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Vanderbilt Health now charging for some eVisits

Jun. 6, 2023, 8:05 PM

Vanderbilt Health is now charging patients for some eVisits. An eVisit is a patient-initiated, asynchronous, two-way conversation between a patient and their health care provider through a secure online portal. In this case, patients are using the Message function on the My Health at Vanderbilt portal to seek expert medical care that requires their clinician to spend longer than five minutes to respond.  

Vanderbilt Health clinicians now receive more than 2.3 million patient advice messages each year, with message volume doubling since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Centers across the country like Vanderbilt Health that manage complex health issues are now charging patients for eVisits in order to continue this valuable service to patients.   

eVisits are different than telehealth. While both are convenient ways to receive care, telehealth is a scheduled two-way appointment where the patient and clinician see and communicate with each other by video in real time. In an eVisit, the patient and clinician communicate using messages exchanged through an electronic messaging platform — in this case, My Health at Vanderbilt. 

Patients will now see a banner on the My Health at Vanderbilt main page detailing the possibility of an eVisit in response to requests for complex medical advice, and that requests of this nature could incur a coinsurance charge or a copay. A website is available to answer patients’ questions about eVisits.   

My Health at Vanderbilt messages requiring less than five minutes of the clinician’s time comprise most of the communications with Vanderbilt Health patients. These interactions, along with certain other exceptions, do not qualify as an eVisit and will not be charged. Examples include prescription renewals, appointment scheduling and other administrative actions.

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