CareFirst, a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer with roughly three million business members in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, has started a new virtual care practise. CloseKnit is the name of the new virtual-first solution, which includes preventative, primary, and urgent care, behavioral and mental healthcare, care coordination, and insurance navigation.
- Close pitch: CareFirst is pitching CloseKnit as a way to close healthcare gaps, especially those for primary care.“We created CloseKnit because people deserve an enhanced, modern care experience that meets their expectations, needs, and preferences for choice in how they connect and experience care,” Brian Pieninck, president and CEO of CareFirst, said in a statement.
- Accessibility: Available for download in the Apple and Google app stores, the CloseKnit platform offers care all day, every day from credentialed providers. When needed, CloseKnit’s providers can make referrals for in-person care at local healthcare facilities.“Our practice is adaptable and ready to conveniently respond to the unique needs of our patients virtually and in-person when necessary,” Mary Jane Favazza, CEO of CloseKnit, said in a statement.
- Fill ups: “Nearly 40% of our members don’t have a primary care doctor. CloseKnit helps fill critical gaps for many patients, particularly those who lack a PCP, including expanding our valued network of providers and making it easy to access the care they seek 24 hours a day, seven days a week”, said Brian.
- Dropouts: According to Harvard Medical School data, the number of patients with a primary care provider is dropping across the United States’ healthcare landscape. According to the report, the percentage of Americans with a primary care physician fell from 77 percent to 75 percent between 2002 and 2015.
- Routine care: The study’s authors are concerned about the falling trend, noting that patients who receive primary care live longer, healthier lives and are more satisfied with their care. They suggested that one method to close the gap is to increase the use of innovative patient-clinician contacts, such as telemedicine.