As flu spreads, patients encouraged to make E-Visits

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FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - The CDC reports Wisconsin, along with much of the country, remains under high flu activity.

Photo: Pixabay

The State Department of Health confirms more than 8,400 cases in Wisconsin from September through the end of January. Six hundred and thirteen cases resulted in hospitalization. Since October first, there have been no pediatric deaths in the state, but 53 have been reported nationwide.

Children's Hospital of Wiisconsin is temporarily restricting children under 12 years old from visiting patients, to prevent spreading the flu. That takes effect tomorrow for both the Neenah and Milwaukee hospitals. And ThedaCare is also adopting that restriction at all seven of its hospitals.

The healthcare provider will continue to steer patients to use it's online E-Visit program to prevent the spread of germs.

Thanks to technology a trip to the doctor's office, when you're sick, is no longer a must. In fact, with this year's flu spreading fast, doctors are asking patients not to schedule an office visit.

Dr. Josh Block is a ThedaCare Physician. He says, "We don't want anyone spreading it to other people, people that are at risk, young people, infant children, pregnant women, older people. So, actually we want them to stay home."

With that directive, ThedaCare has seen record use of its online E-visits. Available on the my-thedacare website, it only takes patients a few keystrokes and clicks of the mouse to see a doctor and receive a diagnosis.

Jill Nettekoven was home sick with the flu when she developed what she thought was pink eye. Her first E-Visit later, her suspicions were confirmed and she was on her way to recovery.

According to Nettekoven, "I thought, rather than going into the office and spreading my germs, I would try it. And so, I basically went onto my computer in my pajamas and I filled out the questionnaire. I was able to describe my symptoms in one of the little explanation boxes and I submitted it and within 20 minutes I had a response back."

ThedaCare says patients will receive a response within two hours, but with a team of doctors, nurses and physician assistants monitoring the E-Visit site every day from 7am to 5pm, responses are usually much quicker.

Doctors say the E-visits are not only quick and convenient, but also a great way to ensure everyone's safety.

Dr. Block adds, "I think this a great new technology, a new feature, and a new way to deliver cutting edge care with patients first."