CHICAGO - Not sure if you have a cold or COVID?
Well, you no longer need to run out to your doctor or buy an at-home test to answer that question.
A medical team will now come to your home to diagnose those symptoms, and much more.
It was just another day at the office for lead nurse practitioner Patrick Huynh and EMT Juan Gomez, as they head off to make their first house call of the day.
That’s right, a house call. Maybe you remember what that is. They were going to Franklin Park to help a patient find out if they have a cold or COVID.
Patrick and Juan are one of three medical teams dispatch health has on the road every day in the Chicago area.
"We found that patients were going to the emergency room for things they didn’t need to go to the emergency department for," said Patrick Huynh, Lead Nurse Practitioner, Dispatch Health.
"We can care for almost anything that’s not life-threatening or limb threatening in home," he added. "Things like colds. Things like sore throats. Bladder infections."
They can also help patients who are having trouble with medical conditions ranging from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or congestive heart failure, to asthma to a stomachache.
In addition to all the ailments they can help you with at home, their hours of operation are pretty convenient for most patients.
"We are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the year. Holidays. Weekends," Patrick said. "Parents. Caregivers as well. Especially with the older population … getting an elderly person is just as hard to get out the door as packing up your toddler into the car seat."
One Chicago couple agrees. They dialed up Dispatch Health a few weeks ago to see if they had COVID or not.
"Particularly here in Chicago, its cold right now," Freddy said. "When you don’t feel good or being around people, you don’t want to infect anyone … it was very efficient. It was a good way to go … we loved it.
Freddie Weaver and Elsbeth Meuth had never used a service like this before and were pleasantly surprised.
"And fast. And that is what we wanted," Elsbeth said.
Based in Denver, Dispatch Health opened up shop about five years ago and has at least 40 offices around the US, including the one in Chicago that opened last October in partnership with Rush Medical Center.
"We’re all very busy. It’s a busy society and we need the convenience of having options," said Dr. Meeta Shah of Rush.
While tele-health became more popular once the pandemic began, Dr. Shah says partnering with services like Dispatch Health takes it to the next level.
"There are just somethings that need hands on care … and this is a good next step as a bridge to care," Dr. Shah said.
In addition to helping patients receive acute care quicker, Dr. Shah says services like this close another important gap in health care.
"There are certain things that prohibit people from getting the care they need. One of those things for example is mobility or transportation issues," Dr. Shah said. "This really is a way to get that care to those patients when they have that barrier."
Despite its partnership with Rush, anyone can contact Dispatch Health for a same day appointment. They accept most major insurances and the cost is same as an urgent care visit.