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Check Symptoms, part of Mayo Clinic's patient portal, is a free online symptom assessment that can be completed 24/7/365. A new feature offers patients with rash-related symptoms an on-demand video appointment with a primary care clinician during business hours. This is a convenient option for patients who need care today, but whose situations may not warrant a trip to Urgent Care or the Emergency Department.
Just ask one of the first patients to use this feature: Matt Gauthier of Byron, Minnesota. In January, the busy 57-year-old woke up covered in an itchy rash.
"I couldn't figure out what had happened," he says. "I've never had anything like this before, and I didn't want to wait to be seen."
He called the Mayo Clinic Primary Care Nurse Triage and was connected to Tina Oian, a triage nurse.
"We had just started a pilot program in Check Symptoms," she says. "If patients were calling with rash symptoms like Matt was, we would encourage them to complete the online Check Symptoms assessment tool and choose the new on-demand video appointment option. The timing was perfect for Matt to do just that."
After asking a few questions to make sure Matt wasn't in a life-threatening situation, Tina explained how to use Check Symptoms in the patient portal and choose the on-demand video appointment option. Matt was happy to give it a try.
"I used my iPad to fill in the questions and request the appointment," he says. "I'm used to doing video work calls and other things like this all the time. It was really easy."
The patient will see you now
"Primary Care and the triage nursing staff work together to ensure the right patient gets the right level of care with the right provider at the right time," says Dr. Hartman. "The goal of the on-demand video appointments is that patients can be seen within 10–15 minutes."
Dr. Hartman assessed Matt's symptoms and recommended over-the-counter treatments to soothe his rash. While not needed at this appointment, providers also can prescribe medications during a video appointment.
"It worked awesome," Matt says. "I didn't have to drive anywhere, which was good because I was feeling pretty uncomfortable at that point."
The entire process, from Matt completing the online form to the conclusion of Dr. Hartman's notes in his health record, took about 35 minutes.
Soon, Matt was feeling better, and the rash went away.
"We figured it was because I used a new lotion after showering. Needless to say, I threw that bottle out," he says with a laugh.
Matt's appointment and many others like it are the result of Mayo Clinic's focus on innovation, Dr. Hartman says.
"These types of advancements give us the tools to put patients' needs first," she says. "They also empower patients to take charge of their care and when they are seen. It's like saying 'The patient will see you now' to the health care team."
Patients with rash symptoms who use Check Symptoms on weekdays during business hours can select the on-demand video appointment option.
Additional symptoms added soon
While on-demand video appointments currently are available only for rash-related symptoms, more symptoms will be added later.
Patients can use Check Symptoms to evaluate other symptoms. The portal feature provides self-care instructions based on Mayo Clinic's educational content, or the opportunities to talk with an experienced triage nurse or schedule an appointment.
Multiple symptoms can be assessed, such as:
- Anal or rectal concerns
- Back pain
- Bug bites and insect stings
- Digestive concerns, including diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting
- Ear or hearing concerns
- Genital problems
- Mood concerns due to depression or anxiety
- Mouth problems
- Pain or injury to a hand, arm, foot, ankle or knee
- Pink eye
- Respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19, RSV and influenza
- Sexually transmitted diseases or infections
- Sore throat
- Stomach pain
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Urinary pain
- Vaginal bleeding or menstrual concerns
- Wounds, such as cuts and scrapes, or wound healing
Check Symptoms is available to patients who have a home address in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota or Wisconsin and who have a Mayo Clinic primary care clinician.
You can easily create a patient portal account if you don't have one. You also can download the Mayo Clinic App from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
By Mayo Clinic Health System staff