American Well Online Doctor, 24 Hour Urgent Care 2018-10-17T17:01:16Z https://www.americanwell.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Beth Principi <![CDATA[Three telehealth success stories]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=8969 2018-10-08T13:46:13Z 2018-10-08T13:45:29Z The average wait time for patients to see a provider is 24 days, up from 18.5 days in 2014.[1]  With wait times rising and healthcare costs increasing, many health systems have turned to telehealth as a means of increasing access to healthcare. Cerner and American Well have partnered to deliver telehealth that is fully embedded […]

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The average wait time for patients to see a provider is 24 days, up from 18.5 days in 2014.[1]  With wait times rising and healthcare costs increasing, many health systems have turned to telehealth as a means of increasing access to healthcare.

Cerner and American Well have partnered to deliver telehealth that is fully embedded within Cerner’s electronic health record portfolio. The partnership allows physicians to maintain existing workflows within Cerner while delivering virtual care. Several mutual clients of Cerner and American Well, including Children’s Mercy, Beacon Health System, and Intermountain Healthcare, have had great successes with their telehealth programs.

BayCare System System – creating a retail strategy through telehealth

BayCare Health System, a leading not-for-profit health system, utilizes telehealth to provide its patients with convenient access to quality care in the Tampa Bay region. The system currently offers its patients urgent care and wound care services via BayCare Anywhere.

Through its wound care program, BayCare aims to eliminate drive time for its wound care specialist by keeping the provider in a central location to see patients virtually. Since launching this program, the health system has been able to reduce wait time to see the provider from weeks to hours.

In an effect to expand its reach into new markets in the region, BayCare has also deployed eight branded telehealth kiosks in Publix grocery stores.

Beacon Health System – delivering telehealth to employers

Beacon Health System has one telehealth program that is integrated across its entire system.  Through this program, they offer:

  1. A direct-to-consumer platform, Beacon Connected Care, for urgent care, nutrition and behavioral health services
  2. An employer group offering that has employers seeing a positive return on investment in just one year
  3. Site-to-site consults for remote psychiatry rounding
  4. Provider-driven telehealth for scheduled and follow-up appointments

Beacon Health System has seen over 33% of patients who signed up for Beacon’s direct-to-consumer and employer telehealth services go on to have an online visit. The average wait time to see a physician is around six minutes, and the top conditions treated included sinusitis, upper respiratory infections, acute pharyngitis, acute cystitis, and conjunctivitis. Patients and employees who used Beacon’s online care option rated the providers and platform as “excellent” with 4.7 and 4.5 out of five stars, respectively.

Intermountain Healthcare – reducing costs through virtual care

Intermountain Healthcare, a not-for-profit health system based in Salt Lake City, Utah, launched Intermountain Connect Care to help its patients access needed urgent care services. Through a claims analysis, Intermountain measured the value and quality impact direct-to-consumer video visits had on the system and its patients and found that virtual visits resulted in a total claims cost reduction of $367, while patients saw an average savings of $146.93 per visit with telehealth.

To learn more about delivering virtual care through Cerner’s EHR, please visit American Well’s booth # 741 at the Cerner Health Conference.

[1] Merritt Hawkins 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Telemedicine Follow-Up Care Helps Reduce No-Show Rates]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=8929 2018-10-02T16:47:54Z 2018-10-02T16:47:54Z Follow-up care often includes multiple visits to distant and specialized facilities -- with expensive travel considerations -- even for something as simple as a visual check up. This often results in an increase in no-show rates for patients whose geography and personal schedules make follow-up care difficult. Telemedicine follow-up care is being used by many health systems to reduce access issues and increase the likelihood of patients returning for care after an initial visit.

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Telemedicine Follow-Up CareFollow-up care often includes multiple visits to distant and specialized facilities — with expensive travel considerations — even for something as simple as a visual check up. This often results in an increase in no-show rates for patients whose geography and personal schedules make follow-up care difficult. Telemedicine follow-up care is being used by many health systems to reduce access issues and increase the likelihood of patients returning for care after an initial visit.

Telemedicine Follow-up Care for Psychiatry

A case study on Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, found that telemedicine follow-up care reduced no-show follow-up visit rates by 50%. Before implementing telemedicine, Children’s Omaha was seeing patients drive three hours for a 20-minute follow-up session, meaning patients were spending more time driving than receiving care.

In states like Nebraska, where less than 20% of psychiatrists practice outside of the major metropolitan areas, much of the population does not have access to local psychiatric services. This means that even if patients can afford to make a trip to a practicing psychiatrist for initial treatment, they will face substantial impediment to return for follow-up care. Telemedicine follow-up care, like the care provided by Dr. Jennifer McWilliams of Children’s Omaha, brings remote psychiatric services to places where they are otherwise unavailable. Patients can access qualified psychiatric services via video at an affiliated local facility, allowing them to remain close to home while they receive both initial and follow-up care. For more information on how telehealth improved follow-up telepsychiatry care, read the full case study here.

Telemedicine Follow-up Care for Obesity Clinics

Nemours Children’s Health System, an internationally recognized children’s health system, operates a pediatric multidisciplinary obesity clinic in Wilmington, Delaware, which is comprised of psychologists, dieticians and clinicians. The clinic treats children from all over the state, many of whom must drive long distances to get care. To ease the burden of travel on these patients and their families, Nemours began offering telemedicine follow-up care.

After they began offering follow-up visits via telehealth, Nemours ran a survey to gauge patient and family satisfaction and found that 90% of patients and their families were “very satisfied” and 10% were “satisfied” with the care received via telehealth. Due to the success of this initiative, Nemours has since expanded telemedicine follow-up care to non-Nemours primary care offices. For more on Nemours comprehensive telemedicine program and its use cases, read the full case study here.

For more information on how telehealth is improving care delivery, visit our Telehealth Resource Center.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[How Telemedicine Psychiatry Addresses Mental Health Access Issues]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=8914 2018-09-28T17:23:32Z 2018-09-28T17:21:18Z Telemedicine psychiatry, also called telepsychiatry, is helping patients across the country gain access to mental healthcare services. Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, which services Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota, provides an excellent example of the impact telemedicine psychiatry has on patients and providers.

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Telemedicine psychiatry

Telemedicine psychiatry, also called telepsychiatry, is helping patients across the country gain access to mental healthcare services. Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, which services Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota, provides an excellent example of the impact telemedicine psychiatry has on patients and providers.

Children’s Omaha serves over 250,000 children, the vast majority of them living in rural areas with limited or nonexistent access to psychiatric care. Using telepsychiatry, the health system has been able to:

  • Reduce follow-up no show rates by 50%
  • Eliminate the psychiatrist’s 26-hour weekly windshield time
  • Have one psychiatrist provide care to over 600 patients in the program’s first year

Children’s Omaha is now seeking to scale up their telehealth partnership with American Well due to the success of its telemedicine psychiatry program. The health system plans to implement a behavioral health telehealth program for children with complex medical conditions, for example a comorbidity of depression and cystic fibrosis.

The Need for Telemedicine Psychiatry

Children’s Omaha began looking at telemedicine psychiatry solution to address the mental healthcare access issues in Nebraska. Of 156 practicing psychiatrists in the state, 84% are in urban areas with the remaining 25 psychiatrists covering 70,000 square miles of territory. Further, two-thirds of these psychiatrists are age 50 or over so retirement, and a consequent greater service gap, is looming. Nebraska is not alone in this mental health provider shortage and even properly trained nurses and physician assistants are too few to fill the gap.

Building a Telemedicine Psychiatry Program

Children’s Omaha was strategic in building its telemedicine psychiatry program. The health system established relationships with clinics and hospitals throughout the state and placed telemedicine technology within these locations so patients could remotely connect with a psychiatrist in Omaha. It was important that they established these relationships because psychiatrists can only prescribe controlled substances if the patient is physically located in a hospital or clinic. This is one of many logistics Children’s Omaha had to consider when building its program. For more information on building and structuring a telemedicine psychiatry program, read this case study.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Telehealth Patient Satisfaction Survey Shows Acceptance of Virtual Care]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=8857 2018-09-19T13:59:19Z 2018-09-19T13:59:19Z One of the questions many health systems ask when considering telehealth is whether the patient will use the service. To help health systems answer that question, American Well conducted a nationally projectable survey in 2017—a telehealth patient satisfaction survey—to measure patient perception and experience with telehealth. Here is a summary of the results of the […]

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Telehealth Patient Satisfaction SurveyOne of the questions many health systems ask when considering telehealth is whether the patient will use the service. To help health systems answer that question, American Well conducted a nationally projectable survey in 2017—a telehealth patient satisfaction survey—to measure patient perception and experience with telehealth. Here is a summary of the results of the 2017 survey. For a more in-depth look, read the full eBook.

Patients are satisfied with video visits

During the survey, patients were asked if offered the following three options – video, telephone and email – which method results in the most accurate diagnosis by a doctor? 69% of respondents said that video results in the most accurate diagnosis.

Patients also said that video visits effectively solve their health concerns. In fact, patients reported that their healthcare concerns were completely resolved 64% of the time when in a brick and mortar setting. Data from American Well’s telehealth service shows that patients were able to resolve their healthcare needs 85% of the time with video visits.

Patients want telehealth for a range of ailments

Whether for relatively simple concerns like prescription refills or major ones involving chronic disease management, patients want telehealth. In fact, one in five patients said that would switch to a new doctor if they offered telehealth. This type of demand is especially relevant in rural areas. Growth in this area is so large that recent FCC proposals include funding for telehealth equipment in rural clinics to the tune of over $400 million just in the current fiscal year.

Patients are delaying healthcare—sometimes for serious illnesses

The telehealth patient satisfaction survey also found that patients are delaying healthcare. Two-thirds of Americans have put off consulting a healthcare professional for a variety of reasons ranging from cost to access.

Patients aren’t just delaying care for minor issues. Nearly a third of patients who said they had delayed seeking care are facing a serious health issue. Delaying care for serious health concerns can have costly ramifications for the patient and the healthcare provider.

Video visits offer a viable solution

The telehealth patient satisfaction survey also found that two thirds of consumers are willing to see a doctor over video. Access and time saved are two things that are driving patient willingness to see a doctor over video.

In a study by Southwest Medical Associates of Las Vegas, standard doctor visit times started with 18 days between making the appointment and seeing the doctor. The in-office visit itself took about two hours, only 20 minutes of which involved face-to-face time with the physician. With telehealth, the study found patients spend approximately five minutes waiting and 8-10 minutes seeing the doctor—a drastic increase in time saved compared to in-person visits.

Bottom line: Patients want telehealth

The telehealth patient satisfaction survey revealed that patients want telehealth and may start going to the healthcare professionals who offer it. To learn more about patient sentiments toward telehealth, read the full eBook.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Improving Stroke Patient Outcomes with Telestroke Programs]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=8807 2018-09-13T13:26:27Z 2018-09-12T18:16:06Z Health systems across the country are implementing telestroke programs to allow physicians at rural hospitals to immediately consult and coordinate with remote neurologists.

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Telestroke

Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for roughly 130,000 deaths each year. Every minute counts following a stroke because every minute that passes puts stroke patients at a higher risk of suffering long-term or even permanent effects.

For rural hospitals or hospitals without a neurologist on staff, evaluating, diagnosing and treating stroke patients quickly and effectively is difficult. Only 22% of rural Americans live within 30 minutes of a neurologist-staffed medical facility, leaving a large portion of the country’s population without appropriate access to stroke care when they need it.

To combat this challenge, many health systems across the country are implementing telestroke programs. Through these programs, physicians at rural hospitals can immediately consult and coordinate with remote neurologists during the initial triage within the emergency department (ED), all the way through the treatment and follow-up.

How telestroke programs improve patient outcomes

Telestroke programs have been proven to have positive effects on patient outcomes. Southern Illinois Healthcare, a not-for-profit system, implemented a telestroke program to minimize the door-to-needle time in its rural emergency departments. Through its program, Southern Illinois Healthcare was able to:

  • Reduce door-to-needle time to 19 minutes
  • Reduce the average length of stay for stroke patients to 2.5 days
  • Have one neurologist serve three remote hospitals

You can read more about Southern Illinois Healthcare’s telestroke program here.

Another study of 2,500 patients diagnosed with an acute ischemic stroke found that telestroke increased the timely use of clot-dissolving drugs by 75%. The study also found:

  • Diagnostic imaging tests were given 12 minutes sooner
  • Clot-dissolving drugs were administered 11 minutes sooner
  • tPA administration increased by 55% in rural areas

Building an effective telestroke program

While it’s proven that telestroke programs enable greater collaboration between providers and better access and care for patients, certain telehealth functionalities are essential for the seamless evaluation and treatment of patients.

Remote Physician Control of the Camera: American Well’s telemedicine carts come with a Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) camera to enhance video quality and control during remote consults. Remote far-end-camera-control on PTZ cameras allow neurologists to control the camera while examining the patient remotely.

Care Collaboration through Multiway Video: Giving physicians the option to add care team members, additional specialists or family members to a remote consult allows for better continuity of care and facilitates the right care for the stroke patient.

Real-Time PACs Imaging:  When evaluating and treating a stroke patient, physicians need rapid access to superior imaging, preferably all within the same platform to avoid multiple screens and log‑ins.

Integrated EMR History: Because stroke care must be administered quickly, it’s essential that physicians have patients’ records at their fingertips. Integrating the telestroke program with the EMR allows physicians to quickly view patient information before making medical decisions—creating a safe and comprehensive patient-provider experience.

These functionalities enable neurologists to provide care that is equivalent to in-person stroke care. To learn more about telestroke programs, or to request a demo of American Well’s telestroke technology, click here.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Telemedicine Examples: Building Programs to Meet Specific Goals]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=8779 2018-09-06T18:17:03Z 2018-09-06T18:17:03Z Top health systems and employers across the country have built robust telemedicine programs to meet their organizations’ unique goals. Here are telemedicine examples from two top health systems and a top employer, all of which demonstrate their unique approach to telehealth implementation.

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Telemedicine ExamplesThere is a lot that goes into a telemedicine program, from engaging providers to effectively marketing the service to patients and employees. Top health systems and employers across the country have built robust telemedicine programs to meet their organizations’ unique goals. Here are telemedicine examples from two top health systems and a top employer, all of which demonstrate their unique approach to telehealth implementation.

Beacon Health System has locations across Indiana and Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Even before adding telehealth to their services, they were already one of the biggest healthcare groups in the region. In 2017, Beacon Health System formed a governance group of all key stakeholders to launch a system-wide telemedicine program. The telemedicine program was rolled out in a multi-phased approach, and included the launch of a direct-to-consumer telehealth service, employer group strategy, site-to-site consults and provider-driven telehealth. One of Beacon Health System’s goals with its telemedicine program was to engage its providers. The health system took an innovative approach to provider adoption of telehealth by forming a provider test group. This test group included representation from a broad spectrum of specialties, including pediatrics, orthopedics, dermatology, and primary care, as well as a variety of day-today operations—available appointment spots, more administrative time, high volume of patients per hour, or mostly Medicaid patients. To learn how Beacon Health System ran these provider test groups, or to get more information on its strategy behind a system-wide telemedicine program, read the case study here.

Southwest Medical is another unique telemedicine example. Southwest Medical Associates (SMA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group and Optum, partnered with American Well to launch a direct-to-consumer telemedicine service, SMA NowClinic. SMA deployed a forward-thinking in-clinic marketing strategy to promote telehealth to patients.  When patients enter a SMA clinic, they are greeted by rack cards, tri-fold brochures, floor vinyl signage and ceiling danglers all promoting SMA NowClinic. A television screen also shows wait times at the various urgent care clinics and compares it with the short wait times on SMA NowClinic. Through this type of marketing, SMA has had over 30,000 patients enroll in telehealth and more than 20,000 visits. For more information on SMA’s telemedicine program, including how they defined goals, piloted the program and engaged providers, read the case study.

Adecco offers a great telemedicine example for employers. Adecco is a global staffing firm with employees everywhere, but especially across the US. Though not a medical service provider themselves, they partner with American Well to deliver their employees a convenient, cost-effective medical benefit. As of June 2018, 44% of Adecco’s employees have enrolled in the telemedicine benefit, and of those employees, 55% have had at least one online visit. Since launch, it’s estimated that Adecco has saved over $230,000 with telehealth. In addition to telehealth ROI, Adecco has seen high employee satisfaction with telehealth, as well as substantial time savings. To learn more about Adecco’s telemedicine benefit, including how they engage employees in the benefit, read the case study.

Whether your organization is a health system looking to better serve more patients or an employer searching for a convenient, low-cost medical benefit for employers, telehealth is a viable solution. For even more telemedicine examples visit our resources page, or contact us directly for more information.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Intermountain Healthcare Demonstrates Telehealth ROI]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=8723 2018-08-01T19:20:41Z 2018-08-01T19:18:15Z Intermountain Healthcare discussed the ROI of telehealth from the perspective of an integrated health system

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During an American Well-sponsored webinar hosted by Becker’s Hospital Review, Intermountain Healthcare discussed telehealth ROI for urgent care. In 2016, the health system partnered with American Well to launch its telehealth service, Connect Care, to enhance patient convenience and care access; cut delivery costs; and retain and recruit patients.

Intermountain Healthcare encompasses 23 hospitals, 185 clinics, a medical group and a health plan division called SelectHealth. Intermountain approached its analysis of telehealth ROI from the perspective of an integrated health system. The telehealth ROI study included claims data from SelectHealth and accessed the telehealth program by analyzing each care setting’s episode cost, follow-up rate and utilization rate for labs, imaging and antibiotics.

The study revealed the prevalence of 21-day follow-up medical visits for each setting:

The telehealth ROI study documented lab, imaging and antibiotic use:

The study also revealed the total claims cost per episode in care settings within the 21-day timeframe:

“In the overall total costs, this is where the striking differences are and where we believe that our care we’re giving for those indicated conditions is appropriate. There’s a substantial opportunity for cost savings [in the virtual care setting],” says Dr. Joe Dalto, PhD, telehealth team senior data manager at Intermountain Healthcare.

By directing patients with appropriate conditions to virtual care, Intermountain Healthcare sees lower overall health plan cost and doesn’t see a higher rate of antibiotic claims or follow-up care.

“Health plan savings should be considered part of the overall value proposition to an integrated health system,” said Tim Lovell, MBA, Connect Care operations manager. “And this is where we see huge value and opportunity for us.”

To learn more about Intermountain’s telehealth ROI study, including the implications for an integrated system, listen to the webinar recording here. Intermountain’s Tim Lovell, MBA, Joe Dalto, PhD, and Jordan Albritton, PhD, share their study results, review the methods used in the study and share Intermountain’s model of defining value for online urgent care visits.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Pediatric Telehealth Success: Children’s Health, Children’s Omaha, Pediatric Associates]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=8719 2018-08-01T19:22:02Z 2018-08-01T18:50:17Z Children's Health of Dallas, Children's Hospital & Medical Center of Omaha and Pediatric Associates discuss how their organizations are revamping care through pediatric telehealth.

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In a webinar sponsored by American Well and hosted by Becker’s Hospital Review, Children’s Health of Dallas, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center of Omaha and Pediatric Associates discussed how their organizations are revamping care through pediatric telehealth.

Children’s Health: Pediatric Telehealth as a vehicle for patient consumerism

For Children’s Health of Dallas, telehealth provides care access to both rural and urban patients, particularly for the Medicaid population.

Patients often have to take several bus rides or spend entire days traveling to one medical appointment, and nearly one in five Dallas County children are uninsured, prompting a number of patients to seek care in the health system’s emergency rooms.

“Quite a few of our telemedicine programs were started due to the high level of ER visits we receive,” says Tamara Perry, director of virtual health operations at the health system. “We had to begin shifting focus from patient care to consumer care, and technology is one of the easiest ways to reach our patients.”

Children’s Health, which began its pediatric telehealth program in 2013, now provides virtual care across numerous service lines, from blood disorders to school telehealth. The school telehealth system is implemented in more than 100 schools across Texas and is the largest school-based telehealth program in the country.

