Categorized | Health

HMSA connects patients to physicians online


HMSA Launches nation’s first online health care service in January.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) has announced the official launch date and consumer price of its new online care service to connect patients and physicians via the Internet or telephone. The service will be the first of its kind in the nation and will help improve access to care throughout the islands.

HMSA’s Online Care will go live Jan. 15, 2009, and will be available to everyone in Hawaii. From the privacy of their home, HMSA health plan members will be able to go online and speak with a physician for only $10. Non-members will be able to use Online Care for $45 per visit.

Online sessions will be immediate, secure and private.

“We’re very proud to offer this revolutionary new service to the residents of our community, especially those who live in rural areas of the state,” HMSA Vice President Michael Stollar said. “One of the many benefits of HMSA’s Online Care will be improved access to care throughout Hawaii.”

Each online session may run for up to 10 minutes. If the physician and patient wish to extend the session another five minutes, HMSA members will pay $5 more. Non-members will pay $15 for an additional five minutes. Patients will pay for online sessions with a major credit card or a PIN-less debit card with a major credit card logo.

“HMSA’s Online Care is not intended to replace face-to-face visits with a physician, but may be used as an easy and convenient alternative in situations where a patient may not be able to visit their physician’s office,” Stollar said. “Because Online Care will be available anytime, it may be used after business hours, on weekends and holidays, and whenever a patient needs to speak with a physician right away.”

HMSA participating physicians who sign up to provide online services will be able to do so from their home or office. Day or night, physicians may log on at any time and provide services to patients around the state. Physicians may work online as much or as little as they like. The system is completely flexible, and can enhance the way a physician chooses to practice.

“At HMSA, we’re excited about Online Care and the many benefits it has for patients, physicians, and the community at large,” Stollar said. “We’re also proud to be leading the country in implementing this innovative health care technology, and believe it will go a long way to help improve access to care in the islands.”

HMSA is a non-profit, mutual benefit association founded in Hawaii in 1938. It is governed by a community board of directors that includes representatives from health care, business, labor, government, education, clergy, and the community at large. HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Nationally, HMSA and 38 other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans provide worldwide coverage to more than 100 million members.

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