How Ascension is approaching direct-to-consumer virtual care

Healthcare consumers are evolving and their expectations for convenience, affordability and quality are redefining how they engage at each stage of care.

Virtual doctor visits, in which a patient can see a doctor or other care provider via smartphone for a "face-to-face" visit, are radically transforming care delivery. Interest among consumers is on the rise with expected annual growth rates between 27-32 percent until 2025.


While treatments and technology have evolved, the experience of patients has not been dramatically altered. Health systems have an increasing need to create an ambulatory care model portfolio, which consists of multiple ambulatory access points, each focused on meeting the unique needs of population segments.

As telemedicine grows in influence, the consumer benefits are apparent — saving time and money when needs can be met through a virtual visit. This approach to healthcare allows patients to have reliable access to care at a price that is both affordable and consistent.

Three important virtual care delivery models include:

  • Direct-to-consumer virtual care. On-demand care by video for minor illnesses and ailments
  • Virtual provider office. Convenient primary and specialty care for generally stable, minimally complex, or healthy populations, serving both acute and chronic illnesses
  • Provider-to-provider consultations. Providing access to consultative services across geographies

Ascension Online Care includes virtual urgent care that has been built to offer healthcare services online, anytime with 24/7 virtual urgent care that fits your schedule. That means ultimate convenience for those we serve — no driving, no parking and no waiting room, all at only $49 per visit. Online urgent care can be used to treat a variety of symptoms including: sinus or upper respiratory infections, eye infections, allergic reactions, sore throat/strep/cough, cold/flu and more.

Direct-to-consumer virtual care is just one of the innovative care models that we are implementing to better support convenience and integrated care for patients in need.

Innovative ambulatory care models are an important part of Ascension's vision for the future and mission to better serve our communities. These new models also help us deliver on our consumer access and are a critical component of our mission-inspired transformation work.

Over the past several months, Ascension Medical Group has been working in our markets to analyze population needs, selecting care models to best serve them, and developing a roadmap to tailor and launch them, based on capabilities and constraints. Virtual care is a necessary component of this work, which will expand our portfolio of access points and empower consumers to choose the best option for their needs.

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