Children’s Health of Dallas has also expanded the reach of virtual visits through telehealth kiosks in local pharmacies and community residential sites. The health system partners with Dallas-based Dougherty’s Pharmacy on telehealth kiosks, with its first kiosk launching in 2016.

Learn more about Children’s Health’s telehealth program here.

Children’s Omaha: Expanding telepsychiatry care to rural communities

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center of Omaha, which cares for more than 250,000 children annually, is using pediatric telehealth to address the limited access to psychiatric care in Nebraska.

“When we started thinking about telehealth about three years ago, our new CEO, who was an advocate for telehealth, guided us toward recruiting Dr. Jennifer McWilliams to lead as our physician champion for psychiatry,” said Michael Vance, PhD, director of behavioral health services at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center of Omaha.

For Jennifer McWilliams, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Children’s of Omaha’s department of behavioral health, telehealth serves as a tool to more easily connect patients to providers rather than entirely altering how providers deliver care.

The hospital’s virtual visits for psychiatry have significantly increased, with 600-plus telepsychiatry visits conducted since the program’s launch. “I provide care via telehealth about half the time but could easily begin providing care via telehealth 100 percent of the time,” says Dr. McWilliams.

“I’m providing pediatric psychiatry just the same as I would be if someone came to my office in person,” says Dr. McWilliams. “When I’m talking to other providers, I really emphasize that telemedicine is simply a tool. There are some aspects of evaluation that are more challenging when evaluating certain conditions via telehealth, but on the flipside, when dealing with patients who have experienced trauma or anxiety, they feel more comfortable seeing a provider virtually.”

Since its inception, the pediatric telehealth program helped reduce Children’s of Omaha’s follow-up no-show rates by 50 percent.

Read more about Children’s of Omaha’s telehealth program in this case study.

Pediatric Associates: Telehealth triage for ED diversion

Pediatric Associates, which cares for approximately 500,000 patients, implemented pediatric telehealth services to triage patients and help with ER diversion. Pediatric Associates providers staff the group’s telehealth system and created triage protocol to determine the best site of care for each patient to lower unnecessary ER visits.

“All of our appointments made through telehealth are triage-based, and patients can continue to be scheduled through our existing phone system,” says Amy Verlsteffen, director of the patient contact center for Pediatric Associates.

The group has four full-time telehealth physicians available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.

“Our focus is on growth and embracing managed care and value-based care,” said Scott Farr, COO of Pediatric Associates. “That’s been the key for developing this initiative around telehealth — it allows us to care for our patients in the most efficient way and providing them the greatest ability to access care.”

To learn more about Pediatric Associates triage-based pediatric telehealth program, click here.

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Kate Finkelston <![CDATA[Recognizing the Leaders of Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=8174 2018-07-10T15:06:58Z 2018-07-10T14:25:35Z At this year’s Client Forum, hosted in Boston, MA, American Well recognized some of our trusted clients who have been extraordinary leaders throughout their telehealth journey. Clinical Innovation First in Clinical Innovation, we recognized achievements in clinical use cases, provider adoption and engagement and clinical workflows. It was only a few years ago that Children’s […]

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At this year’s Client Forum, hosted in Boston, MA, American Well recognized some of our trusted clients who have been extraordinary leaders throughout their telehealth journey.

Clinical Innovation

First in Clinical Innovation, we recognized achievements in clinical use cases, provider adoption and engagement and clinical workflows. It was only a few years ago that Children’s Health was working alongside the Texas State Medical Board to legalize telehealth in the state. In addition to its robust urgent care services and school-based care program, Children’s Health has use cases like young women’s blood disorders live on its telehealth platform.

Pediatric Associates was also recognized for their triage telehealth program to successfully divert patients away from unnecessary emergency department visits. Their commitment in getting providers on board has been outstanding and a huge part of the reason they were given this award.

And the final award in this category goes to a long-time partner of American Well’s. Cleveland Clinic deserved the recognition of Clinical Innovation for integrating telehealth into over 80 departments across its health system. Cleveland Clinic is a pioneer in adding new providers to its telehealth system.

Engagement Excellence

Next up: Engagement Excellence. This award recognizes success in engaging consumers and patient populations. WEA Trust serves Wisconsin public employers, their staffs and families, and through innovative giveaways and incentivized marketing—WEA Trust enrolled thousands of members in telehealth in less than a year.

Baptist Health South Florida was honored for all of the spent time at community engagement events, helping employees to download the app and training providers across multiple specialties. Thanks to their dedication to spreading this message, they are growing at an impressive rate, constantly striving to rethink healthcare in favor of their consumers and their community.

Also for Engagement Excellence, OSF HealthCare has seen continued success with their direct-to-consumer offering, which can be attributed to the different communication channels they have developed.

Integration Leadership

The Integration Leadership award recognizes those who have successfully managed integrating telehealth and building alignment within organizations. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina has collaborated with local provider organizations to offer telehealth services to their patients. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina has been working alongside the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance, a statewide collaboration of organizations, to expand telehealth services across the state.

UPMC has been a true partner since the start of our relationship; always eager and willing to partner on strategic initiatives. UPMC works closely with our Product Development team on partner integrations, helping us deliver value to all our clients.

CorVel seamlessly integrated telehealth into its Workers Compensation program. Corvel has successfully conducted a high volume of worker’s comp visits and has recently integrated a behavioral health and clinical pain management program into its offerings to support individuals at risk for pain medication addition.

Telehealth Maverick

The Telehealth Maverick award recognizes the forward-thinking innovators who have paved the way. The Mississippi State and School Employees Health Plan was a true maverick when they decided to incorporate telehealth into the state budget. Four years ago, Mississippi began gathering claims data, and more recently, biometrics data, and they have made these data actionable, using them to promote and propel telehealth adoption.

Concentra is utilizing telehealth to see injured workers immediately at employer work sites. Their telehealth program has been instrumental in addressing common pain points for occupational health, including delivering care to workers in remote areas, and providing round-the-clock care to employers who run 24/7 businesses.

Medical University of South Carolina understood that telemedicine needed to be a central component of the healthcare access options for their patient population. Today, MUSC provides a range of telehealth services across 463 distinct telehealth sites and has been spearheading telehealth for more than 12 years.

Key Connector

Finally, the Key Connector award recognizes clients who have consistently made meaningful connections within the ecosystem. Avera Health has always been willing to share and collaborate with other American Well partners.

Intermountain Healthcare has joined American Well’s Exchange and embodies a true leader in connecting the dots between telehealth and outcomes and has delivered a thoughtful ROI study to provide the industry with benchmark data when evaluating the cost of treatment across venues.

NewYork-Presbyterian doesn’t think about telehealth as a silo-ed initiative, but rather as a way to help their organization optimize care delivery and patient experience. They’ve launched programs across a variety of care settings, including emergency departments, inpatient facilities, pharmacies, schools, urgent care sites, and skilled-nursing facilities. NewYork-Presbyterian’s continued drive to continuously innovative to connect physicians remotely makes them an easy choice for the Key Connector award.

Congratulations to all of our award recipients – it’s a great honor to partner with each and every one of our clients. We sincerely thank you for your commitment to excellence.

Clinical Innovation:

  • Children’s Health
  • Pediatric Associates
  • Cleveland Clinic

Engagement Excellence:

  • WEA Trust
  • Baptist Health South Florida
  • OSF Healthcare

Integration Leadership:

  • BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
  • UPMC
  • CorVel

Telehealth Maverick:

  • The Mississippi State and School Employees Health Plan
  • Concentra
  • Medical University of South Carolina

Key Connector:

  • Avera Health
  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • NewYork-Presbyterian

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Diabetes and Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/diabetes-and-telehealth/ 2018-09-27T16:10:09Z 2018-07-04T12:00:00Z Diabetes care has long since progressed to a state where self management is the normal course of action for adults and even many children. Through dietary controls, activity regimens, and automatic injectors with pre-measured doses of insulin, one might think there was little room for improvement. And yet there are still 14 million annual emergency […]

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Diabetes care has long since progressed to a state where self management is the normal course of action for adults and even many children. Through dietary controls, activity regimens, and automatic injectors with pre-measured doses of insulin, one might think there was little room for improvement. And yet there are still 14 million annual emergency department visits related to diabetes in the US and over 75 thousand deaths each year. With better monitoring, many of these would be preventable. Telehealth provides an effective, inexpensive option for measuring and controlling diabetes to those who need it most.

Diabetics who have been properly instructed by their healthcare professionals know all the times of the day and activities around which they are supposed to do spot checks on their blood sugar levels. However, even if these levels are recorded, they provide only a thin cross section of the person’s daily life. Telehealth gives the possibility of all day monitoring so that a whole day profile can be created to improve overall care. Existing technology is already in use for this very purpose. This approach has already been proven particularly effective among urban minorities, a population that is chronically underserved and among whom diabetes rates are climbing.

Integrating telehealth into diabetes care, whether a lifelong patient or newly diagnosed, can ease the strictures of lifestyle modifications that are required. That is, a series of smaller actions can be taken over time rather than a few big ones all at once. Among younger groups, it becomes just one more item in their smart device technological arsenal. And, as noted, the software can be integrated into existing general devices as well as be used through specialized equipment, and both come from qualified telehealth providers that will be there to assist patients and healthcare professionals alike with their needs.

A healthcare professional might reasonably ask about how telehealth can help older patients with their diabetes self-care. The answer is the same as for younger patients. There is ample evidence, both from studies and anecdotes, that senior citizens dislike change or doing something for no good reason they can easily see. However, this is changing. Every year, more seniors are going online, using smart devices, and interacting with an expanding world of relatives, friends, and colleagues. The age cohort at or near retirement age today were entering adulthood just as Neil Armstrong took his “one small step,” so integrating technology into their daily lives now is not the “giant leap” it might have been for generations before them.

Young and old, urban and rural, everyone with diabetes can potentially benefit from integrating telehealth into their self care regimen. Doing so will lower costs, ease the burdens of care, and save lives.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[The CHRONIC Care Act and Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/the-chronic-care-act-and-telehealth/ 2018-09-27T16:10:50Z 2018-06-20T15:08:00Z The CHRONIC Care Act (S.870) has recently passed the US Senate and the House will soon be taking action. The principal benefit here is that all Medicare- and Social Security-eligible people will be better able to access the care options that the packages guarantee and people should be able to access these programs with as few […]

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The CHRONIC Care Act (S.870) has recently passed the US Senate and the House will soon be taking action. The principal benefit here is that all Medicare- and Social Security-eligible people will be better able to access the care options that the packages guarantee and people should be able to access these programs with as few barriers as possible. They paid for them, after all. 

The primary focus is on assisting people with chronic conditions that require frequent if not constant attention. Two-thirds of people currently in the program currently have multiple chronic conditions. In the general population, right now about half of the population has some sort of chronic condition and many have multiple conditions. As our population ages, more and more will enter the Medicare system and we, as a nation and as healthcare providers, need to be ready.

Because chronic conditions can last for months and often whole lifetimes, continuity of care is a necessity for improving patient health outcomes and life expectancy. Collectively, chronic conditions account for 75% of all physician visits, 80% of hospital admissions, and 90% of prescriptions in the US. As more and more of the population ages, and begins experiencing age-related chronic illnesses, these numbers will only increase.

Telehealth makes all of this simpler, less expensive, and helps avoid unnecessary hospitalizations through the continuity of care it makes possible. These capabilities can be combined with the Independence at Home (IAH) part of the CHRONIC Care Act to help keep senior citizens in their homes longer where they are more comfortable and have more control over their lives. This works because staying at home, where a person has their family and friends nearby for support, helps improve adherence to medication and therapy regimens, thus benefitting them in both health outcome and quality of life.

This has become possible because of the expansion to telehealth services that the CHRONIC Care Act includes. The unanimous passage in the Senate means that they are all on board with the possibilities for care that telehealth is making possible. The Veterans Administration alone is already projecting a savings of $1 billion over the next 10 years from their partial roll out of telehealth services. Larger scale implementation, according to a CBO report, is projected to save just as much over the next decade.

This is good news for patients, healthcare professionals, and telehealth providers alike. But action is still needed in the House. The best way that this can be accomplished is by talking to Congress directly on Telehealth Lobby Day. If you are unable to go in person, you can contact them through phone and online routes.

Telehealth works. And it will work better once more people have access to it. The CHRONIC Care Act will make that possible.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telehealth for Chronic Illnesses]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telehealth-for-chronic-illnesses/ 2018-09-27T16:11:14Z 2018-06-12T13:00:00Z One of the biggest problems for people with chronic illnesses is continuity of care. This has been acknowledged for decades. Fixing the gaps in knowledge from one healthcare professional to another has been shown to improve patient health outcomes. Ensuring continuity improves overall health, decreases hospitalizations, and in general work out better for everyone concerned. […]

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One of the biggest problems for people with chronic illnesses is continuity of care. This has been acknowledged for decades. Fixing the gaps in knowledge from one healthcare professional to another has been shown to improve patient health outcomes. Ensuring continuity improves overall health, decreases hospitalizations, and in general work out better for everyone concerned. Telehealth makes this process simpler, faster, and more accurate.

Rather than having to go over the entirety of a patient’s history with a new healthcare provider, telehealth can inform new doctors and nurses immediately, completely, and accurately on the health status and history of their patients. This is particularly true for those with chronic illnesses who live in rural areas where doctor and nurse turnover rates are highest.

Currently, chronic illnesses account for roughly 75% of all physician visits, 80% of all hospital admissions and 90% of all prescriptions. These numbers will only grow as 50% of all Americans are projected to suffer some form of chronic illness by 2025, ranging from COPD to HIV. These conditions are manageable in most cases, and continuity of care makes that process simpler while improving both life expectancy and quality.

Though telehealth is usually considered in terms of acute care, where its effectiveness is beyond dispute, it also has a role to play in long-term care for those with chronic illnesses. The continuity of care that telehealth initiatives make possible is a must in today’s world. Telehealth can improve the results of triage to determine if a new symptom is related to the underlying chronic illness or something entirely new as well as reduce costs of making that determination by as much as 30%. Further, greater support for the patient in monitoring their own health makes following a healthcare professional’s instructions much more likely.

Perhaps more importantly, in addition to supporting patients who already have chronic illnesses, telehealth continuity of care can help prevent their emergence in the first place. Putting together in one place all the information a patient’s various doctors have gives their primary healthcare professional a better way to gauge their overall health and see signs that might be missed. This has proven particularly true for older adults or those at risk for COPD and related illnesses. With the full view of a patient’s current health and medical history that telehealth makes possible, healthcare professionals can work with patients to take appropriate preventive actions before fully-fledged chronic illnesses are established.

At present, 45% of Americans, 133 million people, have some kind of chronic illness and that number is only expected to grow. Telehealth is a proven tool in both managing these illnesses and in helping to prevent them from developing in the first place. Adopting telehealth technologies now is the best tool to minimize negative patient health outcomes from chronic illnesses in the future.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telehealth Launching and Scaling Up]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telehealth-launching-and-scaling-up/ 2018-09-27T16:11:37Z 2018-06-04T13:51:02Z According to a study by the Health Management Academy, 100% of responding healthcare professionals either already are or at least intend to begin promoting telehealth services in 2018. Better, more than 70% will be receiving reimbursements for services provided via telehealth by the end of the year. That number is expected to approach 100% by […]

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According to a study by the Health Management Academy, 100% of responding healthcare professionals either already are or at least intend to begin promoting telehealth services in 2018. Better, more than 70% will be receiving reimbursements for services provided via telehealth by the end of the year. That number is expected to approach 100% by 2020. And yet there are two major holdups: How to get started with offering such services and then expanding the system once it is implemented. In short, launching and scaling up.

Few, if any, still doubt the usefulness of telehealth. It provides both ease of access for patients needing health and the continuity of care that allows doctors to help ensure the best possible patient health outcomes. Telehealth also helps lower costs by avoiding unnecessary emergency department visits and reducing unexpected readmissions, among so many other things. That is, there are no reasons not to do it.

So how do you get started? At the risk of a truism, you just do it. There are dozens of quality smart device apps already available that meet FCC HIPAA standards for privacy. Younger patients are already using them and older groups are also increasingly comfortable with technology. If you want the full telehealth carts for use in your office, there are programs available to help pay for it and the FCC has proposed an expansion to make this step easier and less expensive. So, if you choose one route or both, there are plenty of inexpensive options already available.

Scaling up will involve a bit more in-depth work to do it right. What do your current patients’ need? What are their likely future needs? These and other important considerations must be taken into account when deciding on how to expand your current telehealth offerings. Fortunately, there is already a standard of interoperability and cybersecurity from the FDA. This means that all telehealth services and devices must be able to speak to one another and share information quickly and accurately over secure connections.

A hypothetical: You have a group of patients with mostly the same needs. So, you have purchased one telehealth cart with that in mind. Now, an older local practitioner has retired and you have taken on many of their patients, who have very different needs from your original group. A second telehealth setup for them may be necessary. If so, the two machines will be able to share information back and forth, or with apps on patients’ smart devices, as if they were one device. In many cases, though, this will not be needed. With a software update and perhaps a few new peripherals, some with price tags as little as $10, your original machine can now work for everyone. And, if needed, a small clinic’s telehealth devices can connect to those run by specialists or at full hospitals should emergency or other acute services be needed. So, while scaling up is already comparatively easy, it may not even be necessary. But finding out for sure will require some mental legwork.

Regarding launching telehealth services, your patients are probably already started in that direction. For scaling up, the process is mostly simple, relatively inexpensive, and requires only a bit of research. The only people who stand to lose out are those healthcare professionals who do nothing.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telehealth Partnerships]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telehealth-partnerships/ 2018-09-27T16:12:00Z 2018-05-30T13:30:00Z Healthcare professionals may be asking themselves, “Who can I help through telehealth?” In some ways the field is limited only by your ingenuity, but a few markets are ready made. The three biggest are schools, employers, and correctional facilities. These groups also have the benefit of being able to see the same patients for years […]

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Healthcare professionals may be asking themselves, “Who can I help through telehealth?”

In some ways the field is limited only by your ingenuity, but a few markets are ready made. The three biggest are schools, employers, and correctional facilities. These groups also have the benefit of being able to see the same patients for years in a row. And, if a telehealth professional sets up an agreement with a statewide agency, you can work with the same system over a much larger area, which helps states rein in costs in an era of budget cutting.

So, all three groups benefit:

  • Healthcare professionals expand their reach.
  • Three distinct population groups get access to medical care they otherwise would lack.
  • States can save money.

For our examples, Texas is a solid benchmark state which already has the advantage of the second highest overall population in the country. Public school enrollment is approaching 5.5 million, or about 1 in 9 of the nation’s total. Access to pediatricians in person is a serious problem, so visiting a school nurse may be the only primary care the child sees, and they are already handling an unprecedented variety of new maladies in their students, so it makes sense to work with them to secure telehealth access for all those students. Telehealth has already been shown to work in this context for almost every situation. Of the three groups, school children represent the population most likely to be helped by telehealth. Further, the student’s records will follow them as they move up within the grades of a given district, or experience a lateral move to another, guaranteeing continuity of care even if the on-site nurse changes jobs. This is part of why looking at statewide agencies is so important.

Moving on to employers, almost all are required to include some sort of healthcare insurance as part of their benefits package to more than 11.5 million working age Texans. Such coverage typically applies to whole families, meaning that records could easily transfer from one healthcare professional to another if both school and employer have telehealth access. While such access obviously benefits the children, it also benefits the employer’s bottom line. This is why so many are already including telehealth options in their coverage. If you weigh the cost of adding telehealth coverage to an existing insurance policy against work lost and poor performance while at work due to illness, it more than balances out.

