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Logistics Health Inc. employees don’t have to traipse to the clinic anymore because a new benefit can get a quick diagnosis with digital devices at their desks, while shopping or even while out of town on a road trip.

The high-tech option comes courtesy of a partnership between Riverside Corporate Wellness, a local corporate health and wellness organization, and Intellivisit Inc., a Milwaukee-based health start-up launched last fall.

The virtual visit option, which employees’ spouses also can tap into via cellphone, computer or tablet, is an extension of the La Crosse-based company’s culture of health, said Don Weber, LHI founder and chairman.

“There is no greater investment you can make in your employees as an employer than their health,” Weber said in an interview Thursday.

The company established a wellness center of 3,500 square feet in 2007 and has since expanded it to 12,000 square feet. Its on-site clinic, logging 5,000 to 6,000 visits a year, is almost at capacity, he said.

The virtual visit technology came in a quest to expand clinic capacity and reduce visits to emergency rooms and urgent care facilities during off hours, the most expensive avenues of health care, Weber said.

It also makes good business sense, he said, noting, “Rather than sitting in a waiting room, employees can efficiently address their health care needs with minimal time away from their work responsibilities, as well as their families.”

About 3,000 people, including employees and spouses, are able to access the benefit, either during the day while at work or 24/7 from anywhere, Weber said.

Spouses who don’t work at LHI can use the system from their own job instead of having to take two or three hours of time off to travel to the clinic, receive aid and go back to work, he said.

A worker or spouse who feels ill at 10 p.m. can even log into Intellivisit at that time to describe the malady, and an RCW clinician will check the report when the clinic opens at 7 a.m., said Jacob Spirer, RCW’s business development manager.

The patient can expect a diagnosis by 10 a.m., along with suggested remedies, including going to the RCW clinic for further evaluation or, if necessary, going to a hospital, Spirer said.

Of course, it can’t accommodate every medical situation, and is more likely to be used for common cases such as colds and coughs, fevers, rashes and other minor ills, Weber and Spirer said.

“Our young people want something convenient and accessible, and they are comfortable with the digital,” said Weber, who added that the process is so easy that he set up his own account with a cellphone in about five minutes.

In operation in its pilot phase for about three weeks, the Intellivisit option could be expanded to companies that subscribe to RCW services, Weber said.

Asked tongue-in-cheek whether a golfer who feels sick waiting to tee off at the first hole can tap in and expect a diagnosis by the end of the round, Weber responded with a laugh, “Yes, and it might even improve your game.”

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Mike Tighe is the Tribune newsroom's senior citizen. That said, he don't get no respect from the cub reporters as he goes about his duly-appointed rounds on the health, religion and whatever-else-lands-in-his-inbox beats. Call him at 608-791-8446.

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