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The doctor will see you now. Just hold your smartphone a little closer.

DoctoronDemandtablet2MultiCare Health System has announced it will offer “video doctor visits” to patients throughout Washington state in partnership with Doctor on Demand. Using the Doctor on Demand app for Android or iOS smartphones and tablets, or a webcam-enabled computer, patients can have a virtual visit with a Board Certified physician.

The Tacoma-based health care provider says its MultiCare Doctor on Demand is appropriate for a wide range of of medical issues, such as cough, flu, eye infections, urinary tract infections, and sports injuries.

MultiCare promises patients will be connected with a physician within 90 seconds. Appropriate prescriptions can be electronically sent to a nearby pharmacy, and the outcome of the visit is securely integrated into MultiCare’s electronic medical records system in real-time.

It is, MultiCare says in its announcement, “particularly convenient for busy moms and working professionals.”

While the usual cost for the service is $40, MultiCare is offering first visits free for a limited time to launch the program. And, MultiCare says, that if a patient can’t be treated virtually, there won’t be a charge.

Virtual health care visit programs have recently been on the upswing: Microsoft, for example, has been promoting a Kinect-powered “nurse avatar” that’s in use in California.

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