HealthPartners tops 1 million video visits for patients
COVID-19 pandemic accelerates use of video visits, transforming health care delivery
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — More than 1 million HealthPartners patient visits have been completed using video technology since the option was first made widely available in March 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need to modify how care is provided. Over a four-day period the week of March 16, HealthPartners trained more than 2,000 clinicians on how to use the smart phone app, Google Duo, to connect with patients.
“I don’t think anybody would have thought we were going to reach this incredible mark in less than a year,” said Annie Ideker, MD, HealthPartners senior medical advisor for clinician experience and clinician lead for video visit implementation. “The crisis was upon us, and we needed to act swiftly. Reaching one million visits is not only special to all the teams who worked on this project, it’s vital to the health and safety of our patients.”
At its peak in early May, the video visit option accounted for nearly 50 percent of all patient visits. As in-care options gradually increased during the summer months, video visits continued to be a popular choice among patients. Currently, about 22 percent of all clinic visits are done by video.
“In a time when social distancing continues to required, we’re limiting the number of people that need to stand in lines, we’re limiting the in-person interactions in our clinics and we’re saving time for patients and families,” Dr. Ideker said. “Our patients rate the experience of video visits with their clinician almost exactly the same as in-person visits.”
Patients and families have found video visits to be invaluable. For example, before the pandemic, behavioral health capacity was limited to nearby clinics. Today, video visits allow for patients and clinicians to connect despite geographical limitations, despite time restraints and with more appointment opportunities available.
HealthPartners continues to expand convenient care options, including a new mobile check-in feature. Dr. Ideker said the mobile check-in option is already being utilized by about 30 percent of patients. It works similar to the check in for a flight before arriving at the airport.
HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. For more information, visit healthpartners.com.