BCBS of Minnesota and Fairview Health Services Launch Online Care

Dec. 3, 2009

Eagan, Minnesota — December 1, 2009 – “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 AnywhereSM. 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.

www.bluecrossmn.com

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