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Telehealth Use in Minnesota - More than 1,000-Fold Increase

Published Wednesday, April 29, 2020

COVID-19 Propels Increase in Telehealth

Stratis Health convenes a Virtual Health Sharing Group of health system telehealth directors, representing 11 health systems in Minnesota. Since 2017, the group discusses telehealth implementation progress, challenges, and priority topics. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the group increased meeting frequency to discuss strategies around the rapidly changing telehealth guidelines and approaches during the pandemic. Stratis Health conducted a brief survey to capture a snapshot of the expanding telehealth use in Minnesota.

More than 1,000-fold increase in use of telehealth

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the nine responding Minnesota health systems reported a collective 1,149 telehealth visits per day. Since COVID-19, the health systems reported conducting a collective 15,480 telehealth visits per day as of April 24. These new telehealth visits were proportionate in mode of delivery at 7,612 telephone visits and 7,868 video visits.

Top challenges

Minnesota health systems report their top challenges in rapidly expanding telehealth care are:

  1. Educating staff and physicians on workflows
  2. Scaling up issues related to equipment availability and deployment
  3. Understanding coding/billing to obtain appropriate reimbursement
  4. Facilitating and supporting telehealth encounters from the patient side

What’s next

Stratis Health will continue to convene the front-line leaders in telehealth in Minnesota, to facilitate their planning and problem-solving, and to capture aggregate data and insight at points in time which can inform policy and programs at a state and federal level.