Rite Aid expands online doctor and nurse consultation services for customers

(Examiner.comThe Washington Post reports on Friday that Rite Aid is stepping up its game by offering a program that allows customers the chance to chat with doctors and nurses online.

NowClinic Online Care services will be implemented in 58 stores located in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Boston.

The company first launched the NowClinic program in Detroit in 2011 and it is also available in the Harrisburg area.

The service seems pretty straight-forward. Customers will be able to go online and chat or have a video consultation with a doctor or nurse about an illness or injury. A record of the consultation will be available so that the customer can share it with their primary doctor afterwards.

Doctors can write prescriptions after consulting with patients, or they can refer them elsewhere for more extensive care.

Is this a free service? Of course it isn’t free … It certainly is considerably less than a sit-down with a primary doctor though. A ten minute consultation with a doctor via this program costs $45 while chats with nurses are free. As usual, the nurses are probably going to be in high demand.

Primary care physicians usually charge in the neighborhood of $100 for a consultation visit. This is huge for people without insurance. For those people who do have insurance coverage, this may not be such a great idea as this type of consultation will not be covered.

According to Pennlive.com, the online consultation service is one of a number of new strategies Rite Aid has employed as it continues what has been a long struggled to turn the chain around. Some shareholders have complained that the comeback has taken far too long.

Better late than never? Only time will tell.