Virtual Visits: Assessing COVID-19 Risk, Keeping Patients Safe

Rush has always been committed to helping patients access primary and specialty care services. Telehealth, both scheduled and on-demand, has remained a crucial way to expand that access, as well as assess patients for COVID-19 concerns.

While on-demand video visits offer patients access to convenient care without an appointment, scheduled video visits are an easy way for patients to connect with their specific provider for a one-on-one video chat. Both services can be accessed using the My Rush app.

Insurance companies across Illinois have now also allowed coverage for telehealth visits, which allows Rush to bill insurance providers for virtual visits and makes them a more attractive option for patients.

On-demand COVID-19 Care

Rush On Demand offers E-visits and on-demand video visits as care from home options available in as little as 20 minutes. Rush has offered on-demand video visits for common conditions such as cold, flu, urinary tract infection and more since August 2019. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rush has also offered care over video for COVID-19 symptoms for children and adults.

In quickly standing up a COVID-19 on-demand video visit option, Rush has been able to remotely assess, triage and counsel patients with COVID-19 concerns. In February 2020, Rush completed 18 on-demand video visits. From March 2 to May 14, Rush completed a total of 6,028 on-demand video visits, with 1,458 of these visits for patients new to Rush.

As the utilization of telehealth has increased, Rush has added additional on-demand video modules to support new reasons for visits. Most recently, Rush added a coping and stress module and expanded its pediatric video visit modules to include additional reasons for pediatric visits.

Scheduled Video Visits at Rush

As community spread of COVID-19 took hold, Rush began to offer scheduled video visits as another option for patients. A bulk training plan was deployed to train and equip Rush providers, and specific patients were solicited about having their visit performed remotely, if appropriate. This was done across specialties at the provider’s discretion, with an emphasis on immune-compromised patients. Follow-up visits are also now offered over video, but new patients are still directed to come to Rush in person. Rush has many protocols in place to keep patients safe when coming to the medical center for in-person care.

Rush’s scheduled video visit volume has steadily increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2019, the average number of scheduled telehealth visits per week at Rush was 20. In the first two weeks of May alone, Rush providers conducted a total of 963 scheduled video visits.