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Community Care Physicians now offers medical care through its telemedicine iPhone app to anyone in New York State



Community Care Physicians, P.C. (CCP) now offers convenient, remote medical care through its new telemedicine app, VICA – Virtual Care.  The app went live on the App Store Feb 14, 2017 and is now available to download. VICA – Virtual Care can be used to access certified CCP health care professionals – including physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners –in real time for urgent, acute medical issues using video chat on an iPhone. Patients of all ages, within New York State, can use VICA. You do not have to be a patient of Community Care Physicians to use VICA.

VICA can be used for common conditions that can safely be handled virtually without an in person visit, including, but not limited to, gastrointestinal issues, flu, colds and coughs, rashes, UTIs, bug bites/ticks, headaches, pink eye and more.  VICA should not replace a patient’s visit with their primary care physician. The service is particularly useful for those who can’t make it to the doctor for care or have limited access to physicians. “We see patients that have urgent needs but live in remote locations, have no transportation or limited mobility, have high deductibles, or may just be too busy to leave work or home,” said Rommel Tolentino, MD, physician lead on the project and practicing physician at Schodack Internal Medicine and Pediatrics of Community Care Physicians. “VICA – Virtual Care allows people easier access to the medical care they need from a physician group in New York that they may know of and can trust. It’s efficient and cost effective and patients can save on wait and travel time.”

The process is quite simple. You first register for the app with your name, email, and phone number, and accept the terms of use. Next, when you require an appointment, you request a call from the concierge to schedule an appointment time that is convenient for you and the practitioner. The concierge also collects demographic and payment information. At the time of your appointment, you “start your session” with the VICA practitioner and have your appointment using your iPhone camera.  The visit is documented in CCP’s electronic health record. Any necessary prescriptions will be sent to the patient’s pharmacy of choice in New York and notes documenting the virtual visit will be sent to the patient’s primary care physician.

“Continuity of care is as important with VICA as it is in our physical offices,” said Dr. Tolentino.

Community Care Physicians started investigating telemedicine services five years ago and decided to build its own prototype in 2014. A year later, the company began beta testing its product. “Beta testing was very deliberate and controlled,” said Dr. Tolentino. “We worked with patients of our practice in Schodack, as well as with our business partners, such as CDPHP, to create a product we knew would improve access to care, be simple to use, and convenient for patients.”

CCP’s VICA app is different than other telemedicine services. First, it was designed and developed by Community Care Physicians under the guidance of its physicians, operations, finance, IT and branding/design teams. This allowed the company to eliminate features and functionality not relevant to its business, saving a tremendous amount of development time and cost. Second, VICA is staffed by local CCP practitioners, which is advantageous to people in New York receiving care. CCP has provided care to the greater Capital Region of NY for over 30 years and knows the area. This makes any necessary referral and follow-up easier for the local NY population. If you are already a patient of CCP, the VICA team can access your electronic health record. If you are not a patient of CCP, providers will gather the necessary information and coordinate follow up care. Due to physician licensing, only patients within New York State can use the app.

It is free to download VICA from the App Store and there is a $45 fee for the virtual visit, which is comparable to an Urgent Care copayment and much less than an ER visit. This service is currently not covered by most insurance companies. Hours of service are Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm, with extended hours possible based on patient demand. To use the app, you must have an iPhone 5 or newer with iOS 8 or newer and a reliable network connection. VICA will be available for Android within the next 6 months. CCP is also exploring integrating the app into its offices for follow up care for diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety and other chronic conditions.

Visit vicaccp.com for more information or search for “VICA Virtual Care” on the App Store.

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