On Monday, the health care organization HealthPartners launched a remote diagnostic service called Virtuwell that is available to all Minnesota residents and visitors to the state, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports (Newmarker, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 10/25).
HealthPartners partnered with AKQA, a San Francisco-based digital advertising agency, to develop the software for the diagnostic service.
The online portal invites users to fill out a questionnaire about routine conditions such as allergies, colds and urinary tract infections (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 10/25). The questionnaire asks users about:
A nurse practitioner from HealthPartners then reviews the questionnaire and responds within 30 minutes (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 10/25). The nurse practitioner can provide patients with:
- Personalized diagnoses;
- Prescriptions for common ailments; and
- Treatment recommendations.
If responses to the questionnaire point to a serious medical condition, Virtuwell will direct the user to call 911 or seek care from the nearest emergency department (Health Data Management, 10/26).
Costs and Coverage
The service costs up to $40 per virtual consultation, compared with $53 at a retail clinic and approximately $115 at a primary care physician's office.
Patients with insurance would pay their usual copayment, while those without insurance would pay the full amount (Yee, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 10/25).