Prisoners comprise the third major group. There are the obvious logistical and security concerns of bringing a healthcare professional into the institutional setting and still others with taking a prisoner to the hospital. Many prisoners’ maladies stem from mental health problems, which may be a large part of the reason they are incarcerated. This group is also quite large. The Texas prison population is larger than the total population of the 30 smallest states. Here, integration of telehealth may be the simplest because the University of Texas Medical Branch, which oversees 80% of Texas prisoners, already uses telehealth. The health care network is already in place, you just have to join. And, as with the other two groups, telehealth lowers costs. Just in the area of telebehavioral health, each prison saves about $106,000 a year.

There are populations that need medical attention as much as any other. Some of them have special problems, like moving between schools or being incarcerated for years on end. Telehealth has already shown how their situation can improve and the infrastructure is often already in place.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Integrating Telehealth into Existing Practice]]> https://www.americanwell.com/integrating-telehealth-into-existing-practice/ 2018-09-27T16:12:26Z 2018-05-23T14:16:00Z It hardly needs be said that change can be scary. It can also appear to be expensive and difficult. Despite all that, almost half of all healthcare professionals intend to integrate telehealth into their practice by 2020. They are doing so for a number of reasons, including better relationships with their patients and improved patient […]

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It hardly needs be said that change can be scary. It can also appear to be expensive and difficult. Despite all that, almost half of all healthcare professionals intend to integrate telehealth into their practice by 2020.

They are doing so for a number of reasons, including better relationships with their patients and improved patient health outcomes. This works because app users are more engaged in their day to day health needs with interaction via their smart devices. From a user perspective, patients are already accessing a wide array of health apps, from workout evaluations to cardiac monitors. Most of the more than 10,000 apps are generic and not strictly speaking scientific in nature, but there are available apps that doctors endorse for their patients with specific conditions. These are the ones that matter.

In many respects, doctors and patients are already engaging with one another via telehealth: Emails, phone calls, online lab results, and so on. The beauty of choosing an app is that it centralizes all that contact in one location and guarantees a continuity of records. That is, instead of trying to integrate patient information from a dozen different platforms into a coherent whole, a good app can do it for healthcare professionals all at once. Further, in big practices, telehealth apps will make sure that different practitioners working with the same patient will all be fully informed on what everyone is doing. Thus, it fosters the team environment that has been proven so critical to positive patient health outcomes. It is also important to make sure a practice offering telehealth options understands the needs of their patients and how they interact with modern health technologies. That is, it is just as important to know what a given healthcare professional wants to make available via telehealth as it is to ensure patients know what their options are. Choosing the right telehealth provider is integral to success.

And, perhaps best of all for those wary of change, there is no need to jump in head first as the telehealth integration process begins. In fact, a methodical, planned out phase-in strategy is highly recommended. This helps both healthcare professionals and their patients as they acclimate to the new systems and openings for care. Once a given stage has proven successful and telehealth becomes normalized, it can easily expand via modular offerings.

Overall, change toward telehealth is a good thing for health professionals and patients alike. Concerns will be addressed in the early stages of implementation, and it is through the staged rollout that practitioners can find the best way to help their patients.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telehealth For Stroke]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telehealth-for-stroke/ 2018-09-27T16:12:49Z 2018-05-16T12:00:00Z Stroke is an increasing reality for more Americans today, young and old alike. Almost 800 thousand people suffer strokes in our country each year and 75% are first occurrences. Of the total, 140 thousand people will die as a result of the stroke or its attendant complications. While there are known risk factors, there are literally […]

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Stroke is an increasing reality for more Americans today, young and old alike. Almost 800 thousand people suffer strokes in our country each year and 75% are first occurrences. Of the total, 140 thousand people will die as a result of the stroke or its attendant complications. While there are known risk factors, there are literally no precursor signs that can tell when a stroke is about to occur. It can only be seen in the moment it occurs and sometimes even then neither the person suffering it nor those around them can tell.

Stroke, more formally called central nervous system infarction, results from loss of blood flow to the brain, whether from a blockage (ischemic) or from a blood vessel rupture (hemorrhagic). As can be easily imagined, time is a factor in treatment. With each moment wasted, the quality of life for the stroke survivor worsens and the likelihood of death from stroke increases. Ischemic diseases, which include stroke, are the leading casue of death worldwide and fourth in the US. Within the US, stroke mortality rates are highest in the rural South, where almost 80% of the population lives more than half an hour away from an emergency department with a neurologist available.

Through telehealth, once the process is started, a response can be had in as little as 3 minutes with a diagnostic accuracy as high as 96%. If triaged in an ambulance before reaching the emergency department, diagnosis and treatment can begin even sooner with the added benefit of cost savings of up to 70%. Part of that quick treatment is a “clot buster” drug known as tPA (tissue plasminogen activator). At present, only 3%-5% of stroke patients receive it because it is only effective if administered in the first 3 hours after stroke onset, and it is even more effective if done in the first hour. But this is impossible if an emergency department has neither an on-staff neurologist nor access to telehealth. Amid sweeping and continued cuts to rural health budgets, telehealth is quite possibly the only answer.

How do we know that telehealth works? Because in almost 75% of cases where telehealth was available for stroke patients, tPA was administered within its effective time window. Those patients who receive anti-clotting medications in the early minutes of their stroke showed a 250% better recovery at the 3-month mark than those who did not.

Even for the 80% of stroke patients who survive, behavioral, cognitive, and physical impairment can last for anywhere from weeks to a lifetime. With the quick administration of tPA that telehealth makes possible through its quick, accurate consultation services, those effects can be minimized or even eliminated. Meanwhile, it enables a massive drop in the estimated $1 billion per day the US expends in care for stroke victims and lost economic activity.

Whether taking a purely utilitarian view of dollars and cents, or a human view of moral sense, telehealth is the way to go in the future of stroke care.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Stroke -New ATA Guidelines]]> https://www.americanwell.com/stroke-new-ata-guidelines/ 2018-07-19T21:11:51Z 2018-05-09T12:00:00Z ATA’s New Guidelines for Treating Stroke Patients: What you need to know As the fifth most common cause of death and the leading cause of long-term adult disability in the world, strokes pose a widespread public health dilemma. And while many studies have proven the viability of using telehealth services to rapidly address patient needs, […]

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ATA’s New Guidelines for Treating Stroke Patients: What you need to know

As the fifth most common cause of death and the leading cause of long-term adult disability in the world, strokes pose a widespread public health dilemma. And while many studies have proven the viability of using telehealth services to rapidly address patient needs, providing cohesive care between facilities is a critical component that needs to be addressed.

A recent study by Kaiser Permanente said, “Particularly in hospitals with limited local resources and/or limited access to neurologic expertise, telestroke is an important tool to aid in the evaluation and treatment of potential stroke. We specifically found that unwarranted hospital variability in stroke care could be eliminated through a standardized telestroke program.”

As telehealth’s stroke treatment use continues to grow, Avizia remains committed to ensuring physicians and executives are informed regarding current industry standards. That is why we are sharing the Recent Stroke Guidelines from the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) regarding stroke treatment. Overall, this document aims to provide a standardized approach to assessment, diagnosis, management and consultative support to patients exhibiting symptoms and signs that are consistent with acute stroke syndrome.

The new ATA guidelines also address the roles and responsibilities of the responding telehealth team and provide hospital executives with recommendations for seamlessly incorporating telestroke services into their model of care. Furthermore, the guide paper states agreed-upon roles for coordinating telehealth are important for support and buy-in of key stakeholders, like the hub/distant site physician director, the program manager, the emergency department stroke champion and other roles.

Beyond the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information for Economics and Critical Health Act (HITECH), ATA’s guidelines encourage facilities to address privacy and security needs for each of its patients. It also states the importance of providing this information to acute stroke patient families and educating patients about the role of telestroke platforms, including any translation services they may need.

The guidelines encourage facilities to also create an ongoing telemedicine budget, so they may stay on top of hardware and software upgrades and address payer reimbursements, grants, private contributions and other fiscal items as they arise.

Perhaps most importantly, telehealth providers also need to have a concrete process to monitor quality and outcome metrics. In addition to ongoing patient care, the document discusses protocols for research and clinical trials. The guidelines recommend research activities should compare telemedicine with in-person evaluations and should conform to local institutional review board approval practices.

As for telehealth devices themselves, the guidelines say facilities must provide real-time, two-way communications, optimized for bandwidth and monitored for general mobile device management – this includes oversight of apps, data configuration, and security. Devices must also have a passcode, biometric identification or other login protocols and should be configured for point-to-point and, ideally, multiparty connectivity. Organizations looking to use telestroke should consider creating data policy and procedures regarding storage, restrictions and how those are communicated to the referring or consulting site.

As telehealth evolves into a more mature healthcare solution, the industry needs a set of guidelines like the ones created by ATA to ensure cohesive care between facilities. We at Avizia are encouraged by these updated standards and the bright future they detail for the future of virtual care.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Why telemedicine is a great option for Medicaid recipients]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7678 2018-03-05T16:45:33Z 2018-03-05T16:45:33Z We've found that the barrier to introducing telemedicine through Medicaid has not been technology, but has been reimbursement. Or, rather, the confusion around reimbursement.

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Think convenient health care is only for the wealthy? Think again.

Medicaid recipients often have significant barriers to care

Throughout my residency, I worked in a primary care clinic that was in one of the poorest areas of Boston. Fully two-thirds of our patients were on Medicaid, and many came from families that had unstable work, transportation, housing, and access to food. It was not uncommon for many of our appointments during the day to be “no-shows,” which we defined as the patient showing up more than an hour late, only to have distraught families appear at the end of the day, apologizing for late buses, unforgiving managers at work, and other life circumstances largely out of their control, but still a staple of day-to-day life.

Many of these appointments were scheduled to follow up from previous and ongoing care. We had learned that keeping a close tab on the children in our clinic meant that they were less likely to fall through the cracks with lapsed medication, end up in the emergency room for what could be routine care, or end up admitted to the hospital for what otherwise would have been preventable illnesses. If we had a child newly diagnosed with asthma, for example, we would have him come back into the clinic a few weeks in a row, to make sure that his parents had picked up the correct medication, that he was using it correctly, and that the dose of the medication was correct to keep the asthma symptoms in check. Sometimes parents didn’t have enough money to pay for both an inhaler that keeps kids from having an asthma attack as well as an inhaler that helps rescue a child from an asthma attack, although both are necessary for good care.

Traditional means of accessing health care is often time and resource intensive

Each of these visits was a significant burden on the family. The parent would often have to miss work (usually meaning those hours went unpaid) and the child would also have to miss school. Many families took more than one bus to get to the clinic, making a 15-minute appointment a several hour-long venture. The hours we had available were always during the day and during the week, so the option of trying to schedule around a day job was essentially impossible. In short, we were trying to do our best by our patients, but in the process, were causing major disruptions to their health and well-being. In the end, I truly believe that on balance we were helping more than hurting, but I always wondered if there were some way that we could have brought them the same level of care and attention, without the negative side effects of having them bend their lives around a health care system centered on the provider.

Advances in telemedicine can make accessing appropriate health care easier

Fast-forward a few years, and I find myself on the front-line of health care innovation. At American Well, we use the technology that most people are used to having in many areas of their lives (talking to others through video, scheduling appointments online, being able to conveniently log into a mobile app), to connect health care providers and patients quickly and easily, without requiring patients to re-wire their day for a trip into the office. I recently heard someone say, “Patients have a workflow too. It’s called Life.” That comment really resonated with me, from not only my own life and the expectations I have, but also for my many former patients who were trying to do the right thing, but just couldn’t get their life aligned with my workflow.

 

“Patients have a workflow too. It’s called Life.”

 

With telemedicine, we work consistently to make the most appropriate care also the most accessible care for all patients. For Medicaid recipients who use our technology, that often means that we treat people at home who otherwise would have gone to the emergency room, because historically the emergency room has been the easiest way to get care. Very few people actually want to spend hours waiting at an emergency room, but previously there wasn’t a great alternative for someone who may need care unpredictably and at any hour. But when some partners of American Well let their populations receiving Medicaid know that they can now access urgent care from home, they found that patients were more than happy to use a service that kept them out of the ED. It was a win for everyone!

Technology is not the limiting factor

When I talk about using telemedicine for patients who receive Medicaid, one of the first questions is always around access to technology. Do people with lower incomes actually have the type of phone or computer that could allow them to see a physician online? The answer is “Absolutely, yes.” The Pew Research Center actually tracks statistics like these, and they found that in 2017, 67% of people with incomes of $30k or less have a smartphone. In fact, in 2016, 21% of those who earn $30k or less are smartphone dependent, meaning that they have a smartphone but not broadband internet at home.

Anecdotally, we’ve had partner health systems tell us that their Medicaid populations are actually the most savvy about finding free sources of wifi, and often know how to make video calls through this free wifi alone, saving them any data usage or call minute fees. Generally, we’ve found that the barrier to introducing telemedicine through Medicaid has not been technology, but has been reimbursement. Or, rather, the confusion around reimbursement.

 

“Generally, we’ve found that the barrier to introducing telemedicine through Medicaid has not been technology, but has been reimbursement.”

 

Reimbursement through Medicaid is varied, but favorable

Unlike Medicare (which is for people over the age of 65), a federally administered program, Medicaid is administered by states. This design means that every state has slightly different rules for what they allow Medicaid to cover. Not only that, but states are regularly updating what they will and will not cover. So if you don’t like your state’s Medicaid reimbursement for telemedicine, just wait 5 minutes, it will likely change.

The good news is that as of the time of writing this post, almost all states have favorable reimbursement policies for telemedicine, with 48 states reimbursing for live video. Many even pay the same for visits that happen through live video as ones that happen in person (parity). Since changes to reimbursement are happening all the time, it’s best to go to a site such at the Center for Connected Health Policy to find out what’s happening in your state.

How to start using telemedicine for Medicaid recipients

Telemedicine is medicine, just using technology to make it easier and more convenient. This principle holds just as true for populations receiving Medicaid, as for any other population.

So, if you’re wondering how to introduce telemedicine and whether or not it’s covered under your state’s Medicaid program, go to the Center for Connected Health Policy website to look up reimbursement regulations, and then set up any programs that would benefit patients if their care were delivered where they needed it most. From urgent care to chronic disease management, health care is only effective if it reaches the patient. My patients already had enough standing in the way of reaching me, I’m happy to be tearing down at least some of those barriers.

Sylvia Romm, MD, MPH, is a pediatrician and VP of Medical Affairs at American Well. She lives with her family in New York City.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Bipartisan Budget Deal Expands Funding for Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/bipartisan-budget-deal-expands-funding-for-telehealth/ 2018-02-12T19:42:00Z 2018-02-12T19:42:00Z The end of last week turned out to be a bit of a rollercoaster as the US Congress attempted to pass their 2018 budget plan, thereby avoiding yet another government shutdown. In the very late hours of Thursday night, things were looking rather bleak as a government shutdown activated for the second time in less […]

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The end of last week turned out to be a bit of a rollercoaster as the US Congress attempted to pass their 2018 budget plan, thereby avoiding yet another government shutdown. In the very late hours of Thursday night, things were looking rather bleak as a government shutdown activated for the second time in less than a month. Luckily, the shutdown did not last long (only about five hours, in fact). The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892) had already been passed in the House of Representatives with a vote of 240 in favor and 186 opposed. While certainly not an overwhelming majority, it was enough to get the bill moved on to the Senate, which is where it hit a snag as a number of both Democrat and Republican Senators refused to support it. Lawmakers worked through the night, however, and by the very early hours of Friday morning, they managed to pull it all together. The US Senate managed to approve the bill by a close vote, cutting the shutdown short in time to minimize any negative effects. Shortly thereafter, President Trump signed the budget into law.

Politics aside, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892) includes four significant provisions that will greatly improve the delivery and expansion of telehealth services in the United States:

50302 – Expanding Access to Home Dialysis Therapy

  • This provision allows Medicare beneficiaries an option by which they may elect to receive in-home dialysis monthly as well as ESRD-related clinical assessments via telehealth services.

50323 – Increasing Convenience for Medicare Advantage Enrollees through Telehealth

  • This provision states that, beginning in plan year 2020, a new medial assistant plan may be able to provide additional telehealth benefits to Medicare enrollees.

50324 – Providing Accountable Care Organizations the Ability to Expand the Use of Telehealth

  • Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) will now be able to waive restrictions on the use of telehealth from 1834(m) of the Social Security Act, which placed limits on how and under what conditions telehealth services could be used by beneficiaries.

50325 – Expanding the Use of Telehealth for Individuals with Stroke

  • Further expanding the use of Telestroke services, this provision waives 1834(m) restrictions on the treatment of stroke through telehealth services.

While many may be feeling frustrated with our current political climate, it is at least somewhat heartening to know that the use of modern telehealth technology continues to improve and expand, allowing providers and physicians to speed care when it is needed most. For stroke victims, expedited treatment means better odds at survival and improved chances for high quality of life after.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Risk Assessment for Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/risk-assessment-for-telehealth/ 2018-09-27T16:13:14Z 2018-01-25T14:00:00Z When dealing with any networked system, risk is an inherent part of the situation. This is true even for the big boys and girls at the NSA. However, there are tried and proven methods to minimize risk before a breach happens and to curtail damage once it does. Any plan and response to the risks […]

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When dealing with any networked system, risk is an inherent part of the situation. This is true even for the big boys and girls at the NSA. However, there are tried and proven methods to minimize risk before a breach happens and to curtail damage once it does. Any plan and response to the risks of online hazards starts with a risk assessment. Like this one, later stages differ in details for each individual case, but all include making a plan, implementing it, and mitigating the effects of a breach. These will be considered in later posts, but in this article we will be focusing on the initial risk assessment stage. The thing to remember for the moment is that the risks for telehealth are identical to those found in other areas and thus the responses are the same as well.

Risk assessments come in two varieties: Quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative risk looks at the magnitude of potential losses and the probability that a given type of breach will occur. Qualitative risks look at the same basic types of information, but tend to be more subjective and are used when it is difficult to assign specific values in making the assessment. Virtually all areas of modern industry and commerce perform these types of assessments, but especially those depending in part on government funding. Part of the qualitative process is deciding what types and levels of risks are acceptable and which are not. This may depend in part on the social perception of risk. That is, even if a breach is minor or irrelevant, people knowing about it can be disastrous. So making it known in advance that a risk assessment has been done and a plan put in place to prevent intrusions and respond to them is an important part of this stage and the early parts of formulating the plan itself.

An assessment must also recognize that relative levels of different existing risks change over time and new ones will crop up. This means that periodic review of risk must be conducted. Depending on your circumstances, this may be as often as quarterly but should be done at least once per year. They should also be done whenever there are new networked equipment additions or a major change in procedures. No assessment or plan derived from it is going to be perfect. But being thorough, honest, and timely will keep the potential for danger to a minimum.

If your organization is considering doing a risk assessment, do it. There are plenty of firms out there qualified to help with that, including telehealth providers. In fact, most of them have already done assessments with regard to their equipment and will provide copies when asked. However, the risk assessment is just the first step in preventing, responding to, and minimizing the losses from risk.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[School-based Telehealth  Improves Health Outcomes]]> https://www.americanwell.com/school-based-telehealth-improves-health-outcomes/ 2018-09-27T16:13:37Z 2018-01-16T14:00:00Z It’s no secret consumers are embracing technology in nearly every aspect of their lives—even healthcare. As it turns out, according to a new study by the University of Rochester not only is telehealth access improving child health both in schools and at home, children are responding positively to it in all manner of settings. One […]

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It’s no secret consumers are embracing technology in nearly every aspect of their lives—even healthcare. As it turns out, according to a new study by the University of Rochester not only is telehealth access improving child health both in schools and at home, children are responding positively to it in all manner of settings.

One of the most common childhood health concerns is asthma, with roughly 1-in-10 children experiencing it at some point in their lives.

The wheezing, the struggle for breath, the confusion, they’re all distressing for child and parent alike. But before treatment can begin, which can successfully handle almost all symptoms via preventative medicine in combination with immediate measures, there must be a diagnosis. Minority children and those in other underserved communities largely are not receiving treatment, though this is true to some extent for all groups. This inevitably leads to preventable visits to emergency departments.

