By Becky Carter
President and CNO, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital
As we embark on a New Year, I want to make sure you know about a new type of doctor visit at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital. The Mission Virtual Clinic  is a game changer, because you can now be diagnosed and treated very cost effectively for common ailments without ever leaving your home! I recently utilized the Mission Virtual Clinic and found the process to be straightforward, pleasant, and most importantly, both affordable and effective!
Virtual care, a broad term used to describe technology-assisted care, is rapidly changing medicine. For example, our telemedicine capabilities at BRRH allow us to communicate immediately and remotely with dedicated stroke experts at Mission Hospital, a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, where a board certified stroke neurologist can collaborate with our local physician 24 hours per day, every single day of the year. Additionally, hospital patients can now be monitored by a remote nurse who, through audio and video communication can prevent them from falling. Simply put, virtual care allows us to provide the most advanced and efficiently delivered care possible.
Mission Virtual Clinic offers consumers care for common and simple health problems, such as colds, flu or urinary tract infections. Of course, if you are experiencing a serious medical threat, like a heart attack, call 911 immediately; the Virtual Clinic is not an appropriate place to seek help for any type of emergency. Further, if a consumer consults with the Mission Virtual Care Clinic and the physician discovers a problem that requires in-person examination or treatment, the physician will ensure that an appropriate referral is made.
After going to Mission Virtual Clinic on your computer or tablet or phone, you will need to answer a series of questions about your problem. It typically takes about five minutes to answer those questions after which you will be connected (within an hour during regular clinic hours) to a board-certified health provider from Mission Health. Mission Virtual Clinic providers can diagnose and treat patients from ages 2 to 65, call in prescriptions, and consult with patients anytime between 7:00am and 11:00pm, Monday through Sunday. Should you use the service after hours in the middle of the night, you can expect a clinical response between 7:00am and 8:00am the following morning.
The visit cost is extremely affordable at a $25.00 flat fee. You pay online with a credit card and may submit your receipts for insurance reimbursement if you choose to do so and your plan allows.
I recently got very positive feedback from a community member who shared with me how smoothly her Mission Virtual Clinic appointment had gone. She noted that consulting with the physician from the comfort of her own home when she didn’t feel well was a bonus, and she praised the easy-to-understand, low cost payment process.
We want to serve you, even when it isn’t convenient to see us face-to-face. Mission Virtual Clinic is yet another way that BRRH and Mission Health are making our community’s access to care even better.
To learn more and access the Mission Virtual Clinic, please visit missionhealth.org/virtual-clinic 
Wishing you a healthy 2018!
Rebecca W. Carter, MSN, RN, FACHE is President and Chief Nursing Officer of Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine. Carter has served in senior hospital management for over 20 years and previously served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer of Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard, also a part of the Mission Health system.
Ms. Carter is board certified in healthcare management and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). A native of North Carolina, she holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ms. Carter is currently a resident of Burnsville.