We write about telehealth and remote care just about every week. We’re elated to see advances in remote care development and the growing acceptance of digital health models. It sure would be a happier and healthier world without COVID-19, but there’s no denying the pandemic and the risk of infection prompted faster than expected adoption of virtual care. CareFirst, a Blue Cross licensee in the Maryland, D.C., and northern Virginia recently introduced CloseKnit, a virtual primary care practice.

In contrast to urgent care centers or hospital emergency departments, CloseKnit does not focus solely on current presenting symptoms. CareFirst designed CloseKnit as a patient-centric provider with a wide range of healthcare services. The service includes preventive and urgent care, behavioral and mental health, care coordination, and more. Patients access the CloseKnit system via a smartphone app, but it is not a virtual-care only healthcare system. While CloseKnit teams deliver primary and integrated care, the teams also give referrals to local providers for in-person care when needed.

Membership in CloseKnit is currently limited to CareFirst customers and employees of CareFirst employer groups. We’re excited to see a virtual primary care practice because of its potential as a model for a new approach that will increase access to healthcare while keeping costs under control.