The study by the University of Rochester has shown that, through a blend of in-person care from school nurses and telehealth access at home, have better health results. The important factor is whether the child takes their medicine with supervision from a trained healthcare professional. At schools, this is done in the presence of a nurse who can ensure inhalers and other medications are properly administered. At home, though, even with help from a parent or guardian, delivery may be less than best. Telehealth access at home bridges that gap. Over the course of the study, emergency department visits for asthma-related health concerns were reduced by more than half and generally had more symptom-free days. Better, the most common participant in the home aspect of the study were school nurses or the child’s existing primary care provider. This means that established relationships, which are important in fostering trust and medicine regimen compliance, are strengthened.

To be direct, with the simple addition of telehealth to existing school nursing practice, kids with asthma were healthier, in school more often, and experienced fewer problems.

More and more hospitals and clinics are already using telehealth in pediatric care, for asthma and everything else, to the point that it is becoming the new normal. Almost two-thirds of parents surveyed indicated not just that they are willing to use telehealth but actually eager to do so. Better, multiple states have already awarded massive grants for pediatric telehealth, especially in “healthcare deserts.” So, in addition to working, pediatric telehealth is increasingly affordable.

Parents, healthcare professionals, and school leaders alike need to be paying attention to telehealth. It’s not the wave of the future. It’s now.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Building Strategic Telehealth Partnerships: Community Health Clinics ]]> https://www.americanwell.com/building-strategic-telehealth-partnerships-community-health-clinics/ 2018-09-27T16:14:02Z 2018-01-09T14:00:00Z Today, many community clinics lack the resources necessary to secure their records online. As a result, these clinics often choose to continue maintaining paper records. However, this can be problematic in a number of ways, from the required space to security issues. In fact, not knowing how to properly use a computer has cost at […]

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Today, many community clinics lack the resources necessary to secure their records online. As a result, these clinics often choose to continue maintaining paper records. However, this can be problematic in a number of ways, from the required space to security issues. In fact, not knowing how to properly use a computer has cost at least one doctor her license to practice. As more and more state and federal funding programs include electronic filing and reporting requirements, the healthcare professionals that arguably have the most contact with the communities they serve may be left behind and put out of business if things stay as they are now.

Community health centers and the programs they offer are often the most frequent healthcare professional contact people have, in part because a majority of patients are below the poverty line. Supporting these centers has the backing of virtually all elements of the American political and social spectrum, left and right alike. Why? The details differ based on whom you ask, but they all boil down to one thing: Because they work.

These establishments benefit not just the communities they serve, but the greater good as well by spotting potential epidemics before they happen. For obvious reasons, this is far less expensive in the long run. It is not, however, so inexpensive that switching to electronic recordkeeping is an obvious choice when prioritizing care, despite the fact that such measures have been shown to improve patient health outcomes. As time goes on, though, the requirements to do so will become stricter. This is why action needs to be taken now in order to keep these centers open so they can continue to help the largest number of people possible with their healthcare needs. Supporting these centers is as much common sense as a policy question as it is a good neighbor question.

There is good news on the horizon, though. With the boost in their finances provided by wider access to health insurance via the Affordable Care Act, such centers are improving their financial position while emphasizing care for those who need it most. Collaborating with all the stakeholders in a community, as is the case in supporting community health centers, is part of belonging to the social body. It is precisely this mindset of social responsibility that informs the actions taken by healthcare professionals at these centers in the first place. So, with just a little help, these centers can break through the few remaining barriers to adopting telehealth capacities for their patients. Everyone benefits.

Community health clinics are the bulwark of the modern medical system. They are the centerpieces in our fight against diseases. And they are mostly succeeding. But they need a little help. Working with them to improve their telehealth access both improves patient outcomes and means continued access to state and federal funding programs. If you want to have a positive effect on the nation’s health, helping these folks is the best way to start.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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kelly.miller <![CDATA[Avera eCARE connects diabetic student to registered nurse within seconds]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7520 2018-01-08T21:04:19Z 2018-01-05T21:20:05Z As the number of children in the United States with significant health challenges rises, so does the need to provide experienced nursing care within schools. Avera eCARE School Health partners with K-12 school districts to provide registered nurse coverage for the entire school day – ensuring immediate response to the health care needs of every […]

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As the number of children in the United States with significant health challenges rises, so does the need to provide experienced nursing care within schools.

Avera eCARE School Health partners with K-12 school districts to provide registered nurse coverage for the entire school day – ensuring immediate response to the health care needs of every student.

Within seconds, 8-year-old Aiden Knutson is connected to an Avera eCare nurse – Aiden at school in Toronto, the nurse in Sioux Falls.

“That’s part of why we’re here buddy, is we want to help you learn how to manage your diabetes so that you can do all of this stuff on your own someday,” said an Avera eCare nurse.

Like most rural school districts, there isn’t an onsite nurse at Deubrook Elementary in the small town of Toronto. So when Aiden was diagnosed with diabetes in June of 2017, his grandmother Carie Knuston worried about Aiden going back to school.

“I was like, are they going to be able to handle this and is it going to disrupt his class time and his activity level with the other kids,” said Knuston.

Deubrook Elementary principal Mitch Reid knew a higher level of care was imperative for Aiden. He says Avera eCARE made the most sense.

“It definitely gives us that sense of relief. With something that’s so serious as diabetes, having someone trained is huge for us and huge for him. And now he’s not always focused on what he needs and what he’s getting. He’ll let the nurse take care of that and he can focus on his education,” said Reid.

The Avera eCARE nurse provides great comfort for Aiden’s grandma.

“Having that eCARE service and knowing that somebody is available at any point in time, because right now we’re still in the state of learning ourselves. His blood sugar goes up and down. So having them available to answer questions or make suggestions or say you need to call the doctor because of this or that has been really nice,” said Knuston.

“For districts out there that are looking for that person, that expert for medical reasons, it really takes a lot of pressure off us,” said Reid.

“They help me get my shot and they tell me how much I need sometimes,” said Aiden.

“That was my main concern, one of the concerns too, is he not going to be able to do anything when he has diabetes and it’s just the opposite. You do everything you can to possibly make it available so that he can still be a kid,” said Knuston.

Not only does Deubrook Elementary utilize the Avera eCARE nurse for Aiden, but they also use it for everything from bumps and bruises to fevers.

View the original article and video from KSFY here. 

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telehealth Needs Net Neutrality]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telehealth-needs-net-neutrality/ 2018-09-27T16:14:23Z 2018-01-03T14:00:00Z You may have heard a bit about the recent FCC repeal of net neutrality. This was done on a purely partisan basis led by Chairman Ajit Pai, who is perhaps not the most public relations-minded chair the commission has ever had. Pai’s case is not helped by the fact he knew his arguments in favor […]

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You may have heard a bit about the recent FCC repeal of net neutrality. This was done on a purely partisan basis led by Chairman Ajit Pai, who is perhaps not the most public relations-minded chair the commission has ever had. Pai’s case is not helped by the fact he knew his arguments in favor of repeal were not entirely true. You may have heard a good many doomsayers with their predictions about what would happen. They are correct except that it will be done in bits and pieces rather than overnight. How do we know this? Internet service providers (ISPs) have tried it before. So, this blog is intended to be a real look at what neutrality is, how the repeal works, and why the change is bad for everyone involved with telehealth.

Net neutrality has been an underlying assumption of how online traffic would flow from its very inception as a civilian infrastructure resource. How do we know this? Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the grandfather of the internet, told us so. The idea is that an ISP has to carry traffic, called packets, regardless of the source, destination, or content. Without neutrality, they can “read” the information sent and slow it down or prevent delivery entirely. We know this because they have all done so at least once in the past.

Before the implementation of neutrality laws in 2015, there was a legal gray area and several firms tried breaching neutrality. Their efforts were quickly shut down. The reasons these companies cited were because they wanted to sell special streaming packages for video, the content was political in nature, and they wanted to quash innovative competition. In Canada, a similar effort had a telecommunications company blocking the site of a union then in a dispute with it. So, net neutrality repeal is great if you have no qualms about your ISP telling you what you can read or view and how quickly. But if you want access to a wide array of news on science, politics, arts, and other things that might be seen as contrary to your ISP’s interest, and especially their political connections, the repeal should have your hackles raised.

For telehealth specifically, the major concern is the ability to stream large amounts of real-time information from one user to another. In healthcare, especially emergencies, seconds matter. Repeal is almost certain to make telehealth use much more expensive for everyone. Mike Baird, Avizia CEO, has said, “For example, if internet service providers begin to prioritize certain types of traffic or demand higher fees for priority routing of things like a video consultation – this will add costs to the delivery of telemedicine – particularly hospitals in rural areas. Ultimately these costs get passed on to patients and will hamper the adoption of technologies like telehealth.” This is optimistic. ISPs have done exactly that before 2015 and did it again this year in anticipation of repeal. Repeal will raise costs to telehealth users, meaning fewer people have access to healthcare, meaning more people will die who could have been saved. This is just one of many Trump Administration changes that guarantee more people who are not among the ultra-wealthy like he is will die for no other reason than because they are poor by his standards.

But there is still hope. Congress has the power to tell the FCC to reinstate neutrality. ISPs have made contributions to 265 sitting members in both Houses of Congress and the FCC ignored the 83% of Americans who opposed repeal. Contact your Representatives and Senators and tell them to reinstate net neutrality.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Beyond Marketing Awareness: Telehealth and Your Patients]]> https://www.americanwell.com/beyond-marketing-awareness-telehealth-and-your-patients/ 2018-09-27T16:14:44Z 2017-12-28T14:00:00Z Many of your patients already use telehealth in some sense even if they may not know the word for it. 80% of all Americans use online resources to look up health information and “cyberchondria” is already a concern among mental healthcare professionals. What you, as a healthcare professional, have to do is find the healthy […]

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Many of your patients already use telehealth in some sense even if they may not know the word for it. 80% of all Americans use online resources to look up health information and “cyberchondria” is already a concern among mental healthcare professionals. What you, as a healthcare professional, have to do is find the healthy middle ground that lets you reach your patients, and interested parties generally, while ensuring that the information you provide is correct and likely to bring in people who genuinely need your help.

As with almost everything else online, this starts with Google. More than 75% of people who go online for health information start there or another of the big search engine sites. This means working out search engine optimization (SEO) strategies for what you do. There are plenty of websites out there that offer advice on how to do this on your own, but frankly the smart money is on hiring a professional. SEO techniques can be tricky and counterintuitive and may be outside your experience. So, hire a pro and get back to being an awesome doctor or nurse. Many telehealth providers will already have them on.

In person communication with your patients is a different story. You will always be your own best salesperson and face-to-face communication is still the strongest way to convey not just the information itself but also its importance. Among older patients, this remains a central point. They want to talk to someone. That said, today’s retirees watched Neil Armstrong land on the moon so they know the power of technology and are adopting it in droves.

Younger patients are already online for health and everything else. There is even some evidence that they may prefer mediated communication over face-to-face interaction. But they still have to talk to a person. A good bit of work has already been done in wearable and other smart devices that can track the health of a patient, or alert a healthcare professional if an emergency crops up. But it is unlikely artificial intelligence will replace humanity in this field in the foreseeable future. So, young, old, or in between, you will still have to talk to your patients.

Whatever the audience or the medium, talking to your patients openly and honestly is still your best bet.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[2018 Top Trend: Telehealth Launch and Expansion]]> https://www.americanwell.com/2018-top-trend-telehealth-launch-and-expansion/ 2018-09-27T16:15:08Z 2017-12-19T14:00:00Z According to a study by the Health Management Academy, 100% of responding healthcare professionals either already are or at least intend to begin promoting telehealth services in 2018. Better, more than 70% will be receiving reimbursements for services provided via telehealth by the end of the year. That number is expected to approach 100% by […]

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According to a study by the Health Management Academy, 100% of responding healthcare professionals either already are or at least intend to begin promoting telehealth services in 2018. Better, more than 70% will be receiving reimbursements for services provided via telehealth by the end of the year. That number is expected to approach 100% by 2020. And yet there are two major holdups: How to get started with offering such services and then expanding the system once it is implemented. In short, launching and scaling up.

Few, if any, still doubt the usefulness of telehealth. It provides both ease of access for patients needing health and the continuity of care that allows doctors to help ensure the best possible patient health outcomes. Telehealth also helps lower costs by avoiding unnecessary emergency department visits and reducing unexpected readmissions, among so many other things. That is, there are no reasons not to do it.

Getting Started with Telehealth

So how do you get started? At the risk of a truism, you just do it. There are dozens of quality smart device apps already available that meet FCC HIPAA standards for privacy. Younger patients are already using them and older groups are also increasingly comfortable with technology. If you want the full telehealth carts for use in your office, there are programs available to help pay for it and the FCC has proposed an expansion to make this step easier and less expensive. So, if you choose one route or both, there are plenty of inexpensive options already available.

Expanding Your Telehealth Program

Scaling up will involve a bit more in-depth work to do it right. What do your current patients’ need? What are their likely future needs? These and other important considerations must be taken into account when deciding on how to expand your current telehealth offerings. Fortunately, there is already a standard of interoperability and cybersecurity from the FDA. This means that all telehealth services and devices must be able to speak to one another and share information quickly and accurately over secure connections.

A hypothetical: You have a group of patients with mostly the same needs. So, you have purchased one telehealth cart with that in mind. Now, an older local practitioner has retired and you have taken on many of their patients, who have very different needs from your original group. A second telehealth setup for them may be necessary. If so, the two machines will be able to share information back and forth, or with apps on patients’ smart devices, as if they were one device. In many cases, though, this will not be needed. With a software update and perhaps a few new peripherals, some with price tags as little as $10, your original machine can now work for everyone. And, if needed, a small clinic’s telehealth devices can connect to those run by specialists or at full hospitals should emergency or other acute services be needed. So, while scaling up is already comparatively easy, it may not even be necessary. But finding out for sure will require some mental legwork.

Regarding launching telehealth services, your patients are probably already started in that direction. For scaling up, the process is mostly simple, relatively inexpensive, and requires only a bit of research. The only people who stand to lose out are those healthcare professionals who do nothing.

What large U.S. health systems said about 5 top health IT trends

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[How top health systems deliver high-quality care through telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7492 2017-12-11T15:01:19Z 2017-12-11T14:35:12Z Physicians from top health systems discuss how they are ensuring quality standards are met and upheld during video visits.

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This November at the Becker’s Hospital Review 6th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable in Chicago, physicians from top health systems came together to discuss how they are ensuring quality standards are met and upheld during video visits. The discussion, which was moderated by Sylvia Romm, MD, medical director at American Well, included the following panelists:

  • Bruce Rosenthal, MD, Medical Director, Consumer Telehealth Services, UPMC
  • Shayan Vyas, MD, Medical Director, Nemours
  • Peter Rasmussen, MD, Medical Director, Distance Health, Cleveland Clinic
  • Will Daines, MD, Medical Director, Intermountain Connect Care

Below is a breakdown of the five biggest takeaways for this clinical meeting of the minds:

1. Leadership buy-in is critical to your telehealth program’s success

“I can’t emphasize how important CEO leadership around telemedicine is,” says Dr. Peter Rasmussen, medical director of distance health at the Cleveland Clinic, who noted that Cleveland Clinic’s CEO Toby Cosgrove got involved in telehealth at the health system and moved things forward. Today, Cleveland Clinic offers more than 55 different telehealth clinical services, including psychiatry, oncology, and home health.

But it’s not just CEO buy-in that’s important; all leadership should be engaged in the program. “You can’t view telehealth as a separate vertical,” says Dr. Rasmussen. “We can’t operate without the support of legal, finance, IT, marketing and the communications team.”

2. Build a telehealth program on what already exists

“We know it’s a process for physicians to move from skepticism to acceptance,” says Dr. Will Daines, medical director of Intermountain Care Connect at Intermountain Healthcare. “But we know we can move that forward if we mimic similar care.”

Rooting telehealth into your already existing medical best practices is the easiest way to build a successful program. “Telehealth is going to face scrutiny because of its novelty,” says Daines. “Start with the clinical basics and expand further into telehealth as its appropriate.”

Each of Intermountain’s clinical programs–oncology, behavioral health, primary care—have identified and written best practices around particular clinical issues. Dr. Daines and his team used these existing best practices and adapted them for telehealth, mirroring in-person care as much as possible.

Admittedly, says Dr. Daines, some care process models adapt better than others for telehealth. “An easy adaption was sinusitis, whereas our care process model for ear pain was not as readily adaptable. We can’t visualize the membrane, and therefore did not feel comfortable diagnosing that over video.”

For conditions that do not lend themselves well to treatment via video, Intermountain instead uses telehealth for triage—is the patient sick enough that they should go to the ER tonight, or can they wait and go to primary care in the morning?

Nemours, a children’s health system spread throughout six states, deploys a similar strategy for pediatric conditions they consider untreatable via telehealth. “We won’t diagnose strep or ear pain because we can’t test those conditions via telehealth,” says Dr. Shayan Vyas, medical director at Nemours. “But what we can do is prevent unnecessary ER visits.

3. Invest in support services

The telehealth end-user and provider experience are designed to be easy and intuitive. Yet, to accomplish this ease-of-use interface a lot must happen on the back end. Having support services that are dedicated to telehealth will make the overall program run more efficiently.

“For an organization that’s serious about telehealth, you don’t just need strategic leadership, you need support services,” says Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, medical director of consumer telehealth services at UPMC.

These services should include both provider and patient support. “If something goes wrong, we can’t expect a provider to fix it,” says Dr. Rosenthal. “And if a patient can’t figure out how to download an app, they need a support service to call.” Investing in this aspect of telehealth is important to the usability of the technology, and ultimately its overall success.

4. Set up checkpoints to demonstrate the value of telehealth to different stakeholders  

As a health system initiating a telehealth service, you may experience hesitation from different departments and stakeholders at first. For example, physicians may worry that telehealth will provide inferior care or steal their patients. A chief financial officer may be concerned that a physician seeing a patient via video translates into a loss in revenue for the emergency department. So it is important to set up  checkpoints that tackle these concerns and measure success in a way that is  important to each stakeholder.

“For providers, we demonstrate what constitutes a high standard of care and how we are meeting that,” says Dr. Daines. “For example, we show them telehealth antibiotic prescribing rates for appropriate and inappropriate conditions, and measure how many patients ended up in the ER or urgent care office after having a telehealth visit.” These checkpoints can be put in place for all use cases, and measure specific data that would be relevant to that stakeholder, whether they be clinical, technical or financial.

5. Be ready to think entirely differently about care delivery

There is a lot of discussion around practicing telehealth and meeting the same high standards of care. “I think we need to get away from this inferiority complex,” says Dr. Rosenthal. “If we are breaking away from brick and mortar, we have to do things differently.”

Telehealth is about reaching people with barriers to access, and according to Dr. Rosenthal, that requires a new way of thinking. “Maybe we can use the Centor criteria [for strep throat] with a patient who, based on characteristics, has a 60-70% chance of strep. Maybe in that case it makes sense to prescribe. Or why don’t we have drug stores do strep tests? We need to think of new strategies to help us put telehealth in place.”

Dr. Rasmussen agrees. “We need to be thinking entirely differently in telehealth.” For multiple sclerosis patients who travel long distances for care, Cleveland Clinic holds pre-visits via telehealth to go through paperwork and imaging to help determine if an in-person visit would be meaningful and help treat that patient. “If the answer is yes, then they already have the imaging pre-scheduled and set up for that visit.”

This group of physicians is responsible for revolutionizing care within their respective health systems, but also within the healthcare industry. The more health systems adopt telehealth, the more we need physician champions who are not only committed to building a high-quality telehealth service, but who are willing to challenge the industry norm and pave the way for more innovative care delivery. “Technology is growing,” says Dr. Vyas. “If you’re not developing a strategy for telehealth now, then you’re going to be left behind.”

