Atrium Health Debuts Complete Telemedicine Offering

03.29.2021 Atrium Health News

Atrium Health Virtual Edge offers unified platform for vast array of virtual health expertise and professional services

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 29, 2021 – Building on more than a decade of investment to be on the leading edge of virtual health, Atrium Health is now offering a complete array of virtual care capabilities, Atrium Health Virtual Edge. From primary care and specialty care, to hospital care and home care, Atrium Health Virtual Edge is delivering a new standard for thousands of patients across the region, every day, by improving access and care for all. Atrium Health Virtual Edge is a cornerstone in scaling best-in-class care directly to patients and partners.   

Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atrium Health has 42 hospitals and 1,500 care locations across the Carolinas and Georgia which log over 15 million patient interactions each year. It provides care under the Wake Forest Baptist Health name in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, region and Atrium Health Navicent, in Georgia.

“Since the beginning, our goal has been crystal clear; to make virtual health an everyday part of how we care for patients,” said Dr. Scott Rissmiller, executive vice president and chief physician executive for Atrium Health. “We realized years ago that there were cost factors, convenience factors and access issues that could be improved upon through advancements in virtual care delivery. With dozens of rural hospitals closing their doors, we recognized that we could extend the reach of our renowned clinicians to help more people through virtual care.”

“Virtual health is no longer a nice-to-have or an augmentation of care,” he added. “It is an essential and necessary way of clinical care delivery and customer service for any healthcare system. It allows us to deliver affordable, accessible care for all. Clinically appropriate and timely care is provided in the place most convenient and beneficial for the patient – close to home or in the home – and, because it’s virtual, it removes many of the barriers to access that exist in both rural and underserved communities.”

Over the past year, since early in the pandemic, Atrium Health has received numerous accolades for the Atrium Health Hospital at Home program. It has allowed tens of thousands of COVID-19 patients to be treated virtually, in the comfort of their own home,  freeing up bedspace while conserving staff time and personal protective equipment. It has since been extended to cardiac patients. But the success of that program was spawned by ten years of prior innovation in the virtual care space at Atrium Health.

Atrium Health Virtual Edge is designed to foster partnerships with other hospitals or health systems, employers and commercial payors. It aims to deliver consumer-oriented care options that attract and retain patients, optimize convenient access to care and deliver outstanding, best-in-class value to patient populations. In addition, it is set up to build sustainable models that lead to cost savings by maximizing the efficiency of medical staff and reducing inappropriate utilization.

“As an organization, we are committed to being the partner of choice and the premier health system in the Southeast,” said Katie Kriener, senior vice president of Medical Group Operations for Atrium Health. “Atrium Health Virtual Edge is a major part of our strategy.

“Within Atrium Health Virtual Edge, our critical care, neurology, stroke, psychiatry, infectious disease and hospitalist programs all offer virtual hospital-based services, providing access to specialty care, while also helping balance provider supply,” she said. “We’ve been an innovator in the behavioral health space as well, providing primary, pediatric and OB/GYN practices with real-time access to a cross-functional behavioral health team. We've achieved significant improvement in mental health and cost, including greater than 40% remission rates, 27% reduction in avoidable inpatient visits and 7% reduction in avoidable emergency department visits.”

Atrium Health has also established virtual, school-based clinics, providing students with increased access to care during school hours, without leaving the building or parents leaving work. On-site nurses refer patients, as needed, to local pediatricians who are on-call, with parents able to easily join the virtual consultation. This has yielded 55% fewer avoidable emergency department visits and a 33% reduction in school absences.

For employers, Atrium Health delivers virtual primary and urgent care services as a part of its larger Employer Solutions offering, focused on reducing cost of care. Working with its employer partners, Atrium Health delivers experiences tailored for the needs of employee populations.           

More information is available at AtriumHealth.org/VirtualEdge.

About Atrium Health

Atrium Health is a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education and compassionate patient care. Atrium Health is an integrated, nonprofit health system with more than 70,000 teammates serving patients at 42 hospitals and more than 1,500 care locations. It provides care under the Wake Forest Baptist Health name in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, region and Atrium Health Navicent in Georgia. Atrium Health is renowned for its top-ranked pediatric, cancer and heart care, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. A recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research, Wake Forest School of Medicine is the academic core of the enterprise, including Wake Forest Innovations, which is advancing new medical technologies and biomedical discoveries. Atrium Health is also a leading-edge innovator in virtual care and mobile medicine, providing care close to home and in the home. Ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for cancer treatment and in eight pediatric specialties, Atrium Health has also received the American Hospital Association’s Quest for Quality Prize and was the recipient of the 2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Equity Award for its efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care. With a commitment to every community it serves, Atrium Health seeks to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all, providing more than $2 billion per year in free and uncompensated care and other community benefits.