HealthPartners Launches Online Clinic

Virtuwell offers online diagnosis, treatment, and prescriptions for several medical conditions.

Bloomington-based HealthPartners announced Monday that it has launched its online clinic, which offers diagnosis, treatment, and prescriptions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The clinic, called Virtuwell, was developed by HealthPartners in conjunction with San Francisco-based AKQA, an advertising agency focused on digital medicine. HealthPartners first announced its plans to launch the online clinic in May.

Virtuwell has experienced nurse practitioners who are available online to provide diagnoses, treatment recommendations, and prescriptions for several conditions, including cold, cough and allergy, ear pain, and yeast and urinary tract infection.

Users do not need to be HealthPartners health plan members to use to Virtuwell, which provides services for $40 or less, depending on the customer's insurance coverage.

Virtuwell services are currently only available to customers living in or visiting Minnesota, but HealthPartners plans to extend the services to other areas.

HealthPartners offered previews of Virturwell's services during its development and gathered feedback from a number of major employers, including Andersen Corporation.

“When an employee has a minor medical condition, they want to get better quickly with little inconvenience, the least down time and at the lowest cost, Kathy Prondzinski, corporate benefits design director at Andersen Corporation, said in a statement. “As a large employer, we want to support these needs, which is why Virtuwell is so appealing to us.”

HealthPartners says it is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation. It serves 1.25 million members and provides care to over 500,000 patients in its system of 70 clinics and three hospitals. HealthPartners is Minnesota's third-largest health care insurer based on 2008 revenue, which totaled $2.2 billion. Its 2009 revenue totaled $3.4 billion.