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[The Importance of Webside Manner]]> https://www.americanwell.com/the-importance-of-webside-manner/ 2018-09-27T16:15:27Z 2017-12-11T14:00:00Z Sometimes we ignore new words because they seem silly or unimportant mixes or modifications of existing words. But webside manner is not one of those cases. In its way, it is just as important as bedside manner in securing open, honest communication between patient and healthcare professional, and thus in securing a positive patient health […]

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Sometimes we ignore new words because they seem silly or unimportant mixes or modifications of existing words. But webside manner is not one of those cases. In its way, it is just as important as bedside manner in securing open, honest communication between patient and healthcare professional, and thus in securing a positive patient health outcome, both in terms of the objective health of the patient and their perceptions of the care they receive.

Whatever the medium used, provider-patient communication is a critical factor. This is even truer today in telehealth settings where people are still getting accustomed to a new way of speaking to and interacting with their healthcare professionals. Patient satisfaction surveys since 1990 all indicate that the effectiveness of communication is a critical component to how a patient views their care, no matter the result in purely physical terms. These surveys are frequently cited in efforts to improve care, whether at a small clinic or the largest hospital. Incorporating their findings regarding telehealth communications is a necessity as offerings and opportunities to use it expand. Thus, webside manner matters.

The basics of how to have a positive webside manner are similar to the best practices for bedside manner. The critical difference is in making sure to understand non-verbal communication as expressed via video links. This takes practice, as with any skill, but it can be mastered with effort. A major point in this type of interaction is that with telehealth, there may not be anything analogous to the “doorknob moment” where a patient makes a comment or asks a question just as the provider is leaving the room. Closing a telehealth connection, without preparation by the healthcare professional, has the same finality of hanging up a phone or turning off a television. But it does not have to be that way.

There are known, tested, and successful strategies for getting this sort of last minute question or comment from a patient before ending a telehealth consultation. With so many years of telehealth in the field, a consensus has even been reached on how best to do it. If done well, these techniques can even improve the rate of “doorknob moments” among patients who would otherwise let their health practitioners just walk out the door or close the connection, saying nothing at all. With the quasi-return to the house call that telehealth makes possible, people have been shown to be more communicative and generally willing to talk to their healthcare providers as fellow human beings invited into their homes rather than as strangers in an unaccustomed setting.

The long and the short of it is that what patients think about their healthcare matters. Being able to talk to patients in an open, honest manner is an absolute necessity, no matter if the consultation is face-to-face or online. Paying attention to webside manner with as much diligence as bedside manner is the key to it. Telehealth provides the tools. You have to make it work.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Christine Minott <![CDATA[Telehealth on Amwell: The Patient‘s Perspective]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7478 2017-12-06T21:27:25Z 2017-12-06T19:17:45Z As you get up and running with your telehealth practice, you may be wondering: what exactly do my patients see? Download Amwell, set up your own patient account and explore. But until then, here are some answers to common questions we get from doctors about the patient experience: 1. Who are the patients on Amwell? […]

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As you get up and running with your telehealth practice, you may be wondering: what exactly do my patients see? Download Amwell, set up your own patient account and explore. But until then, here are some answers to common questions we get from doctors about the patient experience:

1. Who are the patients on Amwell?

Amwell is open to the public, so patients all over download the app and see available providers. You may also see patients of our corporate customers, employers and health plans, who offer Amwell as a service to their employees and members.

2. How will patients find me?

Patients see the list of doctors available for consults based on the patient’s current location and licensure of the providers. Patients can filter providers by specialty, and also search by practice name. They see your practice name, welcome message, and availability on your profile page.

3. Do patients see my price and consult length?

Patients will see the visit price you have set for cash-pay as the “visit cost” and they can schedule in 30-minute increments during the times you have available appointments. Patients agree to the cancellation policy in advance of scheduling the visit. The default no-show fee is $20 but can be changed.

4. How do patients schedule a visit with me?

Patients must include a valid credit card to schedule an appointment with you. Once they book the appointment, you’ll receive an email confirmation. Then, you can log on to your provider account and learn more about them.

5. Do patients get appointment reminders?

Yes, patients get reminders 15 minutes prior to the appointment and a link to begin their visit and an email suggesting a “readiness check” to ensure that they’re prepared for their visit.

Learn more about practicing on Amwell or schedule a call with us.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Understanding the FCC’s Rural Telehealth Expansion Proposal]]> https://www.americanwell.com/understanding-the-fccs-rural-telehealth-expansion-proposal/ 2018-09-27T16:16:08Z 2017-12-05T13:30:00Z The US Census Bureau says the American frontier closed in 1890. But the reality is that many people still live in rural areas today. This is as much due to the real population factors of the traditional heartland as it is because of the evolving way we define what rural is. Though the FCC is […]

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The US Census Bureau says the American frontier closed in 1890. But the reality is that many people still live in rural areas today. This is as much due to the real population factors of the traditional heartland as it is because of the evolving way we define what rural is. Though the FCC is dealing with a bit of a storm in other areas, one little-noted change they are suggesting is an expansion of funding for the Rural Healthcare Program (RHP) beyond the current $400 million cap. Part of that expansion would help fund telehealth options and they are taking comments from the public on this important matter.

Expanded Telemedicine Access to PA and NP Clinics

In fact, the FCC has been explicit in including expanded broadband access to facilitate telehealth capabilities among RHP participants. These now include healthcare facilities run by nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, by far the most common sort encountered in rural areas. And, in 40 states, these healthcare professionals can write prescriptions with the same authority as a doctor. And yet they are not equipped for everything that they may encounter, whether from lack of training or equipment or sheer numbers. Regardless of the initials after a person’s name, America at large is experiencing a healthcare professional shortage across the board.

With the proposed funding expansion, and the stated intent of the FCC to include broadband access in that amount, telehealth options are on the table for the more than 5,500 hospitals and nursing homes served by the RHP. We do not yet have an accurate count on the number of physician assistant and nurse practitioner clinics covered by the RHP because their addition is so new, but the USDA estimates they are the primary healthcare professionals for 17% of the American population. The FCC move is intended to help provide medical care to the almost one-in-five Americans in that group and they intend to do it with telehealth, and the plan includes provisions for the PAs and NPs that serve rural populations in addition to bigger hospitals and nursing homes. The expansion program, by paying for the infrastructure of and access to broadband, makes these new technologies a viable option. But, as you may have expected, there is more.

Funding for Telehealth Equipment

The FCC proposal explicitly includes telehealth machinery, both for clinical use and for monitoring patients when at home. Starting the adoption process now, gathering the needed information for what a given care center and its patients need, is the best way to get ahead of the game once the expansion happens.

Then, depending on the precise plan that is adopted, telehealth equipment will either be paid for directly by the FCC or the care center will be reimbursed. At minimum, looking at the options is due diligence for taking care of patients.

In short, taking a look now at the avenues that are opening up for telehealth adoption and expansion means you will at least know the current state of the art. Better still, it will prepare your practice to move forward with telehealth implementation once the final plan is authorized and put into action.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[3 Steps to Setting up a Successful Practice]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7431 2018-07-19T19:04:54Z 2017-11-29T18:28:54Z You want to practice telemedicine and your Amwell practice is now live. What next? Here are three easy ways to make your new Amwell practice stand out:

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Here are three easy ways to make your new Amwell practice stand out:

1. Make a good great first impression

A great picture is worth a thousand words (unfortunately so is a bad picture…). So, make sure you put your best face forward. If you don’t already have a professional headshot, here’s how you can take your own.

  • ‘Camera’: The nicer the camera (lens, etc.), the better the headshot. But you can even take a pretty decent picture with your phone, so long as you have proper lighting;
  • Lighting: Lighting in front of you is best, or at least proper overhead lighting that doesn’t cast shadows over your face;
  • Backdrop: Your backdrop depends on your camera. A camera with a 35-mm lens blurs out backgrounds creating the ‘bokeh’ effect. But you can’t really go wrong with a simple, lightly colored background. But don’t stand right up against it – give yourself a few inches to cast a soft shadow.
  • No selfies: Have someone take your photo for you. It will allow you to relax and pose naturally. No one around? Place your phone/camera on a tripod or other sturdy surface just about head height.
  • Posture: There are endless rules for posture depending on your look. But, the basics are: stand up, turn slightly, smile with your eyes.
  • Attire: Many healthcare professionals opt for a white coat and stethoscope over professional garb.
  • File formatting: Amwell profile pics are 408 x 500. Make sure that your image is that size too, otherwise your picture may get distorted.

Who would you rather see?

Write a thoughtful, welcoming description of your practice, specialty, focus, and interest in delivering healthcare conveniently to patients:

  • Short and sweet: this introduction is meant to be brief. Make it friendly and keep it under 50 words.
  • Add your specialty: include your specialty and areas of interest.
  • Include training: you may want to mention where and when you went to medical school, completed your residency, etc.

Hi, I’m Dr. Smith and I specialize in functional medicine for women. After studying at ABC School of Holistic Health and graduating in 2011, I opened my practice in Massachusetts. I’m excited to bring functional medicine care to more people through telehealth and I look forward to meeting you.  

OR

Dr. Smith, Functional Medicine. ABC School of Holistic Health, 2011. 

PRO MOVE: Want to really set your practice apart? Create a custom practice image:

  • Image size: 965 X 490.
  • Photos: use your own or make a new one. You can get some great free stock photography from sites like Unsplash. Or if you want help with design, sites like Fiverr connect you with affordable graphic designers.

2. Set a schedule and stick to it

Some providers may offer urgent, on-demand care, but most will be indicating their availability and allowing patients to schedule visits during those times. The most important part of getting started is indicating when you’re available. 

Otherwise, patients will click on your practice and see a “no appointments” screen.  Not a great experience for them and means fewer (er, no) visits for you. Remember: patients have schedules too, and one of the great benefits of telemedicine is the ability for patients to see doctors when it works for them. So try offering a varied schedule with as many openings during the weekdays as possible, and even some nights and weekends for good measure.

 

3. (Make Sure) The Price is Right

Currently most telemedicine visits are not covered by insurance, so most patients will pay out of pocket for your service.  Therefore, you set the price that makes sense for your specialty and visit duration. We see prices ranging from $39 to $199 but if you want to talk it over and get a feel for market price, don’t hesitate to reach out. Keep in mind that you can always change your price down the road.

That’s it! Simple, right?

Questions? You can always schedule a call with us or send us an email at providers@americanwell.com.

 

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Reducing Hospital Readmissions with Telemedicine]]> https://www.americanwell.com/reducing-hospital-readmissions-with-telemedicine/ 2018-09-27T16:16:29Z 2017-11-28T14:00:00Z For good reason, everyone dreads the experience of a hospital readmission for the same problem shortly after being discharged. Here, healthcare professionals, hospital administrators, insurance agents, and patients are all on the same page. So, any strategy that both reduces readmissions while improving patient health outcomes is something that all of these groups should investigate. […]

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For good reason, everyone dreads the experience of a hospital readmission for the same problem shortly after being discharged. Here, healthcare professionals, hospital administrators, insurance agents, and patients are all on the same page. So, any strategy that both reduces readmissions while improving patient health outcomes is something that all of these groups should investigate. Telehealth is one area which can lower the number of unplanned readmissions. Hospitals that do not work toward this goal will only end up hurting their patients and their bottom line.

As might be expected, people with more severe conditions upon initial admission or a mental health disorder have a higher than average likelihood of an unplanned readmission within 30 days. What may not be expected is that the highest rates of readmission are among Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Those who qualify for these programs tend to be older and poorer than the average American, both of which have high positive correlations with poor health. The single biggest factor in reducing those readmissions according to an extensive Harvard Business Review study was effective communication between healthcare professionals and their patients. Both senior citizens and the poor often feel ignored, so someone really listening to them for a change is bound to have an effect.

But, to have its greatest potential effect, communication must continue after discharge. This is where telehealth comes in. Among senior citizens, more and more are comfortable with daily use of the internet and related technologies. Those who qualify for Medicaid and similar programs also often have access to Lifeline, meaning they have smart devices that can be used for their telehealth connection. Combined with expansion of the Smart City model, this means almost all urban Americans, and 77% generally, have some measure of access to the possibilities of telehealth communication with their healthcare providers.

The benefits of follow-up care are unambiguously positive, and this requires effective communication. Just talking to patients instructs, assists, and enables the necessary self-care that is so critical in the post-discharge phase and can reduce unplanned readmissions in the first 30 days by as much as 82%. This is no trifling figure, especially when the current rate of Medicare and Medicaid patient readmission is about 1-in-5, costing $26 billion annually. Telehealth extends that beyond the last minutes of a hospital stay out into the real world and assists the patient by making recovery part of their everyday lives.

The point, of course, is that communication between healthcare professionals and their patients is a necessity. Telehealth normalizes this process and makes it a welcome engagement rather than something to be avoided and keeps people out of the hospital as they are on the road to recovery.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Reduce Chronic Care Costs with At-Home Telemedicine]]> https://www.americanwell.com/reduce-chronic-care-costs-with-at-home-telemedicine/ 2018-09-27T16:17:02Z 2017-11-21T14:00:00Z There exist a wide array of reasons why non-senior adults might require long-term medical care, and a majority of them are in some sense chronic conditions. Birth defects. Autoimmune disorders. Mental illness. Traumatic injuries. Even a list of general categories could be quite extensive. But they tend to have two things in common in addition […]

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There exist a wide array of reasons why non-senior adults might require long-term medical care, and a majority of them are in some sense chronic conditions. Birth defects. Autoimmune disorders. Mental illness. Traumatic injuries. Even a list of general categories could be quite extensive. But they tend to have two things in common in addition to their chronic nature: Residence in a long-term care facility may not be practical for treatment and do not diminish the desire to live an active, healthy life. Staying home, whether on their own or with family members, is often the best solution for people with chronic conditions, both in terms of cost and of patient health outcomes.

Growth of Chronic Conditions

Almost half of American adults have some sort of chronic condition, and those can begin to stack up as people age. Currently, chronic illnesses account for roughly 75% of all physician visits, 80% of all hospital admissions, and 90% of all prescriptions. Those with chronic conditions make up the majority of the 71% of visits to emergency departments (EDs) that are either unnecessary or preventable. Indeed, in just one area of chronic care, telehealth has reduced unnecessary admissions by 20% and that number is growing. That is, with proper care at home, most of these people could stay there longer and have better quality of life when they do so, all while avoiding preventable visits to EDs. For many, telehealth can make remaining at home a viable option at a reasonable cost.

Telehealth Creates Ease

A significant component of telehealth making home care possible for patients with chronic conditions is that it eases communication between patients and caregivers. A metareview of over 1,200 studies on this topic showed that telehealth almost invariably facilitated accurate communication between all concerned parties, and thus contributed to better patient health outcomes. One related effect was that, with accurate and timely communication, patients were more likely to adhere to their treatment regimens, resulting in fewer visits both to their primary care physicians and EDs. This means that patients engaged in therapies more often and took their medications properly. While this increased pharmaceutical expenses, it lowered costs of care elsewhere that more than cancelled out the cost of drugs, again while improving the patient’s overall health. These other lowered costs mostly came from avoiding those unnecessary or preventable ED visits and hospitalizations. This, again, contributed to the patient’s ability to stay at home for a longer period of time, living their life as they wanted, with optimal health outcomes in both physical and mental health.

It all ties together and works in a positive feedback loop, each stage building on the one before it. Staying at home with telehealth costs less and improves patient health outcomes. These tools have already been proven effective for senior citizens. It is high time we do so for other adults with chronic conditions.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Creating a Seamless System-wide Telehealth Experience]]> https://www.americanwell.com/creating-a-seamless-system-wide-telehealth-experience/ 2018-07-19T21:40:03Z 2017-11-16T15:00:00Z While hospital-focused telehealth is still largely used for high-acuity cases like stroke, we see the greater, untapped potential of this technology. When leveraged system-wide, telehealth is a disruptive technology that can impact care delivery in a major way — reducing avoidable hospital admissions and readmissions and improving outcomes for patients, while saving the healthcare system […]

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While hospital-focused telehealth is still largely used for high-acuity cases like stroke, we see the greater, untapped potential of this technology. When leveraged system-wide, telehealth is a disruptive technology that can impact care delivery in a major way — reducing avoidable hospital admissions and readmissions and improving outcomes for patients, while saving the healthcare system a lot of money.

More than 63 percent of healthcare providers now use telehealth, but the experience is only as good as the technology and healthcare professionals who interface with a particular platform. For these reasons, we have made it our mission to: 

  • create a telehealth platform that works with every major EHR; and
  • offer the entire healthcare chain (patients, providers, payers, etc.) a seamless, end-to-end experience.

We don’t simply want to host one-time virtual visits: Our goal is to make sure patients can access telehealth when they need great care, regardless of where they are located.

As we continue to grow, we’ve sought ideas for expanding our broader portfolio of customizable solutions. In October 2017, we announced our acquisition of Carena. The opportunity made a lot of sense: The company’s provider network is a natural extension of our own platform and their expertise in meeting consumer needs through 24/7 on-demand services can help us do a better job of meeting our healthcare partners’ telehealth needs. Together with Carena, we will expand our reach into a greater number of markets, and help hospitals and health systems strengthen and scale their existing telehealth programs. Since 2000, Carena has designed and operated virtual clinics for health systems, and today offers virtual care access to millions of consumers. Our combined company now supports a quarter of the nation’s hospitals.

As KLAS noted in one of its most recent industry reports, “Telehealth Virtual Care Platforms 2017,” Avizia has one of the most adopted telehealth platforms across use cases (on-demand, specialty, and scheduled) and is the best in EHR integration.

Prospective and existing customers will benefit from our broader range of telehealth solutions in the newly christened Avizia-Carena partnership. These solutions include a host of provider staffing models, which an organization or health system can choose to brand. Avizia Provider Services offers access to industry-leading, highly credentialed, board certified providers for virtual and onsite care coverage for a multitude of specialties across all 50 states.

Telehealth is expected to grow into a $38 billion market by 2022. Today, Avizia is trusted by four out of the top five IDNs in the nation and one in four U.S. hospitals. Moving forward with Carena, Avizia is excited to be driving better patient outcomes through our system-wide and comprehensive approach to telehealth.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[5 Ways to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season with a Telemedicine Clinic]]> https://www.americanwell.com/5-ways-to-prepare-for-cold-and-flu-season-with-a-telemedicine-clinic/ 2018-07-19T19:23:37Z 2017-11-13T14:00:00Z With cold and flu season approaching fast, it is very important to prepare your staff and patients for the upcoming months and plan to manage increased demand across all ambulatory services. Wait times in ED and urgent care facilities will begin to rise and options for patients are often limited with full clinic schedules and […]

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With cold and flu season approaching fast, it is very important to prepare your staff and patients for the upcoming months and plan to manage increased demand across all ambulatory services. Wait times in ED and urgent care facilities will begin to rise and options for patients are often limited with full clinic schedules and reduced holiday hours. A direct-to-consumer (DTC) virtual clinic can provide a convenient and affordable access point for patients needing care this season as part of your broader seasonal strategy.

1.   Scheduling and Triage

Late fall brings the initial influx of acutely ill patients. Many of these patients have simple self-limited illnesses and may not need in-person care. The challenge is that within that influx are patients who may have more serious illnesses, complications, or underlying medical issues that put them at higher risk necessitating higher levels of care. Increased access and processes are needed to assure these patients get seen and not turned away because no appointments are available. Clinic schedules need to accommodate these patients but at the same time, must still fit in visits for chronic disease and preventive visits as well. A proactive plan to build schedules to balance those competing demands in the winter months is a must. At the same time, you don’t want to use valuable clinic visit slots as the point at which you first assess which patients have simple self-limited illnesses from those that truly need to be seen. Thus, having efficient triage in front of the schedule management is critical. Appropriate low acuity patients can be triaged to the virtual clinic instead of limited clinic appointments or the virtual clinic can be utilized as a triage access point in front of clinic scheduling.

