Kaiser Permanente Washington Introduces Virtual-First Health Plan

In response to increasing patient demand for telehealth this year in which 90 percent of Kaiser Permanente Washington patient visits are now by telephone or video, the health plan recently announced the launch of a new “virtual-first” healthcare plan in Washington state.

After announcing plans earlier this year to strengthen virtual interactions as a first line of care Kaiser Permanente Washington established the Business Command Center that is working to develop a new virtual care model.

The new plan will be available January 1, 2021. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington will center telehealth as a foundational modality of care for patients with non-urgent issues  and be offered direct to employer groups and consumers.

The system’s options include its Consulting Nurse Service, Care Chat online messaging and video and phone visits; about 65% of appointments are now conducted virtually.

The new health plan will allow members to reach out via phone, online chat, video or email for non-urgent issues. Members also have access to Kaiser Permanente pharmacists via telehealth and can get medications delivered in one to two days.


Takeaway: Kaiser Permanente National would like Kaiser Permanente Washington to pilot and learn from these novel “virtual first” strategies and then rapidly share them at scale