Virtual care is part of Emerson (Concord, Mass.) Hospital’s strategy and has been actively used for the past two years. Starting in 2015, several Emerson primary care physician practices participated in an innovative telemedicine program with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to provide access to care outside of the doctor’s office. The two-year pilot covered a number of health conditions such as check-ins to monitor recovery from concussions, wellness coaching, follow up with patients on certain medications and check-in after a procedure or hospitalization to monitor recovery and help prevent rehospitalization.
Since then, the program has expanded and is offered to eligible patients regardless of payer. When it is not easy for patients to come in for care, all they need is a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer and they can have a visit with their provider. “It has been very popular, particularly with our pediatric patients who have behavioral health needs,” says Renee Fosberg, chief information officer.