2.   Patient Education and Communication

Patient education and overall communication is also important. This may include sending reminders on how to practice proper hand washing or self-care advice for simple conditions like the common cold. Campaigns to educate patients about inappropriate antibiotic use for viral illnesses can help avoid unnecessary visits and promote good antibiotic stewardship in the community. This is also a time to share your health system’s plan for the season including where to get flu shots without making a clinic appointment and increasing awareness of the different ways to access care. Educating patients on conditions and circumstances well suited for virtual visits and how to access virtual care can help drive appropriate, high-value utilization of the virtual clinic.

3.   Staff Preparedness

This is a great time to start reviewing staff workflows and fill any gaps in your system. Review last year’s cold and flu season and plan tactics to avoid having the same issues you had in prior years. Monitor local, regional, and national public health reporting on influenza and other seasonal illnesses to better anticipate your upcoming demand for clinical services and stay up to date with public health triage and management recommendations.

4.   Don’t Forget Quality!

During busy times, it is easy to feel the pressure of a full waiting room and limited staffing, which unfortunately often equates to shortcuts that can impact quality of care. By offering a telemedicine solution with Virtual Practice Guidelines (VPGs) – diagnosis and symptom-based virtual care treatment guidelines for urgent and primary care – integrated into your virtual clinic, you’ll be able to make sure your practices and processes are in order to ensure your team is delivering care efficiently and safely.

5.   Integrate a Virtual Care Program

If your health system doesn’t have a virtual clinic, this is the right time to invest in telemedicine. With virtual visits doubling in winter months, it is very important to be where your patients are. By launching a virtual care program during peak season, you’re able to meet your patients’ real-time needs including eliminating seasonal transportation challenges and reaching rural communities. Integrating a telemedicine solution into your system at this time will give your program instant traction in the market.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[CMS Increases Telemedicine Reimbursement]]> https://www.americanwell.com/cms-increases-telemedicine-reimbursement/ 2018-09-27T16:17:33Z 2017-11-07T15:00:00Z There is good news for those who have had uncertainties over billing for telehealth procedures. At the start of November 2017, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) passed their final rules for the 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) and Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). Part of the update addresses the realities of natural disasters […]

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There is good news for those who have had uncertainties over billing for telehealth procedures. At the start of November 2017, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) passed their final rules for the 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) and Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). Part of the update addresses the realities of natural disasters and other unavoidable circumstances. But, perhaps the most important things from a healthcare provider perspective are the addition of new telehealth CPT billing codes and a reduction in the reporting burden. So, that means more money for care providers and less administrative work to get it while providing more care options to their patients.

In addition to the increase of 0.41% in reimbursement values, the updates remove much of the ambiguity in telehealth billing. Before, CMS had different telehealth rates and codes for both Medicare and Medicaid, as did most private insurers. With a standardization of these rates and codes, many of the logistical roadblocks to adding telehealth to a healthcare practice are gone.

Creating an Industry Standard

Though the published rules only technically apply to Medicare and Medicaid, it is standard among private insurers to adopt the same sets of codes so as to have an informal but widely used industry standard. Arriving at this kind of consensus by asking for input from all stakeholders has helped to ensure that the transition will be as smooth as possible. There may still be instances where a provider offers a platinum level plan with telehealth coverage and a bronze level plan without, but, where telehealth is included, the codes will at least all be the same.

Previously, many healthcare providers would use the same CPT codes to bill in-person and telehealth procedures that were otherwise identical. While a solid rule of thumb, this is not always the best idea. The expansion and standardization offered by the new final rules remove the uncertainty on whether or not this is the correct action by clearly defining telehealth procedures as having their own specific range of CPT codes independent of the ones used for in-person visits. The change has the added benefit of moving prices across the healthcare field toward a median figure, which benefits patients and insurers alike by knowing what their costs will be and healthcare providers by helping them know how much they will be paid. In one way or another, this is good for everyone involved.

A Look Ahead for Telemedicine Reimbursement

In short, yes, this is a rules change, and there are going to be some kinks to work out in the transition. Once the new rules are fully implemented in 2018, however, the standardization and clarification offered by these rules will more than make up for any difficulties encountered in the process.

New Update: Elimination of GT Modifier for Telehealth Services

As of January 1, 2018, Medicare is removing the requirement to use the GT modifier on professional claims for telehealth services.

Additional information can be found here: https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/MM10152.pdf

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Using Telehealth Apps to Increase Healthcare Access]]> https://www.americanwell.com/using-telehealth-apps-to-increase-healthcare-access/ 2018-09-27T16:17:49Z 2017-10-31T14:00:00Z These days, apps are everywhere, from smart phones to renamed programs on PCs. Basically, they are anything not part of the operating system. Given that 61% of Americans look for health information online, and maybe more, it should be no surprise that there are telehealth apps available. Growth of Telehealth Apps There are presently dozens […]

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These days, apps are everywhere, from smart phones to renamed programs on PCs. Basically, they are anything not part of the operating system. Given that 61% of Americans look for health information online, and maybe more, it should be no surprise that there are telehealth apps available.

Growth of Telehealth Apps

There are presently dozens of telehealth apps available for download to smart devices using all major OS platforms. Many of them proved their worth during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. More generally, they have proven useful in monitoring health of senior citizens living alone, cardiac patients trying to lead normal lives, and veterans who may be many hours away from their nearest VA clinic. The only limits found thus far are in the imagination of people developing telehealth apps for release to the public. That is, they can be highly specific or generalized for almost any purpose.

It may rightly be pointed out that a significant number of people, even here in the US, still lack access to broadband internet, and that this might limit accessibility to telehealth apps. However, this ignores the fact that 77% of Americans have at least a basic smart device today. This means that the app market is wide open due to Wi-Fi access and mobile networks largely picking up the slack for the lack of broadband internet. This is especially the case as more localities around the world adopt the Smart City model of access.

Meeting Health System Goals

Healthcare professionals have already seen telehealth in operation and many are adopting the medium because it lowers costs for patients and providers alike, improves quality of care, and means more patients have access to healthcare. Best of all from adopters’ perspectives, is that telehealth apps often improve patient health outcomes in both physical and mental health spheres, reducing admissions by as much as 25%. Those who have adopted telehealth, some going entirely virtual, have noted that their practices flow more smoothly and that it reduces the workload in other areas. There is the added benefit for all concerned that unnecessary visits are avoided. This means doctors and other healthcare professionals can focus on those who genuinely need assistance while reassuring those who do not.

The apps are already out there in wide use. The only question is finding one that fits the needs of the healthcare professional and their patients.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telehealth: Disaster Planning and Recovery]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telehealth-disaster-planning-and-recovery/ 2018-09-27T16:18:11Z 2017-10-19T22:20:03Z The United States is currently either experiencing or recovering from multiple and widespread natural disasters… with wildfires raging in the Mountain and Pacific West as well as dealing with the aftermath of multiple hurricanes from Texas to Florida to Puerto Rico. The National Interagency Fire Center predicts that the fall and early winter wildfire risk […]

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The United States is currently either experiencing or recovering from multiple and widespread natural disasters… with wildfires raging in the Mountain and Pacific West as well as dealing with the aftermath of multiple hurricanes from Texas to Florida to Puerto Rico. The National Interagency Fire Center predicts that the fall and early winter wildfire risk will spread eastward to a band from Texas to South Carolina, while still affecting California, and the National Hurricane Center has increased its risk assessment level for a hyperactive Atlantic season with each new release.

The bad weather is far from over.

This is where telehealth is lending a hand. With the addition of a single dongle, a telehealth cart can be made compatible to run with satellite phones. This simple modification can connect disaster-stricken areas with medical experts from around the country. Many telehealth models readily available for both store and online purchase would add as little as $10 to the cost. To put it another way, the amount of money spent on a discount lunch special could instead be used to save hundreds of lives.

In Puerto Rico, where the need for medical assistance continues in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,  former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price has suspended many of the restrictions on Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs for the duration of the emergency. This means that healthcare professionals and organizations have more flexibility to take action. The relaxation of rules also means that consultation with experts licensed to practice in places other than Puerto Rico is now allowed, and telehealth tools can facilitate many of these interactions where people are in need of care.

Deployed in conjunction with the USNS Comfort, the battery life of telehealth carts can be greatly augmented via easy recharging. Further, discussions are already underway between Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and innovators to engage faster restoration of the island’s power grid via solar panel deployment. Doing so would greatly increase the effective range of telehealth carts outside the major cities by making battery replacements easier, or, better still, via direct connection to a fully functional power grid.

If made a regular part of disaster response from FEMA, HHS, and other federal agencies, and done quickly, much of the human suffering in Puerto Rico could be alleviated.

As to the western wildfires, the challenges there are different and so present different opportunities. The flames do not care if a building is a house or a hospital. They burn just the same. And people in the endangered areas have to be evacuated as quickly and as safely as possible. Nursing homes in particular will need ready access to continuity of care, including monitoring of patients and medical records storage requirements, to make sure the necessary medicines and therapies experience the smallest possible interruption. Whereas swift deployment in the aftermath of a hurricane is the proper plan, preparedness with telehealth capacities before a wildfire occurs is the best route. Through the coordination capacities of telehealth services, nursing home residents and hospital patients can be routed to the facilities best able to receive them and thus ensure the best possible results.

The important thing here is that there are current, real, life or death medical needs in our country from the far Northwest to the island Southeast. Telehealth powered by trusted provider organizations, whether as part of a preparedness plan or deployed in aftermath response, can and should be used to help save lives.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[What the CONNECT for Health Act could mean for patients and the federal budget]]> https://www.americanwell.com/what-the-connect-for-health-act-could-mean-for-patients-and-the-federal-budget/ 2018-07-18T19:18:10Z 2017-10-08T23:57:56Z Avizia’s CEO and founder, Mike Baird, discusses what the CONNECT for Health Act could mean for patients—and the federal budget—in an article published by HIT Leaders & News. Baird explains that for value-based care to succeed in both reducing costs and improving patients care, telehealth needs to be a key part of the equation. The […]

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Avizia’s CEO and founder, Mike Baird, discusses what the CONNECT for Health Act could mean for patients—and the federal budget—in an article published by HIT Leaders & News. Baird explains that for value-based care to succeed in both reducing costs and improving patients care, telehealth needs to be a key part of the equation.

The current Medicare rules on telehealth are counter intuitive and an outdated way to care for patients. Current policy restricts utilization of and reimbursement for telehealth by narrowly defining conditions around eligibility for Medicare coverage. As a result, care delivered via telehealth is limited to people who live in a rural area and willing to go to a specific care location.

Today, Medicare does not cover:

  • “Store‐and‐forward” services (such as transmission of medical images) for the 43 million beneficiaries who live outside of Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Services originating from a beneficiary’s home (even for the “homebound”), a hospice and other common non‐medical locations from which a beneficiary seeks service.
  • Otherwise covered Medicare services of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech‐language pathology, audiology and some other practitioners.
  • Most health procedure codes, precluding the best judgment of physicians and other practitioners about the medical needs and other circumstances of beneficiaries.

Policy needs to change to empower physicians to use telehealth to improve access and quality, and lower costs. Luckily, the CONNECT for Health Act will push Medicare in the right direction.

Both consumer and physician mindsets toward telehealth are changing. Greater integration of technology in both parties’ lives are increasing both acceptance and use. These changing perceptions, coupled with CMS’ commitment to shift heavily toward value-based care, requires a new baseline. One that considers the advancements of the last decade, new data and evidence, and the evolving health care ecosystem.

The new baseline needs to eliminate the originating site geographic requirements, lift restrictions on store-and-forward technologies and expand the list of providers eligible to treat patients via telehealth. Passing the CONNECT Act for Health will be a big step in the right direction.

Read this complete article on HIT Leaders & News here.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[A Hybrid Approach to Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/a-hybrid-approach-to-direct-to-consumer-telehealth/ 2017-09-18T00:00:00Z 2017-09-18T00:00:00Z In this article published by Becker’s Hospital Review, Avizia’s CEO Mike Baird details the risks that direct-to-consumer telehealth may pose to care coordination, including incomplete medical records and gaps in care. He details how a hybrid telehealth solution is a viable alternative, and should be hospital and health system-led augmented by integrated virtual direct-to-consumer services. […]

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In this article published by Becker’s Hospital Review, Avizia’s CEO Mike Baird details the risks that direct-to-consumer telehealth may pose to care coordination, including incomplete medical records and gaps in care. He details how a hybrid telehealth solution is a viable alternative, and should be hospital and health system-led augmented by integrated virtual direct-to-consumer services.

telehealth software development kit

There were a reported 1.25 million DTC telehealth visits in 2015, a trend that is fueled, to some extent, by the belief that virtual DTC care leads to major cost savings because it can replace visits to the doctor’s office and keep patients out of the emergency room. Yet, because most virtual DTC care is episodic, occurring outside of a patient’s trusted health network, multiple clinical and financial issues can arise when patients and providers tap into this modality. Healthcare organizations and patients should be aware of potential disconnects when utilizing DTC telehealth, and make sure the proper checks and balances are in place.

DTC Telehealth Challenges

When patients reach out to physicians who are employed by “dial-a-doc” type services, they’re engaging with professionals who often have limited access to patients’ personal health records. Records from virtual visits can either be siloed, never to be seen again, or because most EHRs aren’t interoperable with telehealth systems, virtual episodes of care aren’t always documented in a way that is searchable. So, if the telehealth consultation contains critical information, the patient’s regular physician may miss it. Similarly, a virtual DTC doctor is at risk of giving inaccurate information or an incorrect prescription because he or she doesn’t have the patient’s complete health record immediately available.

There are also potential quality issues that arise with DTC telehealth services. For instance, a health network overseeing a patient may not have access to background information on the physicians who are employed by a DTC telehealth provider. The physicians are outsourced through the DTC vendor, and may not offer care that meets the standards of patients, insurers, or other stakeholders in a given health network. Many of these services are trying desperately to keep patient visits to 5 minutes or less to reduce costs.

A Hybrid Solution

The need for quality cannot be emphasized enough. Having a solid physician-vetting system to broker telehealth interactions can help avoid potential communication mishaps and wasted virtual visits. Hospitals, for instance, need to investigate quality metrics such as physician call times, prescriptions, or satisfaction ratings to make sure their telehealth DTC partners meet their standards.

Finding ways to bridge fragmentation through technology is also essential to maximizing the benefits of virtual DTC care. Leveraging telehealth networks that can integrate with EHRs and other patient care systems can facilitate better care. At the very least, healthcare providers need the ability to securely fax or email information about a telehealth consultation to one another – and ideally, implement deep EHR integration where patient data is shared bidirectionally in real time for true care coordination.

When virtual DTC care is integrated correctly within a larger healthcare network, with careful consideration to quality, it can work well to deliver value. Moving toward the goal of value-based care, healthcare providers need to look at the bigger picture, and ask whether the systems we rely on to improve quality and efficiency are being leveraged properly.

Read the complete article on Becker’s Hospital Review.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[The Millennial Mind: Understanding Their Healthcare Needs and Wants]]> https://www.americanwell.com/the-millennial-mind-understanding-their-healthcare-needs-and-wants/ 2017-08-31T12:00:00Z 2017-08-31T12:00:00Z Years ago, going to the doctor was a fairly straightforward process. An ill individual would schedule an appointment, go to the clinic, and see their PCP. While this still occurs, patients now have a multitude of options when it comes to healthcare. When people get sick, some google their symptoms, others search online for a […]

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Years ago, going to the doctor was a fairly straightforward process. An ill individual would schedule an appointment, go to the clinic, and see their PCP. While this still occurs, patients now have a multitude of options when it comes to healthcare. When people get sick, some google their symptoms, others search online for a provider or home remedies, some request a virtual visit, and others go to any of a growing number of urgent care facilities, retail clinics, or standalone ERs.

With so many options available to patients, it is important for any health system to understand what the newest adult patients, millennials – who are no longer relying on mom and dad for healthcare guidance – are looking for.

Historically, health systems didn’t have to spend considerable energy considering how to maintain long-term relationships with their patients, because sticking with a provider long-term was standard behavior. However, for millennials (who range in age from early-20s to mid-30s), the end goal may not be to establish a relationship with a PCP or health system.

Millennials expect convenience.

Convenience of access to care is something millennials expect and, for better or worse, may feel entitled to receive. They do not want to spend their time commuting to a clinic or urgent care only to sit in the waiting room for hours, just for a ten-minute visit. Telehealth holds inherent appeal to anyone who prioritizes convenience and certainly speaks to many millennials as evidenced by this data:

Technology is a millennial’s friend.

With so many smartphone users in the U.S., particularly millennials, it is important to be mindful of incorporating a mobile-first approach into your marketing strategy.

Considering the prevalence of smartphone usage in this demographic, it is not surprising that this technology would also be used to seek healthcare. As a matter of fact, Accenture reported their projections for 2019 that state 66% of U.S. health systems will provide online scheduling and 64% of patients will make appointments online.

Millennials are brand loyal and influential.

Millennials may be more likely to stick with a health system long-term based on a good experience, even if this wasn’t their initial intent. With strong preferences for companies who give customers a quality experience, millennials are more brand loyal than any other generation (Greyhealth Group, The New World of Healthcare: What Millennials Want).

With 10.8 million millennial households with children, accounting for 80% of live births each year, millennials are shaping the healthcare habits and outlooks of their children, as well as other family members.

By acknowledging the concepts of convenience, comfort with technology, and brand loyalty, your health system and providers will be more prepared to relate and market to this generation, ultimately leading to more long-term patient relationships.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[The Right Time to Invest in Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/the-right-time-to-invest-in-telehealth/ 2017-08-24T12:00:00Z 2017-08-24T12:00:00Z The National Business Group on Health’s (NBGH) recent Large Employers’ 2018 Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey results show promise for telemedicine with 96% of employers planning to offer telehealth benefits in 2018. There has never been a better time to invest in telehealth. September marks the beginning of cold and flu season, a […]

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The National Business Group on Health’s (NBGH) recent Large Employers’ 2018 Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey results show promise for telemedicine with 96% of employers planning to offer telehealth benefits in 2018.

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There has never been a better time to invest in telehealth. September marks the beginning of cold and flu season, a peak season for direct-to-consumer telehealth. This time of year, we typically see an increase in consumers going online looking for affordable care options. Activity will group through the fall and winter before tapering off in April and May.

The NBGH survey results found that large U.S. employers estimate that in 2018, their per employee benefit costs will surpass $14,000 including premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Employees will take on roughly 30% or nearly $4,400 of this cost while employers will cover the balance. This will be the fifth consecutive year with a 5% increase in healthcare benefit costs.

With nearly all large employers planning to offer telehealth services by 2020, there is an enormous opportunity for the local health systems to provide telemedicine services that meet the needs of local employers. Telehealth offered through the local health system reduces fragmentation and reinforces strong relationships between patients and local systems. When integrated into the local employer’s health plan the patient, health system, and health plan all benefit. This can pave the way to more integrated models and value-based reimbursement relationships.

CHI Health in Nebraska and Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) Medical Group in Illinois are two partners who have successfully incorporated employer virtual care programs to create valuable relationships with local employers and offer a competitive package that meets the needs of consumers and positions the organizations competitively for an at-risk environment.

CHI Health has a three-part commitment to their local employers – transparency, accountability, and affordability. This includes providing easy access to cost data, lowering costs to or below the regional cost average, and working with insurers to bring new options to market.

HSHS Medical Group has contracted with four local employers allowing their employees and their dependents to gain access through a dedicated portal or app.

With large employer telehealth adoption projected to reach 96% next year, health systems need to become a lot more competitive to gain and retain market share. This data presents an opportunity to build valuable partnerships with employers to better support the care continuum and reduce care fragmentation.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[The CONNECT Act May Ease Telehealth Restrictions — Here’s How]]> https://www.americanwell.com/the-connect-act-may-ease-telehealth-restrictions-heres-how/ 2018-07-19T21:00:32Z 2017-07-31T00:00:00Z The CONNECT for Health Act would improve coverage of telehealth and remote patient monitoring as basic benefits in Medicare Advantage. Avizia CEO Mike Baird and the executive director for the Alliance for Connected Care, Krista Drobac, spoke with Becker’s Hospital Review to discuss how the CONNECT for Health Act may ease telehealth restrictions—and provide Medicare […]

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The CONNECT for Health Act would improve coverage of telehealth and remote patient monitoring as basic benefits in Medicare Advantage.

