Ochsner Anywhere Care Sees Nearly 1000% Increase in Virtual Visits in March 2020
Ochsner telemedicine platform helping patients get care from home
NEW ORLEANS – Ochsner Health’s telemedicine platform, Ochsner Anywhere Care, is seeing record numbers of enrollments and visits since the COVID-19 outbreak in Louisiana. Patients are able to see a provider on-demand, receive assessment and appropriate treatment, all from the comfort and safety of home.
In March 2020, urgent care on-demand and behavioral health scheduled appointments increased 852% in enrollments and 933% in virtual visits over February 2020. The trend is continuing in April, with daily virtual visits growing significantly. Key highlights include:
- March 2020 Ochsner Anywhere Care enrollments: 10,084 (February 2020: 1,059)
- · March 2020 Ochsner Anywhere Care virtual visits: 3,616 (February 2020: 350)
- · April 2, 2020 Ochsner Anywhere Care virtual visits: 2,700 (March 2, 2020: 39)
“It is reassuring and evident that those in need of non-emergent medical care are heeding the advice of local, state and federal officials during the COVID-19 outbreak and are sheltering-in-place, leaving only for essential errands,” said David Houghton, MD, MPH, medical director of Ochsner Anywhere Care. “Telemedicine has made it possible to safely and effectively treat illnesses from home and we are seeing thousands of patients choose Ochsner for their virtual healthcare needs.”
How It Works
Launched in November 2018, Ochsner Anywhere Care is a virtual visit platform in which patients can instantly connect with board-certified family medicine, internal medicine and pediatric physicians and advanced practice providers for secure, live, on-demand video visits via their smartphone, tablet or personal computer. It’s an integrated and streamlined experience delivered through a free Ochsner Anywhere Care mobile app on iOS or Android or online through a computer www.ochsner.org/ochsner-anywhere-care.
During the virtual visit, providers and patients communicate through video and providers can diagnose, prescribe medications, as needed, and suggest follow-up care. If follow-up care or further testing is necessary, Ochsner Anywhere Care providers will refer patients back to their regular Ochsner care team – or can recommend an Ochsner physician when a new relationship is needed. One of the most important aspects of Ochsner Anywhere Care is the link it creates back to a patient’s electronic medical record. After every virtual visit, an after-visit summary will be added to Epic – Ochsner’s integrated electronic health record system – so that the care team has direct access to the information.
Ochsner Anywhere Care is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Effective March 24, 2020, the out-of-pocket cost for urgent care visits through the platform decreased temporarily to $10 per visit.
Behavioral health and well-being visits with licensed therapists are also available through Ochsner Anywhere Care virtual visits. These 45-minutes sessions are available 7 days a week, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. CST and can cover topics such as addiction, family, couples or grief counseling, anxiety, depression and more. Each session is $85.
Ochsner Anywhere Care Health Kit
Patients can supplement their virtual visit with a healthcare kit. Powered by TytoCare, the Ochsner Anywhere Care Health Kit allows you to easily conduct a comprehensive remote examination and forward the information to your Ochsner Anywhere Care provider. Special adapters are included for examining:
- Mouth & throat
- Body temperature
Patients interested in supplementing virtual visits with a health kit can visit www.ochsner.org/ochsner-anywhere-care to purchase and ship to residences. In the New Orleans area, home delivery is available.
MyChart Virtual Visits
In addition to Ochsner Anywhere Care, Ochsner also offers virtual care for established patients with specialty follow-ups and second opinion virtual visits for certain conditions through MyChart. Appointments may be eligible if they do not require patient-provider physical interaction.
- Completed virtual visits across Ochsner’s system: 11,404 in one week (3/24-3/30); a 91% increase in visits compared to the previous week.
- Specialty virtual visits include family medicine, hematology/oncology, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, neurology, endocrinology, cardiology, rheumatology and others.
“During the COVID-19 outbreak, all Ochsner cancer patients are being encouraged to use virtual video visits to minimize risk of exposure, in addition to several remote monitoring programs for patients receiving chemotherapy,” said Brian Moore, MD, FACS, medical director, Ochsner Cancer Institute. “We are asking patients to physically be at one of our facilities only when it is necessary: procedures or surgeries to diagnose and treat cancer, radiation treatments, imaging studies or lab tests that will help plan or determine response to treatments.”
How is this beneficial during COVID-19?
Unnecessary visits to emergency departments and urgent care facilities could increase risk of exposure to additional illnesses and increase the chance of infecting others when the visit may not be needed. For 80 percent of cases and if the patient is stable and has mild symptoms, COVID-19 can and should be managed safely at home. Healthcare professionals are advising against going to an urgent care first and only going to an emergency department if symptoms are a true, life-threatening emergency. If you are experiencing runny nose, fever, cough, sore throat, headache and shortness of breath, you can first conduct a visit with a primary or urgent care provider through Ochsner Anywhere Care.
If a patient has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone with the virus and is experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, it is important to seek emergency medical assistance.
For the latest updates on how Ochsner is responding to COVID-19, please visit www.ochsner.org/coronavirus.
About Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventative screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision. Ochsner Health healed more than 876,000 people from across the globe in 2019, providing the latest medical breakthroughs and therapies, including digital medicine for chronic conditions and telehealth specialty services. Ochsner Health is a national leader, named the top hospital in Louisiana and a top children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report. As Louisiana’s leading healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. Ochsner Health is innovating healthcare by investing in new technologies and research to make world-class care more accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner's team of more than 26,000 employees and 4,500 providers are working to reinvent the future of health and wellness in the region. To learn more about Ochsner Health, please visit www.ochsner.org. To transform your health, please visit www.ochsner.org/healthyyou.