Saving Time and Money with Radish Health


Jason Sellers, MD

We all know telehealth can be convenient, but at Radish we are pushing the boundaries. In this blog post, we share a compelling case in which one of our patients contacted their Radish doctor and was spared the hassle of spending hours in the emergency room, as well as the substantial ER copay and sick time they would have had to spend.

There are certain health issues that are more easily treated through telehealth than others. For example, it’s much easier to diagnose seasonal allergies than it is to distinguish some mild indigestion versus a potentially life-threatening case of appendicitis. However, the question about appendicitis comes up more often than you may think, and at Radish Health we are pushing the boundaries of how telehealth can be delivered!

Can appendicitis really be treated through telehealth?

No way! An actual case of appendicitis can only be treated by going to the hospital and getting antibiotics or having the appendix removed by surgery. Most patients coming to us with stomach pain do not have appendicitis, but when the pain is in the right place and other symptoms are aligned, we have to be on higher alert.

Our patient came to us with stomach pain in the right lower area of the stomach, just over the appendix, which had been gradually getting worse over the past 24 hours. He was recovering from a cold and had been coughing a lot – a classic cause for weird, nondescript stomach pain. Even though it was not likely that he had appendicitis, given the location and intensity of his pain we knew we had to rule it out to be sure.

How do you rule out appendicitis?

If this patient had gone to just about any urgent care or primary care practice, he would have been sent directly to the emergency room for further evaluation. The reason for that is that the emergency room is usually the fastest place to get a CT scan to show whether the appendix is inflamed or not. However, the ER also comes with long wait times and hefty copays, and it is usually an all-day affair.

In order to avoid the trip to the ER, our patient’s Radish doctor contacted a local outpatient imaging center and scheduled a CT scan for that afternoon. The Radish Care Team sprung into action and had the scan approved by the patient’s insurance within minutes.

What happened next?

The patient went to his scheduled appointment that afternoon, was in and out within 30 minutes, and his Radish doctor had the results of a negative CAT scan a half hour later. His pain resolved within the next 24 hours and the cough went away a week later.

By embracing telehealth and engaging our care coordination team, we were able to offer our patient excellent care right at his workplace, eliminating the need for an unnecessary trip to the hospital and saving him a $400 emergency room copay as well as a day of sick time!

Can telehealth work like this for all emergencies?

If you are having stomach pain and do not have access to a physician, you should go to the emergency room to be evaluated right away. If you have Radish Health, you can schedule a same-day appointment with your Radish doctor to discuss your symptoms and get guidance on what to do next.

If you don’t have Radish Health and you think it would be a great benefit to have through your workplace, get in touch to refer your employer.

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