Essentia Health has launched Essentia E-Visit - an online diagnosis and treatment service that puts care in the palms of people's hands.

Through this online service, patients in the communities Essentia serves can seek care virtually from trusted Essentia care teams using their smartphones, tablets or computers at home or on the go.

Shaped by patient input, Essentia E-Visit is part of Essentia's patient-centric focus, which also includes changes at clinic locations such as extended hours, expanding urgent care locations and adding more clinics with weekend hours.

"Within communities we serve at Essentia, it is important to us that patients can access care. Convenience is a key part of the equation, but it's equally about fulfilling our mission of being called to make a healthy difference in people's lives," said Melisa Palmer, physician assistant at Essentia Health Urgent Care and Convenient Care Clinics in Brainerd and Baxter. "Removing barriers to care is critical, and Essentia E-Visit achieves this by providing quick, convenient and accurate care."

Through Essentia E-Visit, patients can get care for more than 20 common health conditions, including cold and flu, pinkeye, bladder infections and minor skin conditions. After logging on to Essentia E-Visit, patients complete a brief online interview, answering questions about their symptoms and providing health history information. An Essentia physician or advanced practitioner will review the information collected and respond with a diagnosis and treatment plan within an hour - 24 hours a day.

If medication is appropriate, prescriptions will be sent to the patient's preferred pharmacy for pickup. Essentia E-visit is available to patients in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin for a set fee of $30 payable by credit, debit or health savings card.

To reach their goal of providing patients access to care when and how they need it, Essentia partnered with Zipnosis, a virtual care company that helps leading health systems facilitate convenient access to care, meeting the needs of both patients and healthcare providers.