According to Modern Medicine, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) of Minnesota’s 10,000 employees and family members are part of a pilot project that allows them access to medical care from home or work via computer or phone. It’s called Online Care Anywhere and is facilitated through technology developed by American Well.
BCBS is the first health plan in the continental US to offer online care. (You may recall I wrote about a similar program in Hawaii where patients could access online face-to-face physician visits also through a service developed by American Well.)
Apparently BCBS has created secured online rooms at their Eagan and Virginia campuses. Each is equipped with a computer; web camera; and biometric machines to record weight, body mass index, and blood pressure; and other basic diagnostic tools. Fairview Health Services family practitioners, pediatricians, and emergency medicine physicians will be scheduled and available for consultations and care.
The plan is to test the service and see how it compares to traditional services. It will be interesting to see if the feedback is different in Eagan and Virginia. Common sense would say that the program would be best received in Virginia where travel to healthcare facilities can be more problematic.