Mark Schmeltz, DO, Beacon Medical Group family medicine physician and co-chair of the Beacon Health System Telehealth Committee, spoke with WNDU about Beacon’s telemedicine capabilities. Click the image to see the interview.

Beacon Health System’s virtual urgent care service, Beacon Connected Care, marked a milestone on Tuesday when it provided its 1,000th online physician visit.

At a time when virtual consultations with doctors by smart phone, tablet or computer are becoming increasingly popular across the country, a growing number of time-crunched consumers in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan are utilizing Beacon Connected Care because the convenient, affordable option meets their urgent care needs.

“Telemedicine is still relatively new in Indiana, because it was one of the last states to approve virtual visits. We have found that patients appreciate the short amount of time it takes to connect with a physician on their digital device and receive quality personalized care,” said Dr. Mark Schmeltz, a Beacon Medical Group family physician who also serves as medical director of Beacon’s online urgent care service.

Board-certified doctors diagnose and treat Beacon Connected Care adult and pediatric patients who have minor health concerns, including allergies, fever, rash, stomach flu, sinus infection, pink eye or headaches. Consumers create an account using a mobile app or desktop connection, choose a provider, and within about three minutes on average, they are talking with a physician through a safe, secure real-time video connection.

Beacon Connected Care is available to consumers on a cash basis for $49 with a coupon. Additionally, area businesses are beginning to provide these types of visits to their employees and their families as part of their benefit plan. Some plans cover this type of visit and a receipt for insurance filing is emailed at the end of the visit.

Beacon is also piloting video visits into Beacon Medical Group practices, where distance patients or chronic care patients may be seen more conveniently. Virtual medical visits are one of the ways Beacon Health System is demonstrating a commitment to making urgent care more convenient, connected and coordinated for people throughout the community.

To learn more about Beacon Connected Care, go to BeaconConnectedCare.org.