Innovation 4 minute read

Virtual Care & Intelligent Automation Tools Help Triage Patients

CommonSpirit Health has rapidly scaled virtual visits and AI-enabled assessments and screenings in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.
CommonSpirit Health has rapidly scaled virtual visits and AI-enabled assessments and screenings in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.

Chicago, Ill.—April 2, 2020—The rapid expansion of automated technologies and virtual care is powering the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. CommonSpirit Health has scaled virtual visits and AI-enabled assessments and screenings to millions of patients across 21 states in a matter of weeks. These platforms are helping the health system reduce transmission of the virus, efficiently triage patients, protect caregivers, and conserve critically needed supplies.

These technologies are being used to coordinate care and resources across CommonSpirit’s 137 hospitals and 1,200 care sites. Each day digital tools are automatically pre-screening and referring thousands of patients to appropriate care sites, allowing thousands of physicians across the country to deliver care safely and remotely, and giving any patient with COVID-19 symptoms the chance to get a free virtual urgent care visit.

Several different technologies are driving these results:

  • Free virtual urgent care visits: CommonSpirit Health is offering free virtual urgent care visits for any patient experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Physicians can diagnose patients, prescribe medication, and make referrals. In March, CommonSpirit provided thousands of visits, with many patients saying that they would have otherwise visited a physical care site. Patients can start a visit at or and
  • AI-powered self-assessments: Any patient looking for COVID-19 information on CommonSpirit websites can “chat” with an online self-assessment. The assessment can refer patients to a virtual visit, a local triage center or emergency room depending on their symptoms and risk factors. The tool is screening hundreds of patients each day.
  • Virtual primary care: Thousands of CommonSpirit physicians across the country can now provide care without their patients having to leave the safety of their homes. CommonSpirit has onboarded more than 3,000 physicians across the country to these platforms in a two week period. CommonSpirit physicians are conducting more than 5,000 virtual visits daily representing more than 25 percent of all visits.
  • Automated screening and triage tools: Intelligent patient intake tools can prompt patients to provide symptoms and medical histories before a visit and flag high-risk patients for clinical staff, helping to protect both patients and clinicians. The technology was developed specifically in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“This virus has forced us to completely reimagine how we provide health care during a public health crisis,” said Dr. Bob Wiebe, Chief Medical Officer for CommonSpirit. “Now our physicians, nurses and staff have powerful new tools to care for our communities. These technologies are getting patients to the right care at the right time and are absolutely crucial to fighting this virus.”

As one of the country’s largest health care systems, CommonSpirit is a key part of responding to the virus in communities across America – from “hot spots” like the Pacific Northwest, San Francisco and Los Angeles, urban centers like Houston, to rural counties in North Dakota and Iowa where remote care is crucial.

“It’s crucial that we serve our patients in this moment of crisis while also protecting our physicians and medical professionals,” said Suja Chandrasekaran, CommonSpirit’s SEVP and Chief Information and Digital Officer. “Technology is one of the most important tools we have and it has allowed us to rapidly scale virtual visits, whether for urgent care or primary care. These new platforms are enabling our response to this health crisis at a speed and scale never seen before, so our caregivers can anticipate the needs of our patients and communities in real time.”

“No matter how we are engaging with our patients, their care must be coordinated and efficient,” said Bruce Swartz, CommonSpirit’s Executive Vice President for Physician Enterprise. “Our clinicians, hospitals, ambulatory sites, and our online resources all have to be completely in synch. Our clinicians have adapted to this new reality and whenever possible are making virtual options the first choice for our patients.”

CommonSpirit has a range of online resources for patients and communities. The latest information can be found at and at


About CommonSpirit Health
CommonSpirit Health is a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 through the merger of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. With its national office in Chicago and a team of approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 137 hospitals and more than 1000 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2019, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health had combined revenues of nearly $29 billion and provided $4.45 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs.
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