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The ‘virtual’ difference between primary and urgent care

13 Oct 2019

Accepted symptoms, availability and response times

By: Collin Nelson, marketing generalist

You may know that Salem Health Medical Clinics offer virtual care. But did you know Salem Health Urgent Care began virtual care last month?

Salem Health virtual care allows patients to receive medical advice from a Salem Health provider using a computer or mobile device using two options:

  • Video visits — Similar to a regular office visit, a patient and provider interact in real time using online video.
  • E-visits — Patients fill out and submit a symptom-specific questionnaire on MyChart. A provider reviews and responds to the patient through MyChart.

What’s the difference?

Primary care and Salem Health Urgent Care offer both video visits and e-visits — but there are some key differences. The table below (also available on our website) explains some of these differences:

chart describing differences between virtual primary care and virtual urgent care 

While patients can make virtual care appointments for the symptoms listed above, providers have the ability to alter or cancel the appointment when necessary. For instance, patients who begin the virtual care process may be instructed to do one of the following instead:

  • Schedule an in-office appointment with their primary care provider
  • Schedule an in-office appointment in urgent care
  • Go to the emergency room

Who qualifies?

Salem Health Medical Group patients are eligible for virtual care in both the primary and urgent care settings. However, SHMG patients must have already completed one in-office appointment prior to making a virtual appointment with their primary care provider.

Non-SHMG patients are eligible for virtual care in the urgent care setting.

All patients are required to have a MyChart account for virtual care in both settings.

How have patients responded?

Virtual care is a great option for patients who need medical advice but are busy, don’t feel well enough to travel, or have anxiety about clinic visits. The response from patients has been good. Over 40% of virtual care patients we surveyed said they would not have gotten any care if virtual care wasn’t available.

To learn more about virtual care, visit