Avizia CEO Mike Baird and the executive director for the Alliance for Connected Care, Krista Drobac, spoke with Becker’s Hospital Review to discuss how the CONNECT for Health Act may ease telehealth restrictions—and provide Medicare beneficiaries access to better care.

Telehealth has the potential to help rural patients remotely access specialized healthcare — but convincing payers like Medicare to cover these services has proved challenging. Section 1834(m) of the Social Security Act established restrictions on reimbursement for telehealth and remote patient monitoring services under Medicare fee-for-service.

Many healthcare advocacy organizations say the statute is due for reform and have rallied around recent legislation like the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies for Health Act of 2017. The CONNECT for Health Act has garnered bipartisan support, posting 13 cosponsors and more than 50 endorsements from advocacy groups like the American Medical Association, the American Telemedicine Association and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

“At the end of the day, if we’re treating patients, it shouldn’t matter how we treat them,” says Mike Baird, CEO and founder of telehealth company Avizia. “Unfortunately, some of these restrictions that are in place create disincentives toward the adoption of telehealth.”

With certain restrictions, the CONNECT for Health Act would cover telehealth and remote patient monitoring as basic benefits in Medicare Advantage. The bill also proposes a bridge program to help providers report telehealth and remote patient monitoring practices under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System.

But, the CONNECT for Health Act has been stuck in committee, so the Alliance for Connected Care is exploring braking the bill apart to push select reforms forward piece-by-piece.

“If the CONNECT for Health Act doesn’t move in entirety on its own, we want to be sure that pieces of it get enacted as other bills,” Ms. Drobac says.

Read more about the bill and its status at Becker’s Hospital Review.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[New Telestroke Guidelines: What you need to know]]> https://www.americanwell.com/new-telestroke-guidelines-what-you-need-to-know/ 2018-07-19T19:28:22Z 2017-07-18T00:00:00Z American Telemedicine Association 2017 Telestroke Guidelines As the fifth most common cause of death and the leading cause of long-term adult disability in the world, strokes pose a widespread public health dilemma. And while many studies have proven the viability of using telehealth services to rapidly address patient needs, providing cohesive care between facilities is […]

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American Telemedicine Association 2017 Telestroke Guidelines

As the fifth most common cause of death and the leading cause of long-term adult disability in the world, strokes pose a widespread public health dilemma. And while many studies have proven the viability of using telehealth services to rapidly address patient needs, providing cohesive care between facilities is a critical component that needs to be addressed.

A recent study by Kaiser Permanente said, “Particularly in hospitals with limited local resources and/or limited access to neurological expertise, telestroke is an important tool to aid in the evaluation and treatment of potential stroke. We specifically found that unwarranted hospital variability in stroke care could be eliminated through a standardized telestroke program.”

As telestroke treatment use continues to grow, Avizia remains committed to ensuring physicians and executives are informed regarding current industry standards. That is why we are sharing the most recent guidelines from the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) regarding stroke treatment. Overall, this document aims to provide a standardized approach to assessment, diagnosis, management and consultative support to patients exhibiting symptoms and signs that are consistent with acute stroke syndrome.

The new ATA guidelines also address the roles and responsibilities of the responding telehealth team and provide hospital executives with recommendations for seamlessly incorporating telestroke services into their model of care. Furthermore, the guidelines present the agreed-upon roles for coordinating telehealth that are important for support and buy-in of key stakeholders, including the hub/spoke site physician director, the program manager, the emergency department stroke champion and other roles.

Beyond the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information for Economics and Critical Health Act (HITECH), ATA’s guidelines encourage facilities to address privacy and security needs for each of its patients. It also states the importance of providing this information to acute stroke patient families and educating patients about the role of telestroke platforms, including any translation services they may need.

The guidelines encourage facilities to also create an ongoing telehealth budget, so they may stay on top of hardware and software upgrades and address payer reimbursements, grants, private contributions and other fiscal items as they arise.

Perhaps most importantly, telehealth providers also need to have a concrete process to monitor quality and outcome metrics. In addition to ongoing patient care, the document discusses protocols for research and clinical trials. The guidelines recommend that research is needed to compare telehealth to in-person consultations and should conform to local institutional review board approval practices.

As for telehealth solutions themselves, the guidelines say facilities must provide real-time, two-way communications, optimized for bandwidth and monitored for general mobile device management – this includes oversight of apps, data configuration, and security. Devices must also have a passcode, biometric identification or other login protocols and should be configured for point-to-point and, ideally, multiparty connectivity. Organizations looking to use telestroke should consider creating data policy and procedures regarding storage, restrictions and how those are communicated to the referring or consulting site.

As telehealth evolves into a more mature healthcare solution, the industry needs a set of guidelines like the ones created by ATA to ensure cohesive care between facilities. We at Avizia are encouraged by these updated standards and the bright future they detail for the future of virtual care.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[A System-Wide Telehealth Approach]]> https://www.americanwell.com/a-system-wide-telehealth-approach/ 2018-07-19T20:51:28Z 2017-07-12T00:00:00Z Creating a system-wide telehealth program is a long game, but there’s a payoff for hospitals taking a holistic view on the next generation of care delivery. Avizia’s CEO and founder, Mike Baird, discusses why hospitals and health systems need to take a strategic and long-range approach to telehealth. Rather than focusing on single use cases, […]

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Creating a system-wide telehealth program is a long game, but there’s a payoff for hospitals taking a holistic view on the next generation of care delivery.

Avizia’s CEO and founder, Mike Baird, discusses why hospitals and health systems need to take a strategic and long-range approach to telehealth. Rather than focusing on single use cases, providers should take time to consider and how system-wide telehealth will contribute to the next generation of care delivery.

Hospital-based telehealth, as used in a case like stroke or behavioral health, is responsible for significant improvements in specialist access, reductions in length of stay (LOS), a reduction in expected deaths—and increased savings for hospitals participating in value-based reimbursement models. Best of all, patients who have used telehealth appreciate the convenience and access to care.

Stroke and behavioral health are great candidates for telehealth, but there’s a lot that goes into an implementation, like integrating with the EHR, PACS and established clinician workflow. It makes sense that many hospitals focus on one use case at a time, but that approach often leads to more difficult telehealth expansion down the road. Hospitals that see the most success with telehealth start with a system-wide strategy. They may not implement multiple telehealth programs at the same time, but it does give the organization an adaptable blueprint and the assurance that they’ve selected an approach and partners to accommodate changes.

Every healthcare organization is unique, but those with successful and integrated telehealth programs tend to share some common characteristics:

  1. Strategic Leadership
  2. Clinical Advocates
  3. Collaborative IT Teams

Strong leadership from the top coupled with a culture of collaboration will set the right foundation. From there, providers can begin to develop a unique telehealth program that best serves their patient communities.

Creating a system-wide telehealth program is a long game. It won’t happen overnight, nor should the strategy. But there’s a payoff for hospitals taking a holistic view on the next generation of care delivery. Encouraging stakeholders from various departments to take a seat at the table and actively participate in plan development will set the stage for a thriving program.

Read the complete article in Becker’s Hospital Review.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Building a School-Based Telehealth Program? Start With the Nurse]]> https://www.americanwell.com/building-a-school-based-telehealth-program-start-with-the-nurse/ 2018-07-19T21:40:54Z 2017-07-11T00:00:00Z The Medical University of South Carolina’s school-based telehealth program—which is powered by Avizia—has been recognized for its achievements in an article by mHealthIntelligence. With proven results in patient access and outcomes, MUSC has plans to expand its program from 45 to 90 schools in the next year, many of which are in rural and underserved […]

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The Medical University of South Carolina’s school-based telehealth program—which is powered by Avizia—has been recognized for its achievements in an article by mHealthIntelligence.

With proven results in patient access and outcomes, MUSC has plans to expand its program from 45 to 90 schools in the next year, many of which are in rural and underserved communities. MUSC credits the success of its network to hardworking school nurses, fostering a culture of collaboration between healthcare organizations and a flexible, open technology platform.

Read the article at mHealthIntelligence.

School Telehealth Growth Prompts New Role

School-based telehealth programs allows students to be be seen by a pediatrician or specialist remotely, from their school, ultimately minimizing missed classes and long commutes.

Williamsburg County is the first county in South Carolina to implement telehealth at all 11 of its schools, the use has increased over time. With the advent of higher volumes, MUSC developed a new position to offer school nurses support during these telehealth consultations.

Lynn Floyd is the first and now lead tele-presenter for MUSC. She was once a school nurse that used telehealth and now works with multiple school nurses in Williamsburg County. As needed, she presents students to a provider during a telehealth consultation.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Tele-Behavioral Health Reduces the Cost of Mental Illnesses]]> https://www.americanwell.com/tele-behavioral-health-reduces-the-cost-of-mental-illnesses/ 2017-07-11T00:00:00Z 2017-07-11T00:00:00Z Mental health disorders are not an isolated — they have far-reaching effects that drive up costs for both patients and providers. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion per year in lost earnings. While one in five adults experience a mental illness in a given year, […]

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Mental health disorders are not an isolated — they have far-reaching effects that drive up costs for both patients and providers.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion per year in lost earnings. While one in five adults experience a mental illness in a given year, and nearly one in 25 live with a serious mental illness, nearly 60 percent of those adults did not receive mental health services within the last year.

With this ongoing lack of care, patients with mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder, end up receiving more expensive emergency care in place of consistent mental health services. In fact, these disorders are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults between ages 18 to 44.

Unfortunately, the high cost of not receiving mental health treatment doesn’t stop there. Individuals that live with mental illnesses also have an increased risk of developing some physical illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

We Need to Do More

One of the top reasons patient do not seek care is the lack of available treatment providers. With approximately one mental health provider per every 529 individuals in the United States there are more than 4,000 areas in America who have a mental health professional shortage.

This existing provider gap can be bridged with the help of telehealth, and, on a positive note, we are making progress in healthcare when it comes to tele-behavioral health programs. A recent Health Affairs study states that tele-behavioral health services are up 45 percent – meaning more patients are getting the care that they need when and where they need it. Despite this encouraging progress, research and data continue to show too many Americans are still in need of care. As a healthcare community, it is critical that we work together and ensure we get every patient the services they need before it is too late.

Tele-Behavioral Health — Cost Efficient & Clinically Effective

Traditionally, delivering exceptional and efficient care to mental health patients is hard to achieve. Due to provider shortages and the rising number of patients, gaps exist in mental health care, especially in emergency departments.

From both a clinical care and financial perspective, the mental health burden on EDs is heavy and is only projected to worsen in the next decade.

Tele-behavioral health, however, is flipping the script on mental health care. By improving access to care and ED throughput, tele-behavioral health is filling the gaps with a true 24/7 solution that is empowering more effective care coordination, decreased wait times and shorter lengths of stay. In both the short and long-term, tele-behavioral health programs better position EDs for a more clinically efficient and financially profitable future.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telestroke May be the Only Way Patients Can Access Stroke Care]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telestroke-may-be-the-only-way-patients-can-access-stroke-care/ 2018-07-19T19:28:50Z 2017-07-06T00:00:00Z A study shows that telestroke programs can help get patients tPA in as little as 40 minutes. Strokes are one of the most pervasive medical emergencies in America, and the numbers are staggering. In the United States, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds and takes a life every 4 minutes. With this prevalence, most people […]

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A study shows that telestroke programs can help get patients tPA in as little as 40 minutes.

Strokes are one of the most pervasive medical emergencies in America, and the numbers are staggering. In the United States, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds and takes a life every 4 minutes. With this prevalence, most people might imagine that finding treatment for stroke victims is as easy as going to the nearest hospital. However, in many cases, there are limited options for patients.

According to a study in the journal Neurology, there is a shortage in the number of available neurologists, which results in dangerous and brain-threatening wait times for patients. The study also concludes that difficulty hiring new neurologists, and the large number of neurologists that do not accept new Medicaid patients, are among the top reasons for the provider shortage.

Telestroke has a proven track record of assisting Medicaid patients as well as other patients, with the expedited stroke care they need. An American Heart Association (AHA) study found that when using telestroke the average time between patient arrival at a hospital to administering tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) fell from 80 minutes to 40 minutes. Also, the average time between the initial onset of a stroke and receiving tPA fell from 150 minutes to 120 minutes when telestroke was available and utilized.

Today, one in 20 deaths in the United States are the result of a stroke. Providing fast, efficient care dramatically improves stroke survival rates. Hospitals with telestroke programs can not only outpace the neurologist shortage but also provide better care while treating more patients.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[How Health Systems Can Address Consumerism Trends with Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7275 2017-06-30T14:27:53Z 2017-06-30T14:27:53Z As goes everything else, healthcare is increasingly being impacted by trends in consumerism as patients seek to make the best decisions for cost and quality. Health systems are in turn being impacted by this great consumer drive to have the best care. The World Health Organization has identified three main goals for health systems: improve […]

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As goes everything else, healthcare is increasingly being impacted by trends in consumerism as patients seek to make the best decisions for cost and quality. Health systems are in turn being impacted by this great consumer drive to have the best care. The World Health Organization has identified three main goals for health systems: improve the health of populations; improve the responsiveness of the health system to the population it serves; and promote fairness in financial contribution.1 Telehealth directly addresses these goals and responds to the consumerism trend. Here is a couple of ways in which telehealth helps health systems meet consumer needs and goals:

Improve the Health of Populations

Health systems are moving toward a fee-for-value payment structure, which means care delivery has shifted from more visits to quality outcomes. Health systems can use telemedicine to manage patients in risk contracts and address population health management challenges. For example, telehealth eye exams are becoming popular among diabetic patients, and image and email-based telemedicine for orthopedic consultations have proven to be effective for treating mild-to-moderately severe fractures while saving patients thousands of miles in travel.2

For consumers, telehealth offers a quick and easy option for addressing healthcare needs. A recent survey by The Advisory Board Company found that consumers are willing to use telehealth for a variety of use cases, like urgent care, oncology, prescription refills, cardiology and orthopedics.3 That same study found that 57% of patients said they would strongly consider using a virtual visit if their child was sick.

Improve health system responsiveness

According to a recent survey by MerrittHawkins, patients are waiting an average of 24 days to schedule an appointment with a doctor. This has increased more than 30% since 2014, and is caused largely by national doctor shortages and population growth.4 Fast forward to the day of the appointment and patients spend 37 minutes on average traveling to the appointment, 64 minutes in the clinic waiting room, and only 20 minutes are spent face-to-face with the doctor.5 By contrast, the average wait time to see a physician via telehealth is five minutes, and requires no travel on the part of the patient.6 These types of immediate video visits are a more responsive alternative to treating patients in person. Types of responsive telemedicine visits include everything from episodic urgent care, to second opinions and behavioral health.

Health systems recognize telehealth’s invaluable role in meeting these goals, along with the goals they set for themselves as an organization. Yet telehealth is still a relatively new care delivery model. The health systems that have deployed telehealth in the past five years are considered pioneers in the industry. They’ve tested and optimized to get the most out of their telehealth program, and steadily developed a roadmap for implementation.

If you’re interested in how to get started with telehealth, American Well has also created a roadmap to help you. To speak with one of our team members about how telehealth can enhance the care delivery model of your health system, reach out to us today to learn more.

 

1: World Health Organization, World Health Survey, 2003. 2: The Advisory Board Company, Direct-to-patient telemedicine: Future promise, present barrier 2016, 3: The Advisory Board Company, What Do Consumers Want from Virtual Visits, 2017, 4: Merritt Hawkins, 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times, 2017, 5: Harvard Medical School, Paying for health care with time, 2015, 6: HIT Consultant, In-Person Visit vs. Telehealth Visit? Time is Money, 2015, 7: American Well, Setting the Medical Record Straight: Integrating Telehealth With Your EMR, 2017.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telehealth Helps Veterans Gain Access to Care]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telehealth-helps-veterans-gain-access-to-care/ 2017-06-29T00:00:00Z 2017-06-29T00:00:00Z Our U.S. service members have been engaged in more than a decade of combat activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. These missions require bravery in the face of danger, the outcomes of which often have a long-lasting impact on the lives of these men and women. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates a post-traumatic […]

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Our U.S. service members have been engaged in more than a decade of combat activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. These missions require bravery in the face of danger, the outcomes of which often have a long-lasting impact on the lives of these men and women.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) incidence rate of 11 to 20 out of every 100 veterans that served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. However, nationwide, only about 8 percent of the 5 million veterans using VA-provided care get diagnosed with the disorder. This large care gap comes at a somber price: Each day, an estimated 18 to 22 veterans die by suicide.

Telehealth can help address the lack of care our veterans face, particularly in instances where they are living in remote areas, far from specialist or an ideal point of care.

Today, approximately 3.3 million of the veterans in the VA’s purview live in remote regions with limited access to healthcare services. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that telehealth was an effective option in treating veterans with PTSD that would otherwise resist treatment, either due to geographic reasons or the stigma surrounding mental health services. Additionally, a Telemedicine and E-Health Journal study found that telehealth visits were dramatically cheaper for the VA since many in-person visits to remote places required extensive travel.

When service members return from combat, deserve to have access to the care they need. Providing veterans with mental and behavioral telehealth care is just one way to ensure these men and woman receive the care they need when and where they need it.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Moving Towards a Value-Based Care System Under MACRA: How Telehealth Can Help]]> https://www.americanwell.com/moving-towards-a-value-based-care-system-under-macra-how-telehealth-can-help/ 2017-06-27T12:00:00Z 2017-06-27T12:00:00Z The transition from fee-for-service to fee-for-value continued this year with the implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, known as MACRA, a new pay-for-performance program driving large-scale changes to the current Medicare reimbursement schedule for providers. Yet, health systems are still trying to assess what this new payment system means for their operations […]

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The transition from fee-for-service to fee-for-value continued this year with the implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, known as MACRA, a new pay-for-performance program driving large-scale changes to the current Medicare reimbursement schedule for providers. Yet, health systems are still trying to assess what this new payment system means for their operations and how best to take advantage of MACRA’s opportunities.

A recent Deloitte article “MACRA: Quietly transforming health care” discussed how MACRA rewards physicians for improving the way they deliver care while transforming payment and care delivery models to reduce costs and total expenditures under the Medicare program. The article continues to describe a meeting Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation facilitated with 31 provider stakeholders to discuss some of the challenges they’ve encountered and how best to move towards a value-based care system.

Participants expressed a willingness to work through barriers and come up with solutions, despite the challenges they face in implementing MACRA. These challenges include tracking and reporting new quality measures, accounting for risks with new payment models, and overcoming obstacles that come with implementing new technology platforms.

Considering some of the challenges, we’ve identified that telemedicine can help support value-based care initiatives in the following ways:

  • Access solution: Telemedicine extends patient reach and expands access to care to those in rural communities as well as those who are unable to travel to a health system’s facility.
  • Engagement strategy: By incorporating telehealth, health systems are giving patients another avenue to engage. Telemedicine oftentimes allows for more one-on-one time with a patient compared to an in-person visit, resulting in more valued engagements.
  • Adherence to practice guidelines: Quality is of utmost importance. By utilizing telemedicine and incorporating practice guidelines to a health system’s workflow, the quality of the virtual visits with patients greatly exceeds.

From a legislative standpoint, we’re getting to a place where telehealth is poised to play a pivotal role in, and have a strong impact on, the transition towards value-based care. Telehealth legislation is continuously changing, at both the state and federal level, allowing for greater opportunities to assist health systems move towards value-based care and scale their services to meet the needs of both patients and providers.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[HEART Act Targets Medicare Limits on Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/heart-act-targets-medicare-limits-on-telehealth/ 2017-06-26T00:00:00Z 2017-06-26T00:00:00Z Addressing the barriers facing telehealth, despite its low cost and high efficacy. A bill introduced last month in the House of Representatives seeks to improve access to telehealth services in the rural United States and takes square aim at expanding remote patient monitoring (RPM) related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. Introduced […]

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Addressing the barriers facing telehealth, despite its low cost and high efficacy.

