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Telehealth has been around for decades, with appointments initially being held by phone, and in more recent years, through video and text. Many consumers were slow to adopt care being provided remotely — until COVID-19. The demand for virtual care skyrocketed at the start of the pandemic, and at UW Medicine we have seen telehealth visits grow from around 1% of all visits before COVID-19 to approximately 20% year-to-date for fiscal year 2021.

To provide our patients with high quality, flexible telehealth options, on Dec. 1, 2020, UW Medicine will unveil a new on-demand virtual care service with 98point6®, one of the industry leaders in providing virtual care. This service replaces the UW Medicine Virtual Clinic offered through Amwell.

98point6 provides on-demand, text-based care through an app. Patients 18 years and older can use the subscription-based service 24/7 for unlimited, text-based diagnosis and treatment for common health concerns and illnesses from board-certified 98point6 physicians. The providers can prescribe medications or refer for in-person care if needed.

Here’s what you need to know about UW Medicine On-Demand Virtual Care with 98point6.

How does 98point6 coordinate care with UW Medicine?

One important aspect of this new service is that each patient encounter summary will be included in the patient’s UW Medicine medical record and shared with their care team. This electronic hand off enhances the patient experience and better coordinates care. When a patient visits his or her provider, the provider will have a record of the virtual encounter.

98point6 physicians do not have access to a patient’s UW Medicine medical record or UW Medicine systems. UW Medicine’s Health Information system team coordinates with 98point6 to update the patient’s health records.

How does On-Demand Virtual Care with 98point6 differ from the Virtual Clinic?

There are several key differences between UW Medicine On-Demand Virtual Care with 98point6 and our previous virtual care vendor.

  1. Text-based care. UW Medicine On-Demand Virtual Care with 98point6 is a text-based service that can be elevated to a phone call or video visit as needed. With the 98point6 app, the UW Medicine logo and name do not appear.
  2. On-demand. As the name suggests, “on-demand” care means no appointments and connect with a doctor within minutes.
  3. 98point6 physicians. Another difference in service provided by 98point6 is that all virtual care visits are provided by board-certified, 98point6 physicians. They are screened for their technical competency and ability to deliver primary care remotely through private and secure in-app messaging.
  4. Coordinated care. After each visit, UW Medicine patients will have their care coordinated with UW Medicine. 98point6 physicians will also refer patients back to our network as appropriate.
  5. Subscription service. With a 98point6 Personal Plan subscription, patients can get medical care anytime, anywhere — no appointment necessary – using the app. Visits are text-based and only available to adults ages 18 and older. Patients can purchase a subscription plan for $30 for the first three months, plus $1 per visit. After that, annual plans are $120 per year plus $1 per visit.

Virtual care anytime, anywhere

UW Medicine On-Demand Virtual Care with 98point6 does not replace a patient’s relationship with a primary care provider. It is intended to be a resource available 24/7 so patients can get the advice of a medical professional when their doctor may not be available.

98point6 physicians can diagnose and treat a variety of common health concerns such as colds and the flu, rashes, seasonal allergies, sleep issues and more. 98point6 physicians can also prescribe refills of essential medications, such as inhalers and epinephrine.

For more information about UW Medicine On-Demand Virtual Care with 98point6, register for an internal webinar on Dec. 8 at 11:00 a.m. PST or read the internal FAQ document.