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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
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The Doctor Will Skype You Now – Seattle’s Carena Launches CareSimple: On-Demand 24/7 Webcam and Phone Visits with Doctors and Nurse Practitioners

Today, Seattle-based Carena launched CareSimple (www.caresimple.com), a medical service that provides consumers easy and affordable access to doctors and nurse practitioners 24/7 via phone and webcam. For the first time, individuals and families in Washington State and California can “go to the doctor” whenever they want without leaving their homes or offices, for less than the cost of a standard doctor’s office visit.

“Everyone’s had a day ruined by an unexpected healthcare issue,” said Ralph C. Derrickson, CEO of Carena. “It may not be serious, but it is urgent. Often, people just need answers – is it serious enough for an office visit or a trip to the ER? Do I need a prescription? CareSimple can treat most things right away over the phone or webcam, at a fraction of the cost, with no travel or waiting room.”

“CareSimple is leveraging technology to deliver simple, effective and affordable help to consumers seeking medical care,” continued Derrickson. “Our Seattle-based medical team is specially trained in the use of technology to diagnose and treat everyday healthcare issues like the flu, bladder and sinus infections, or rashes. We are not a nurse line. We are healthcare for the way we live and work today.”

Seeking medical care today is also financially unpredictable. As of January 1, many people found themselves on a high-deductible healthcare plan where the first few thousand dollars of medical expenses are out of pocket. In Seattle, routine office visits cost between $150 and $350 and a trip to the ER can easily cost over $1,000. Often, the patient won’t know until as much as 45 days later when they get a bill from their insurance company.

CareSimple has straightforward, fixed pricing, so patients will always know up front what the cost of care will be. And, if CareSimple forwards a patient to the ER or Urgent Care, the provider will call ahead and the patient won’t be charged for their virtual visit. This simple approach, combined with personalized treatment plans and reports to the patient’s primary care physicians after a CareSimple visit, allows patients to make better-informed, cost-effective healthcare decisions for themselves and their families.

“I went to the doctor and it cost me $250 for the office visit plus $200 in lost income,” said Corey Myers, a CareSimple patient and personal trainer in Seattle. “CareSimple was able to provide the same diagnosis and prescription for a fraction of the cost. And, it was on my schedule, so I didn’t have to miss work. Next time, I am calling CareSimple first.”

CareSimple memberships cost $35 per month for families and $25 per month for individuals. Members receive unlimited $5 visits and will have access to a vast repository of easily searchable health and wellness information, videos, and tools with additional features being added monthly. Non-member pricing is $85 per visit, with new patients paying just $10 for their first appointment.

“Our providers have always placed a huge emphasis on quality time and education with patients,” said Amber Ratcliffe, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Carena. “CareSimple is personalized, high-touch care; you can see each other and the emotional side of healthcare comes through. It’s amazing how well it works.”

CareSimple Medical Providers employs about 20 Seattle-area family and emergency medicine doctors and nurse practitioners. Each provider is board-certified in Washington and California and is trained to diagnose and deliver care using phones, webcams, and traditional house calls, if necessary. CareSimple’s medical providers are some of the most experienced in the industry—they already treat more than 300,000 employees of large self-insured companies and hospital systems in the Northwest as clients of parent company Carena. To date, 98 percent of CareSimple patients have reported that their health concern was resolved to their satisfaction.

About Carena, Inc.

Carena, Inc. is a Seattle-based team of medical, consumer service, and technology professionals committed to delivering the best health care experience possible. Its technology-enabled care delivery model provides access to healthcare 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via phone, secure video, and the traditional house call. Carena provides health care solutions to patients through self-insured organizations, health insurance companies, health systems and via its online service—CareSimple.com. Carena’s innovative approach results in lower medical costs and high patient satisfaction. Carena’s unique 24/7 services were designed to support the patient/primary care provider relationship by providing care and education when the patient’s primary care provider is not available. Carena is redefining health care by changing how patients access care and providers deliver it. CareSimple’s launch comes on the heels of a recent $14 million round of financing for Carena, led by Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health system. In addition, CEO Ralph Derrickson was recently recognized with an Industry Innovator Award from the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism. The award highlights Carena’s success in creating and delivering innovative healthcare solutions for businesses and consumers. More information about Carena is available at www.CarenaMD.com.

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