EAGAN, Minn., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- "The patient will see you now." That is the new approach to health care for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota's 10,000 employees and family members today, becoming the first Minnesotans - and the first in the continental U.S. - to have access to Online Care Anywhere(SM). Online Care Anywhere allows patients to access medical care from home or work simply by logging onto a computer or picking up the phone. Blue Cross is partnering with Fairview Health Services on this innovative care delivery option that aims to reduce costs while improving quality, access to care and patient experience. The online system is powered by American Well.
"Online Care Anywhere is a dynamic new tool that can be used to make health care less costly and more convenient for consumers," said Pat Geraghty, president and CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross). Geraghty announced the plan to bring online care to Minnesota in April 2009. "The transformation of the health care system is happening right here in Minnesota through innovation and patient-centered reforms by consumers, health plans and care providers. We believe Online Care Anywhere is the kind of innovation needed to change and reform health care."
"This is a great fit for Fairview, because it builds on our work to develop a more effective and efficient health care delivery system that achieves better outcomes at lower costs," said Dave Moen, M.D., system medical director of care model innovation at Fairview Health Services. "Online technology brings tremendous potential to improve care and the patient experience."
Blue Cross is the first health plan in the continental U.S. to offer online care. During the pilot phase of the program, the company will work closely with its own employees--the first user group--and with Fairview provider partners to evaluate and refine this innovative care model. Online Care Anywhere utilizes technology developed by American Well.
Blue Cross employees and family members can access Online Care Anywhere by logging onto a computer or using the phone at home or work. To facilitate workplace use of online care, Blue Cross has created three secured 'online care rooms' at its Eagan and Virginia, Minn. campuses, each equipped with a computer, webcam, biometric machines to record weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and other basic diagnostic tools. Fairview providers include specialists, from family practitioners to pediatricians and emergency medicine physicians, who will be scheduled and available for consult and care.
There are great potential benefits from online care. For example, users will have one more care option to manage their own health and the health of their families. By creating flexible care options, innovations such as Online Care Anywhere have the potential to address the growing shortage of primary care physicians and limited or no health access in many smaller communities.
"Innovation in all aspects of health care is needed, from the ways in which we access care to the structures in place to pay for it. Online Care Anywhere is one example of the kind of new thinking we need to change the health care equation to deliver more patient-centered, cost effective care," said Pat Geraghty.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.8 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to bluecrossmn.com to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
About Fairview Health Services
Based in Minneapolis, Fairview Health Services is a non-profit healthcare system providing exceptional clinical care--from prevention of illness and injury to care for the most complex medical conditions. In partnership with the University of Minnesota, Fairview is an academic health system that employs more than 22,000 people. The system includes 49 primary care clinics, a wide range of specialty services, home care and senior services. Fairview owns seven hospitals, including the University of Minnesota Medical Center. To learn more, visit www.fairview.org.
American Well is an independent company that provides online care technology services.
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota