HealthPartners in Minnesota launched an online clinic called virtuwell in late 2010. After more than 40,000 cases, we report an average $88 lower cost per episode compared with care received in traditional settings, strong indicators of clinical effectiveness, and a 98 percent “would recommend” rating from customers. The possibility of extrapolating such savings to larger volumes of cases is compelling. We suggest a need for regulatory reform, particularly around state-level statutes that create barriers to the expansion of online care delivery, such as those that require clinicians to be located in the same state as the patient and those requiring clinicians to have had a previous face-to-face visit with a patient.

Health Affairs study.