About virtuwell Online Clinic
It started with the idea that health care should be simple, convenient and affordable. How could we improve the convenience and accuracy of medical diagnosis and treatment services, while cutting the costs in half? No pressure there!
Kevin Palattao, a health care industry veteran and the son of a family physician, believed there was a way to create an experience that actually felt easy, could match the time constraints of modern families, and still provide personalized and safe care.
Palattao spearheaded the idea at HealthPartners, an integrated health care organization with a long history of firsts. In fact, the very founding of HealthPartners in 1957 was an innovation. HealthPartners was one of the nation’s first consumer-governed health insurance and medical service organizations. It was a radical idea at the time, but it helped change the face of American health care for the better.
So this reinvention of care fit the culture of the organization. And physicians, medical professionals and other leaders across HealthPartners, including Palattao, fully supported the endeavor.
Enter the scene, Kris Johnson, another health information technology guru and daughter of a primary care physician. A team was assembled and the development and design, all informed by consumer research and input, began.
After almost two years of spirited development, virtuwell launched on October 25, 2010. When it was first introduced, virtuwell was available to residents living in Minnesota. Since then, this 24/7 online clinic has experienced steady growth and is available to individuals who live in, work in, or travel to multiple states across the county, with further expansion happening as you read this.
And today virtuwell is still a way to do something good: To make people well in the most convenient way imaginable and at the lowest possible price.
Our excellent legal team wants to make sure we explain that in some states (New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut), the professional services you receive through virtuwell.com are provided by virtuwell Medical Services, P.C., with HealthPartners providing the back-office administrative support. In the other states, HealthPartners provides both the professional and administrative services. This doesn’t affect the great care or the consistently outstanding experience you can expect.
virtuwell is the telemedicine solution business leaders are seeking to save money without cutting access to quality care. As we did with our consumer experience, we’ve eliminated the complexity for health plans and employers to get started with virtuwell. There are no up-front investments, no administrative fees and zero implementation hurdles. virtuwell is risk-free and saves money every time a member or employee uses it.
The virtuwell business model is direct to consumer – we are not a software company or white label service. But partnership is at the heart of our organization, and we work side-by-side with businesses to deliver convenience and innovation to employees and members through affordable benefit designs. Employers and health plans then see the direct advantage when virtuwell is added as an in-network provider.
Each time an employee or member chooses virtuwell over a more expensive care venue, there is a cost savings. By illustration, virtuwell costs $45 and takes minutes compared to hours at venues like a retail clinic ($89), Urgent Care ($140), doctor’s office ($175), or the Emergency Room ($560).
Consumers and employers have also realized significant time savings. That means less time out of work for medical conditions and more time available for vacations. Ninety-five percent of consumers report that receiving care from virtuwell.com saved them about 2.5 to 5 hours compared to an in-person visit.
A safe and simple experience is our top priority. Whether consumers are searching for urgent care, an online diagnosis, online doctors or just the security of knowing what to do next, they’ve welcomed this new way to experience care.
Hundreds of thousands of people have visited virtuwell.com and users proclaim the experience to be simple, approachable, and safe, with 98 percent saying they would recommend it to others.
And each customer’s happiness and health is important to us. We strive to bring the highest value to every visit. While no one can ever guarantee your health, if you’re not completely satisfied, for any reason, we’ll refund your money. That’s our virtuwell guarantee, just one part of our best-in-class approach.