Health

Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care Centers expand virtual visit hours

Due to their success with virtual visits during the pandemic, Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care Centers have started offering virtual visits from 8 a.m. to midnight.

This expanded offering aims to make patients in the greater Chicago area more accessible.

Heather Keirnan, vice president of immediate care at Northwestern Medicine, said the health system decided to expand its virtual visiting hours after many patients expressed a desire for more planning flexibility. The visiting times in the clinic remain unchanged.

“During the pandemic, we received great feedback from patients who valued our telemedicine appointments,” said Keirnan. “We started offering virtual visits to protect patients and staff from the virus that is causing COVID-19, and we’ve expanded hours of operation to help patients get the care they need at the times that are most convenient for them need.”

Patients who opt for the virtual visit option can reserve appointments online.

During a virtual visit, the patient speaks by phone or video chat with a family doctor or an experienced practice provider.

Virtual visits may be suitable for patients 2 years and older who are experiencing:

• cold and cough symptoms, flu symptoms, allergies, sinus pain or sore throat;

• Minor injuries and accidents;

• nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;

• A headache;

• pink eye;

• urinary tract infection;

• Lower back pain.

“In the past, our clinics were open until 8 p.m., so the additional four hours of virtual visits made it much easier for patients to quickly access the care they need,” said Keirnan. “In some cases, patients need to come by for an in-person appointment, laboratory test, or medical imaging, but most medical needs can be met through the virtual visits. This is a great response to patient feedback and we know it will help “many members of our community.”

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