A Maine physician has started the second season of a new online medical service in Maine designed
to help prevent new cases of Lyme disease by increasing patient access to early evaluation and treatment of tick bites. Dr. Catherine Lockwood has founded treatmytickbite.com, a first of its kind online service where anyone in Maine can use a secure online connection and have a video consult with a physician to have their tick bite assessed for the risk of Lyme disease and be treated with preventative antibiotics when needed.
Online medical services make getting care easier by avoiding waiting rooms and doctor’s offices,
avoiding waiting for return calls or delays in appointments and avoiding costly emergency room visits when people have nowhere else to receive care.
Some cases of Lyme disease can be prevented when early medical care identifies which tick bites are worrisome so preventative treatment can be started as soon as possible - but timing is key. The goal of treatmytickbite.com is to decrease the barriers between people getting bites and getting care. The site's online services are available seven days a week during tick season which typically is mid-March through November. Appointment times vary each day but are offered as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 9 p.m.
After having been a primary care provider and an urgent care physician locally, Dr. Lockwood now works to help people identify whether they should be concerned or not from a tick bite. Lockwood said the idea for her online business grew out of her experience as an urgent care doctor in the lakes region. “During peak tick season, sometimes 20% or more of our visits would be related to tick bites,” she said. “People would often wait several hours and they or their insurance companies would be charged hundreds of dollars for the visit. I was most concerned by the many people I imagined who didn't have hours to wait or hundreds to spend who rolled the dice, didn't have their bites checked and instead waited to see if they became sick. I just thought there really should be another option to help manage this need. So, treatmytickbite.com was born.”
Dr. Lockwood grew up in Connecticut and was trained in medical school at the University of Connecticut with a residency at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. “I married a native Mainer and we have settled here in Freeport for the past 13 years,” she stated. “As a teenager, I was drawn to science, writing and caring for people without thinking about where that would lead. It was simply what I enjoyed. After high school and college, studying science and writing, being a hospital volunteer and nurse's aide, I reached a point where I needed to make a career choice. Stumped, my father trying to help asked if I wanted to be a doctor. I said, ‘Doesn't everyone?’. ‘No,’ he said. ‘So, if you want to be one, it means something.’ Now, nearly 30 years later I still agree with him.”
Lockwood hadn’t been on the road to becoming a doctor very long when she first encountered Lyme disease. “I have been seeing cases of Lyme from early in my medical training as a medical student in Connecticut where Lyme disease was first identified,” Dr. Lockwood began. “I can remember as a medical student working with the Pediatric Rheumatology department and seeing dozens of kids sent there with swollen, painful joints, their doctors concerned they had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Instead, they had Lyme disease and most parents would then ask what that was. This was 25 years ago. I don't think you could live in Connecticut or Maine now and not have some personal experience with Lyme disease. My mother and son and husband have all had early Lyme disease, were treated and fully recovered. Watching for ticks and signs of Lyme are a part of our daily lives at this point.”
Maine is the number one state in the country for Lyme disease with cases here being 10 times the national average for this potentially disabling illness including some of our more isolated island communities that experience cases at a rate 100 times greater than the national average. Now, using this new service from home or work or even from a remote island accessible only by ferry, Maine residents and visitors can use a secure online connection to show a Maine physician the tick that bit them, the bite site, any rash that has developed and get direct medical advice and treatment tailored to their specific situation including medications if needed.
The site seeks to keep costs for patients affordable with a new patient video visit priced
For further inquiries you can contact Catherine Lockwood MD at firstname.lastname@example.org