HealthPartners, a large provider/payer delivery system that in late October launched an online clinic offering diagnosis and treatment of 30 common medical conditions--available to all persons living in or visiting Minnesota--now has expanded the service to Wisconsin.

The service, called "virtuwell," is available at all hours regardless of whether individuals receive care from HealthPartners facilities or are covered under the insurance unit of HealthPartners. The cost is $40 or an individual's copay under their insurance plan. Virtuwell currently accepts insurance plans only from HealthPartners and Cigna, but HealthPartners is working to get more payers on board.

Nurse practitioners will provider personalized diagnosis, treatment recommendations and prescriptions if necessary, according to Bloomington, Minn.-based HealthPartners. An individual visiting must complete a detailed questionnaire that covers symptoms, medical history, current medications and allergies, and current health status, among other factors.

An individual with flu-like symptoms, for example, will be walked through multiple screens to pinpoint specific symptoms, the sudden or gradual appearance of symptoms, the number of days with symptoms, and over-the-counter medications currently being used to treat the symptoms. The individual then enters demographic and insurance/payment information, an e-mail address for username, a password and a secret question/answer. A nurse practitioner then makes a diagnosis and establishes a treatment plan. The point-and-click questionnaire takes only a few minutes to complete.

But if an individual while answering questions indicates certain symptoms that indicate a deeper medical condition, the questionnaire is halted and the individual is told to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

In Wisconsin, HealthPartners owns and operates Hudson Hospital and Clinics in Hudson and Westfields Hospital in New Richmond. The online consultation service is available to all individuals statewide.

--Joseph Goedert


Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Health Data Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access