KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — In a little more than a week, urgent care services will no longer be offered at Spectrum Health’s Broadmoor location. Instead, it’s adding a MedNow presence — its telemedicine service.
Patients got a letter in the mail this week alerting them that as of July 1, the facility at 3350 Broadmoor Ave. in Kentwood will no longer offer urgent care.
On Thursday, a Spectrum spokesman told 24 Hour News 8 that the location wasn’t as “high performing” as others and it was better use of resources to shut it down. In its place, patients will have access to a MedNow kiosk, which the spokesman says would refer them to another urgent care.
MedNow offers virtual visits to the doctor’s office through your computer or mobile device.
While the spokesman says the new kiosk won’t have all of the functions you can get by using MedNow online, it’s still considered a form of telemedicine, something that’s building momentum in the medical world.
24 Hour News 8 had an interview set up with one of the MedNow program leaders Thursday, but Spectrum canceled the interview at the last minute and instead sent this statement:
“The Spectrum Health Urgent Care services offered at the current Broadmoor location will no longer be offered as of July 1, 2017. All other services at this location, including occupational health and rehabilitation therapy will remain open. In addition, there will be a MedNow presence at Broadmoor for low-acuity urgent care visits. Medical staff and employees have the opportunity to transfer to other Spectrum Health urgent care offices.
“Spectrum Health regularly evaluates how consumers are accessing health care services to determine the best use of our resources. There are four other urgent care locations in the Grand Rapids area, with a new urgent care center opening in Rockford in August.”
24 Hour News 8 asked Martina Reinhold, an associate professor in Grand Valley State University’s physician’s assistant program, if telemedicine is the future of health care.
“I think it will be part of the future of medicine — it’s not the future of medicine, but will become part. It will become more available for people,” she said.
“I think that I can understand there is a hesitation initially because we’re used to having direct interaction with our health care provider,” she continued. “We have that physical contact and that is missing (in telemedicine) and we consider that to be very important, but I believe that over time that the population or patients will become more comfortable with that.”
Reinhold says this year, the physician’s assistant program launched telehealth training.
“It has the potential of really revolutionizing medicine and making it more accessible to, for example, people in more rural areas and allowing for easier access and also allowing for less waiting time for people,” Reinhold said.
But she noted there are limitations to telemedicine.
“It can’t be used for every situation,” she added. “The health care provider has to be well-trained in order to be able to distinguish a situation where telemedicine can be applied and a situation where telemedicine might not be the right place to make a final diagnosis, but it can still utilized to help make a decision.”
Spectrum Health has seven other urgent care locations in West Michigan, including one only a short distance away on East Paris Avenue. Additionally, a new urgent care will open in Rockford on Aug. 7.