Published on June 16, 2020

Essentia Health Receives Health Care Hero Award

Essentia Health has received the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Trailblazer Award for its nation-leading efforts to improve access to virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis encouraged Essentia Health teams to provide an opportunity for patients to receive care from their health care provider virtually using a phone, tablet, laptop or personal computer, and to do so from the comfort of their home. Prompted by a need to keep patients and staff safe from the virus, virtual visits were unveiled March 18 — a full month ahead of a planned launch.

“We literally went from zero to about 3,000 virtual visits per day in less than three weeks and we ramped up more quickly and have done more volume than just about anyone in the country,” says Essentia CEO David Herman, MD.

The new approach to care was welcomed among more than 1,200 primary care providers, as well as physicians and advanced care providers within as many as 60 specialties. Patients also responded positively. Analytics indicate as many as 69% of total Essentia Health visits were conducted using virtual visits, E-Visits and video visits between facilities. An early May survey of 1,500 patients found more than 90% said they received the care they needed and would consider virtual visits in the future. Nearly 100% of patients said they had a great experience seeing their provider virtually.

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