woman doing a virtual health care visit on a tablet


Four types of virtual care

Virtual health care visits were around before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but they have exploded in popularity since then. Now, many people have made virtual care their first choice whenever they have a health issue. And why not? In some ways, virtual care may even be better than in-person care.

You can get virtual care at home or on the go, without having to drive, park or sit in a waiting room. Virtual care offers convenience, time savings and flexibility.

But what kind of care can you get virtually? Quite a lot, it turns out. And there are many virtual care options available. Let’s take a look at the different types of virtual care at Allina Health.

Everyday online

This is a great option for common health conditions that are not urgent—issues like sore throat, fever, ear infection, rashes and more. This type of virtual care does not happen face to face or in real time. You start by answering some questions about how you’re feeling. Depending on your condition, you might also be asked to provide photos. A health care provider reviews your responses and creates a treatment plan, which could include a prescription, customized just for you. You’ll be notified when your results are available–usually within one hour.

Virtual visit

This type of care is also for non-urgent health conditions. You log in to your virtual visit at a scheduled time and talk to your provider over a secure video connection. You can use your phone, tablet or computer to do a virtual visit. A virtual visit can address more health conditions and services than you might expect—from sleep problems to allergy and sinus issues, follow-up care, nutrition, and medication management. Depending on your health needs, your provider may recommend follow-up, hands-on treatment or laboratory work.

Virtual urgent care

This is on-demand care for medical issues that are urgent but not life threatening—issue like back or abdominal pain, flu symptoms, pink eye, rash, migraine, vomiting or sinus infections. If a provider is available right away, you can start a virtual urgent care visit in just a couple of minutes. During busy times, you may need to wait to see a provider. Once the visit starts, you’ll talk face to face with a provider over a secure video connection. Depending on your health issue, your provider may recommend in-person follow up care, prescribe medication or suggest other treatment.

Virtual mental health care

Virtual care offers a confidential and convenient way to get support. You’ll connect with a licensed independent clinical social worker, who will guide you through a brief assessment. They will recommend next steps such as a mental health provider or other resources, based on your unique needs. This option is a good fit for anxiety, depression, stress, marital or family issues, addiction, sleep problems and more.

Virtual visits may seem different than what you’re used to, but you’ll get the same level of care, attention and commitment that you’d expect in person. The cost is similar to an in-person visit, too. Plus, you’ll save time and stress by avoiding travel, parking and busy waiting rooms.

The next time you need health care, there’s a good chance that a virtual option could be the right fit. Explore virtual options today.


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