American Well Offers Patients Virtual Doctor Visits - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Applications
News
6/18/2008
10:56 AM
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
[Dark Reading Crash Course] Finding & Fixing Application Security Vulnerabilitie
Sep 14, 2017
Hear from a top applications security expert as he discusses key practices for scanning and securi ...Read More>>

American Well Offers Patients Virtual Doctor Visits

The online health care marketplace lets patients contact an accredited medical specialist live, 24 hours a day, via the Web or phone.

It's 2 a.m., and your newborn is crying up a storm. The infant's cheeks feel hot, but you're not sure if it's because he's been inconsolable for the last two hours, or maybe he's sick. Still, you're hesitant to wake your pediatrician in the middle of night with another nervous first-time-parent call.

If Boston-based startup American Well system's plan pans out, instead of waking your doctor, you'll have the option of contacting a pediatrician or any accredited medical specialist live, 24-hours a day, via the Web or phone to help you determine whether your issue can be worked out at home, should be followed up with an office visit, or warrants an urgent trip to the emergency room.

The American Well online health care marketplace, which launched this week, provides a secure, Web-based, voice-over-IP enabled platform that facilitates for patients on-demand, real-time "virtual consultations" with medical professionals any time of day. Patients and clinicians can communicate through phone, Web cams, video conferencing, secure messaging, or secure chat.

"You can buy books, purchase airline tickets, and download music on the Web," says American Well CEO and co-founder Dr. Roy Schoenberg. "Now, for the first time, you can now do this with health care."

American Well's business model has it partnering with health insurers and health plans that will reimburse member doctors for virtual consultations with patients. Doctors will be paid a lower amount for virtual consultations compared with office visits, but among the pluses for physicians is that the remote interactions with patients can be done from the clinician's home, office, or anywhere that's most convenient for him or her. The same is true for patients.

Hawaii Medical Services Association, part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is one of the first health plan and insurers in the United States preparing to provide the virtual consultations as benefits to member patients and their dependents, Schoenberg says. HMSA will begin offering the virtual consultation benefit to members during the upcoming open enrollment season and will reimburse member doctors for providing the services to patients.

"Online health care is an innovative consumer health solution," said Michael Stollar, HMSA VP of marketing and communication, in an e-mail to InformationWeek. "It is easy to use and convenient and will fill an immediate need in Hawaii's health care industry and improve access to health care statewide."

HMSA discussions so far with local doctors indicate that most physicians are likely to participate in the service, said Stollar.

Meanwhile, health care providers in other states also have started signing up to participate as online clinicians offering their consultation services on the American Well site.

Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network CEO Dr. Elliot Sussman says he expects "a couple hundred" of the organization's doctors to participate in the American Well network once the marketplace is ready to go live, probably later this year, in Pennsylvania. The hospital is located about 50 miles north of Philadelphia and 80 miles west of New York City, and includes a physicians group of 450 doctors, he says.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll