CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The flu season hit Northeast Ohio early, sending thousands of people to the hospital by early January.
"Lots of sickness, lots of people not able to go to work because of being ill, and it is going up on an exponential basis, day after day, week after week," said Dr. Matthew Faiman.
Dr. Faiman is the Medical Director of Express Care Online. The service provided by Cleveland Clinic health care professionals, allows patients to connect with doctors through virtual visits.
You can download the app, request a specific doctor, and usually be connected to that person within a matter of minutes. Dr. Faiman says most of the visits take about ten minutes in total. From there, the doctor may give you a diagnosis or write a prescription for your condition.
"I will have patients press on their sinuses or shine a flashlight in the back of their throat to help me make a diagnosis, so that's a novel way to help us educate the doctors, the nurse practitioners, and other providers who are taking care in this practice," said Dr. Faiman.
He said about 15,000 people used the service in 2017, and he expects that number to grow between 25,000 and 50,000 in the near future.
"It's not going to be the only aspect, it's not going to replace, but it's certainly going to augment how we care for patients," he said. "Moving forward, this is going to be something we look back ten years from now and say, wow, this is where we were then. It's certainly going to be around, moving into the future."