Telemedicine program tested in Minnesota

January 14, 2010

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota?s 10,000 employees and family members are part of a new pilot program testing the insurer?s Online Care Anywhere program. The program is designed to allow patients access to medical care from home or work via computer or phone.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota’s 10,000 employees and family members are part of a new pilot program testing the insurer’s Online Care Anywhere program. The program is designed to allow patients access to medical care from home or work via computer or phone.

“Online Care Anywhere is a dynamic new tool that can be used to make health care less costly and more convenient for consumers,” Pat Geraghty, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross), said in a prepared statement.

Blue Cross is the first health plan in the continental United States to offer online care, according to the insurer. During the pilot phase of the program, the company will work closely with its employees and its partners to evaluate and refine the care model. Online Care Anywhere uses the services of regional health network Fairview Health Services and uses technology developed by American Well.

To facilitate workplace use of online care, Blue Cross has created three secured “online care rooms” at its Eagan and Virginia, Minnesota, 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.