be priceless for both patients and doctors, “ Flu is a very contagious illness. We have lots of folks who feel like they might have the flu and they’re going to their provider’s office and all of a sudden there are folks in the waiting room and medical professionals who are exposed to influenza and that’s why we see it’s widespread here in Iowa right now.” For more information on the UIeCare system you can click here.

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