Fairview Range Blog

Virtual Visits: Advancing Medical Care One Call, Check-in, and E-visit at a Time

Sometimes the greatest advances in medical technology do not feel that high tech at all. Despite this, they completely change the way we live and better our community in essential ways. Virtual visits are a great example of this. Almost overnight, they have forever changed how people receive health care and access their provider. On the Iron Range, this change can be seen most prominently by the uptick in virtual visits offerings provided by local healthcare systems. While face-to-face visits will always be essential in some situations, virtual visits have become a wonderful resource for both patients and providers.

COVID-19 has brought a lot of changes to our world, especially in health care. At Fairview, this is no exception. To keep patients safe during the pandemic, Fairview Mesaba Clinics expanded their virtual visit options and saw a large spike in usage in 2020. While the pandemic will eventually end, this change in care is not going anywhere. 

Fairview Mesaba Clinics now offer four different types of virtual visits. Phone, e-visits, video, and OnCare give patients an array of options for getting in touch with their healthcare team. This means whether you would like to talk to your provider face-to-face, over a video visit or over the phone, you have a safe option that fits your needs. It is care wherever and whenever you need. 

The numbers help show the popularity of these service options. Due to the pandemic, Fairview Mesaba Clinics introduced video visits on March 27, 2020. In the second quarter of the year, in the midst of the initial lockdown, the clinics saw 457 people through video visits. The following quarters recorded 380 and 273 visits as well. 

While video visits were a new service in 2020, the hospital system already offered e-visits prior to COVID-19. It really took off once the pandemic started, though. In January and February 2020, e-visits were in the low 30s. Then in March, the numbers shot up to 143 visits. From there it just continued to grow, with 281 e-visits in the second quarter and hundreds of visits in the following quarters. 

Another area that has seen exponential growth is telephone visits. Fairview Range averaged around 1,000 telephone visits per quarter in 2020. This style provides an easy way to reach providers for even the least tech savvy. 

Another asset of virtual visits is saving time on in-person visits. In 2020, Fairview Mesaba Clinics incorporated eCheck-ins through MyChart, which cuts down on time spent in the clinics by making the check-in process quicker. Patients can review and update information such as insurance, allergies, and medication in advance. This service has been essential to Fairview’s curbside services and COVID-19 testing. 

The results from incorporating numerous styles of virtual visits has overall been very positive. People have sent feedback thanking Fairview for the options and keeping people safe. Some have mentioned that they hope these visitation types continue even after the pandemic (which as mentioned above, virtual visits are not going anywhere). Others stated that virtual visits have allowed them to address their healthcare needs while feeling safe in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. People love the convenience of virtual visits in their busy schedules. 

With the growing numbers and positive feedback, virtual visits are a service we are proud and excited to offer our patients. As we seek to serve the community in the best possible ways, more visitation options have been a great asset for both our patients and our providers. While in some instances it is important to see your provider in person, offering virtual visits give everyone in the community quick and safe access to quality health care.  

To schedule a virtual visit, you can choose from the following options. 

Call 218-362-6937 to schedule a video or phone visit.

Visit www.fairview.org/MyChart to schedule an e-visit. To learn more, you can call 855-513-5513. 

Check out OnCare.org for 24/7 online care.


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