With most of the U.S. under some kind of directive to stay home, these are boom times for digital doctors. Besides worried patients whose symptoms sound like Covid-19, there are plenty of asthmatics, diabetics and discoverers of alarming rashes who still need prescriptions, even if they’re not allowed within two yardsticks of a live physician.
The health system Ascension, with facilities in 20 states, says its online care increased nearly 2,000%, to about 10,000 visits in March from 500 in earlier months. CommonSpirit Health, which operates in 21 states, says its virtual care doubled about every seven days, up to 33,000 televisits for the week ending April 3. The Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute, part of North Carolina-based Atrium Health, says it moved 95% of its outpatient office visits to the cloud, for about 450 virtual patients a day.
Zipnosis, whose telehealth platform is used by 51 health systems, says that in March it facilitated 463,208 patient interactions, mostly via its text-based “adaptive interview.” That’s up from 37,170 in February. Direct-to-patient services are growing fast, too. Two telemedicine companies, Doctor on Demand and 98point6, each say their volume tripled recently.