A bill introduced last month in the House of Representatives seeks to improve access to telehealth services in the rural United States and takes square aim at expanding remote patient monitoring (RPM) related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure.

Introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) the Helping Expand Access to Rural Telehealth (HEART) Act targets the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) strict limitations on RPM reimbursements in rural areas. Currently, CMS has a narrow definition of “rural,” which leaves many patients ineligible for reimbursement. Of the 107,000 telemedicine visits for Medicare beneficiaries recorded in 2013, approximately 40,000 of them served rural areas.

The HEART Act is one of many recent efforts to address the barriers facing telehealth, despite its low cost and high efficacy. During the month of May, the U.S. Senate also introduced the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2017, which further aims to expand telehealth services in rural areas and allow the Department of Health and Human Services to lift existing telehealth restrictions.

Telemedicine programs are often cheaper than other options for patients. As of 2012, the average cost of a telehealth program was $1,600 per patient each year, versus $13,000 for home health services and $70,000 for nursing home care.

The heart-related diseases addressed by the HEART Act are disproportionately concerning in less populated areas. COPD is more prevalent in rural U.S. regions, and a 2014 study in the Journal of Rural Health found these populations face higher hospitalization rates and increased mortality, in spite of controlling for this population’s higher rate of smoking. A separate study in the Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care found that telehealth improved knowledge, self-care behaviors and health outcomes of rural heart failure diseases while cutting cost and improving patient satisfaction.

Eliminating barriers for telehealth in rural populations is essential to providing high-risk patients with the care they need. Today, about one-fifth of the population in rural regions of the U.S. are on Medicaid and/or Medicare. Telehealth can provide these patients with easy access to care at a lower cost and with better outcomes. Removing reimbursement barriers is a logical and vital step in enhancing patient care throughout the U.S – particularly in rural regions.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[CBO Score Allows CHRONIC Care Act to Pass Hurdle]]> https://www.americanwell.com/cbo-score-allows-chronic-care-act-to-pass-hurdle/ 2017-06-23T00:00:00Z 2017-06-23T00:00:00Z Will Expand Medicate Telehealth Coverage A bipartisan group of US Senators recently reintroduced the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (or CHRONIC, for short) Care Act of 2017 (first introduced in 2016), intended to improve healthcare outcomes for Medicare recipients living with chronic conditions. To facilitate these improved outcomes, the bill included […]

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Will Expand Medicate Telehealth Coverage

A bipartisan group of US Senators recently reintroduced the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (or CHRONIC, for short) Care Act of 2017 (first introduced in 2016), intended to improve healthcare outcomes for Medicare recipients living with chronic conditions. To facilitate these improved outcomes, the bill included various new provisions to Medicare. Several parts of the bill also created new programs to foster the innovation and advancement of telehealth technology, as well as expand access to it for Medicare enrollees.

One of the big reasons the bill was not previously considered had to do with concerns that it would lead to increased costs, or that altering the current Medicare reimbursement policy on telemedicine might result in increased healthcare spending.

All of that changed when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their preliminary cost estimate report on the CHRONIC Care Act. The report gave the bill a favorable score, which lead to unanimous bipartisan support. The bill received a scheduled mark-up from the Senate Finance Committee and the legislation was put to a roll call vote. It was approved with a sweeping 26-0 vote. This means that the CHRONIC Care Act can now move on to the Senate for final vote and passage.

When it comes to telemedicine and telehealth, the CHRONIC Care Act of 2017 will put a number of new provisions into action, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Increase the cap on the total number of participating beneficiaries from 10,000 to 15,000.
  • Establishes a two-year extension of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Independence at Home demonstration, establishing home-based primary care teams for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions.
  • Starting in 2019, it will add home freestanding dialysis facilities, without geographic restriction, to the list of originating sites for monthly telehealth assessments.
  • Also in 2019, it will eliminate geographic restrictions on telestroke consultation services. However, originating sites will not be separated. The hospital location and the location of physician providing a remote consult will not receive separate originating site payments.
  • Beginning in 2020, it will expand telehealth coverage under Medicare Advantage Plan B.
  • Lastly, it will provide increased flexibility for Accountable Care Organizations to use telehealth services.

Considering the amount of bipartisan support the bill has already demonstrated, the CHRONIC Care Act of 2017 is likely to be passed by the U.S. Senate in the very near future. Be sure to stay tuned to our blog for future updates.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[How Telestroke Technology is Saving Lives (and Brains): Part 2 of 2]]> https://www.americanwell.com/how-telestroke-technology-is-saving-lives-and-brains-part-2-of-2/ 2018-07-19T20:54:16Z 2017-06-22T00:00:00Z Tools of the Telestroke Trade In the first installment of this two-part blog series, we discussed the goals and benefits of telestroke technology—what it is, how it is used, why it matters, etc. However, telestroke programs need to be implemented along with the proper tools and infrastructure/support in order for them to be truly effective. […]

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Tools of the Telestroke Trade

In the first installment of this two-part blog series, we discussed the goals and benefits of telestroke technology—what it is, how it is used, why it matters, etc. However, telestroke programs need to be implemented along with the proper tools and infrastructure/support in order for them to be truly effective. In this second and final installment, we will be looking at both the basics of telestroke systems as well as some of the amazing telestroke technology that healthcare providers are using to save the lives (and brains) of stroke victims.

The Basics of a Telestroke System

The basic arrangement of any telestroke system begins with establishing a secure but efficient method of video/audio communication that links the facility/patient to the attending neurologist. As its foundation, any telestroke program must be equipped with reliable and high-speed internet that is capable of handling the kind of high-resolution, real-time video conferencing solutions that make it possible for the neurologist, nursing staff, and patient to communicate clearly and without interruption. After all, the entire point of implementing a telestroke system is to allow the attending neurologist to remotely evaluate the patient—symptoms and severity, remote viewing of CT scans, observe motor skills/function, etc.—in order to expedite diagnosis and delivery of treatment.

Considering that there is only a three hour window for administering treatment after a stroke, time is the most critical factor. After that three hour window expires, the odds of patient recovery plummet significantly. According to one study, stroke victims who were treated with anti-clot drugs within the first ninety minutes had a nearly 250% better chance of recovery after three months (when compared to patients who did not receive treatment within three hours). This means that a having a properly equipped telestroke system is crucial to its success.

Game-Changing Telestroke Tech

While it is safe to say that any stroke treatment facility would benefit from the implementation of a telestroke system, it is important to remember that such a system is often only as useful as the technology that supports it. Luckily, a lot of amazing telestroke tech is already on the market and advancements in new tools and solutions are being made every year. Let’s take a look at some of the game-changing technology that is transforming the world of stroke care:

  • Telestroke/Telemedicine Carts: These “carts” are actually mobile communication units equipped with everything a neurologist needs to administer remote care—internet capability, high resolution cameras, microphones, multiple viewing screens, and more.
  • Telestroke/Telehealth Software:To put it simply, these apps are what makes the remote use of telestroke hardware (telemedicine carts) possible. The neurologist can remotely connect to the cart via a secure, HIPAA-compliant software and apps that allows him or her (using and computer, laptop or mobile device) to speak with/observe/evaluate the patient, view CT scans, give instructions to nursing staff, etc. Mobile telestroke apps have untethered stroke care providers from desktop computers, allowing them to deliver nearly immediate care from anywhere and at any time.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[How Telestroke Technology is Saving Lives (and Brains): Part 1 of 2]]> https://www.americanwell.com/how-telestroke-technology-is-saving-lives-and-brains-part-1-of-2/ 2018-08-22T18:19:47Z 2017-06-14T00:00:00Z What is Telestroke Technology? Since the turn of the millennium, the United States has experienced a continuing surge in the number of stroke victims seen in hospitals across the country. According to a study released in 2015 by the American Heart Association, roughly 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke annually and an estimated […]

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What is Telestroke Technology?

Since the turn of the millennium, the United States has experienced a continuing surge in the number of stroke victims seen in hospitals across the country. According to a study released in 2015 by the American Heart Association, roughly 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke annually and an estimated 6.6 million Americans age 20 or older had experienced a stroke by 2012. In 2011 alone, strokes accounted for 1 in every 20 deaths in the US (a 35.1% increase from 2001), and on average, a death from stroke occurred roughly every 4 minutes. The study also predicts that, by 2030, an additional 3.4 million Americans age 18 or older will have experienced a stroke (a 20.5% increase from 2012).

As one would expect, this continued rise in stroke cases has created a growing need among neurologists, hospitals, etc.—for more efficient and speedy care methods for both new and recurrent stroke patients. Rising to meet this need, healthcare tech firms such as Avizia are creating new and developing “Telestroke” technologies to assist healthcare providers in their increasingly frequent battles to save the lives (and brains) of their patients.

Telestroke in Emergency DepartmentWhat is Telestroke Technology?

Telestroke technology (sometimes called “telestroke services” or “telestroke solutions”) refers to a specific type of tools and/or solutions—both hardware and software—that provide neurologists with the ability to perform immediate, real-time, and/or remote diagnosis and treatment to a stroke victim.  While this sort of technology is considered a part of the broader telemedicine spectrum, it focuses specifically on speeding up the delivery of care to stroke patients. And, when it comes to strokes, every moment matters.

Any stroke (whether ischemic, hemorrhagic, or TIA) causes immediate damage to the human brain. Every minute the patient goes without treatment, the odds of his or her recovery (and, in some cases, even survival) steadily worsen. Therefore, it is crucial that a neurologist begins treating a stroke victim as soon as possible.

In the days before telestroke, when a patient arrived at the hospital, the on-call neurologist had to be contacted and then had to physically travel to the hospital before treatment could begin. This, obviously, took precious time… time in which the patient was not able to receive a potentially lifesaving tPA or PLAT treatment.

In today’s world, however, the advancement of the internet, high resolution imaging, and digital communications has made it possible for telestroke technologies to vastly improve the speed of care. In fact, according to information from Kaiser-Permanente, they experienced a 73 percent increase in use of tPA/PLAT for patients with acute ischemic stroke after they implemented use of telestroke technology in their facilities.

In Part 2 of this blog, we will discuss the basics of telestroke programs as well as examine some of the game-changing tools and solutions that are helping to saves the lives and brains of today’s stroke victims.

Interesting in learning more? Check out this video recording of our Advancements in Telestroke webinar with Dr. Lee Schwamm, the Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Executive Vice Chairman of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telehealth Cross-State Licensure Process Now Live in 8 States]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telehealth-cross-state-licensure-process-now-live-in-8-states/ 2017-06-07T00:00:00Z 2017-06-07T00:00:00Z An initiative that closes the gap on providing rural areas with the telehealth access they need recently passed a major milestone. The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) — a plan devised by a group of state medical board executives, administrators and attorneys to provide cross-state licensure to physicians to bolster telehealth practices — saw its […]

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An initiative that closes the gap on providing rural areas with the telehealth access they need recently passed a major milestone.

Telehealth LicensureThe Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) — a plan devised by a group of state medical board executives, administrators and attorneys to provide cross-state licensure to physicians to bolster telehealth practices — saw its first eight states enact the measure. Now, medical professionals that maintain primary licensure in Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming can practice telemedicine in any of the 18 states involved in the compact. The remaining 10 states‚ Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Utah, are still preparing to accept applications for verification and background checks but currently cannot act as the state of principal licensure.

Prior to the IMLC, physicians that wanted to provide treatment via telemedicine outside of their primary state had to apply through a separate licensing process — one that varies widely between states and can take years to complete.

For additional states to join the IMLC, their state legislature must pass a bill — containing identical language as the states currently in the compact — authorizing it to do so, which then needs to be signed by the government.

This is an important step for the telehealth field, which has been seeking parity in comparison to traditional, in-person medicine since its inception. In a 2015 report, the American Hospital Association named licensure one of the major legal and regulatory challenges that could stymie telehealth adoption.

Many of the states participating in the compact contain rural populations that have less access to medical care. The National Rural Health Association reported in February that this trend will likely continue, with more than one-third of rural hospitals potentially facing financial instability in the near future, leaving 11.7 million patients at risk of losing their health care access.

The IMLC can provide these patients with convenient access to top doctors and specialists, for everything from preventative care to ongoing treatment to emergencies. This compact is a step in the right direction for a medical future democratized by telehealth.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Detecting, Treating & Recovering from Stroke: How Telemedicine Can Help!]]> https://www.americanwell.com/detecting-treating-recovering-from-stroke-how-telemedicine-can-help/ 2018-07-20T18:52:14Z 2017-06-05T00:00:00Z Knowing the early warning signs and getting rapid access to care are essential to reducing the effects of the stroke. In fact, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association equates a 4 percent improvement for every 15-minutes cut from the treatment of an ischemic stroke — the most common kind. We at Avizia want […]

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Knowing the early warning signs and getting rapid access to care are essential to reducing the effects of the stroke. In fact, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association equates a 4 percent improvement for every 15-minutes cut from the treatment of an ischemic stroke — the most common kind.

We at Avizia want to do our part to ensure that everyone is aware of the early warning signs of this cerebrovascular disruption, the benefits of using telemedicine in the event of a stroke and the steps every patient should take after receiving treatment.

Detecting a Stroke

The American Stroke Association (ASA), an affiliate of the American Heart Association (AHA), pioneered the FAST method of detection, a four-step guide to identifying a stroke. Here’s how to tell if a person is in need of help:

  1. Face Drooping — Can the person smile evenly or is half their smile drooping or numb?
  2. Arm Weakness — Does the person have difficulty raising both arms over their head? Is one arm is weak or numb?
  3. Speech Difficulty — Can the victim repeat simple phrases without slurring their words?
  4. Time to Call 911 — Patients do not have to experience every one of these symptoms to need care. If any of them are occurring, call 911 and get them to a hospital immediately.

Strokes may also present through other symptoms, like sudden confusion, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden dizziness or loss of balance, and a severe sudden headache with no known cause. Be sure to educate those you know and act quickly before the symptoms escalate.

Treating Strokes with Telemedicine

Telestroke Success Story

It is widely known in the field that when it comes to stokes, time lost is brain lost. With industry reports showing that the demand for neurologists is projected to increase from 18,180 in 2012 (11 percent shortfall) to 21,440 by 2025 (19 percent shortfall), telemedicine offers a fast, reliable solution for patients and caregivers to access the right point of care before it is too late. Aside from filling the existing provider gap, telemedicine offers numerous additional benefits in the event of a stroke, including:

  1. Time Savings — Telestroke is a highly effective tool for minimizing long-term damage from stroke and preventing death. Accessing care quickly in the event of a stroke is critical and with telestroke services specialists are never more than a click away.
  2. Cost Savings & Improved Quality of Life — According to researchers at Mayo Clinic when comparing a rurally located patient receiving routine stroke care at a community hospital, a patient treated in the context of a telestroke network incurred $1,436 lower costs and gained 0.02 quality-adjusted life-years over a lifetime.
  3. Post-Stroke Services — If you or someone you know has suffered a stroke you may need additional care or services that can be difficult to access after an event. With telemedicine, specialists can perform live video consultations and review patient medical images from any smart phone, tablet or computer with a web browser – meaning patients get the care they need when and where they need it.

 

Recovering From a Stroke

After a stroke patient has received care, it’s important they feel confident during their recovery. The ASA recommends that patients and their friends and family discuss a few important details with their health care provider to ensure the best possible recovery.

  1. Understand What Happened — Discuss with a doctor what your diagnosis was and what caused the stroke. This can help guide future visits and help the patient make lifestyle choices that fit their diagnosis.
  2. What’s Next — Could the patient have another stroke? How long should recovery and rehabilitation take? Knowing the possible physical, emotional, behavioral and communication challenges after a stroke are important to gauge the steps of recovery.
  3. Living Arrangements — Can the patient live alone? Should they take any safety precautions to prepare their home? Are there any tasks they will need help with? These answers can provide friends and family with the knowledge the need to feel secure with the patient’s path ahead.
  4. Medications — Knowing what types of medication and medical supplies a patient needs going forward is critical to ongoing care. They also need information on what their insurance covers and other ways to get help with costs.

For a complete stroke patient checklist, visit ASA’s website.

Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Knowing the signs and symptoms and providing them with quick access to care is essential to improving their prognosis.  At Avizia, we are committed to cutting down time to care, and being armed with the right information is the first step. See how Avizia is helping emergency departments access stroke neurologist hundreds of miles away.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Mental Health Awareness Month: Telehealth Addresses Escalating Needs]]> https://www.americanwell.com/mental-health-awareness-month-telehealth-addresses-escalating-needs/ 2018-08-22T18:23:28Z 2017-05-31T00:00:00Z Mental Health Awareness Month has a nearly 70-year history of informing the public about one of the biggest medical issues affecting the country. And while the mental health field has made great strides to destigmatize its services, the numbers prove that a trip to the therapist’s office is still out of reach for many patients […]

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Mental Health Awareness Month has a nearly 70-year history of informing the public about one of the biggest medical issues affecting the country. And while the mental health field has made great strides to destigmatize its services, the numbers prove that a trip to the therapist’s office is still out of reach for many patients in need of care.

The Journal of the American Medical Association found that one-third of adults that screen positive for depression have never received treatment. While there are countless reasons why people skip making an appointment, part of the blame lies with lack of access to mental care.

As of March 2012, nearly 91 million people live in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area. These staggering numbers are backed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who estimate 55 percent of rural counties have no psychologists, psychiatrists or social workers.

This is a problem that telehealth can help address.

A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that tele-psychiatry is just as effective as in-room psychotherapy regimes. Certainly for rural populations, telehealth is often the only way to access mental and behavioral health care, but for busy people on the go, getting an hour out of their week each week to talk to a therapist can also be difficult. If these patients could get the same benefits as an in-person appointment from the comfort of their own couch, it could give them the opportunity to access the care they need.

In addition to planned telehealth visits with a psychiatrist or psychologist, telemedicine for behavior health could help fill the critical psychiatric care gap at rural emergency departments. These patients are often admitted to the hospital and wait for a specialist, or are transferred to a regional facility where a specialist can address their needs. These unnecessary admissions and transfers are costly to hospitals and result in longer wait times for patients in need of immediate care.

In a nation where one in five adults experience a mental health issue in a given year, addressing the mental health care gap is critical to providing the services these patients need. Whether these patients are in rural areas or are just having difficulty carving out time for an in-person visit, telehealth can provide a quick, easy-to-use solution to ensure they are getting the mental health services they need.

Avizia is empowering hospitals and health systems to offer tele-behavioral health consultations from mental health professionals to quickly deliver care to patients presenting in an emergency department or other medical settings. As a result, hospitals are lowering their costs while patients are gaining immediate access to better quality care.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Telemedicine: A cure for physician burnout?]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7198 2017-05-25T14:50:30Z 2017-05-25T14:48:13Z Original article posted on KevinMD.com At the end of my daughter’s first week of preschool, she came home with a burning question: “Mom, my friend at school says that she has two days in a row when she and her mommy and daddy are all home at the same time. They call it a weekend. […]

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Original article posted on KevinMD.com

At the end of my daughter’s first week of preschool, she came home with a burning question: “Mom, my friend at school says that she has two days in a row when she and her mommy and daddy are all home at the same time. They call it a weekend. Will we ever have a weekend?”

I was floored. That simple question encapsulated the only life she had known as a doctor’s daughter. In the four years since she was born, she had never had a consistent, secure time when I would be home. I had her while I was still in residency, and 80-hour workweeks were more common than 40-hour ones. When I graduated from residency, in an effort to spend more time with my family, I took a shift work position in a hospital. Working 12- and 24-hour shifts meant that I could be home on my off days, but it also meant that nights, weekends, and holidays were all fair game. In addition, driving to the hospital required significant commuting time; my drive home after a 24-hour shift could easily be over an hour, compounding my exhaustion. Read the full article here

If you’re interested in practicing telehealth, click here to learn more!

Frustrated doctor sitting in hospital waiting area

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Licensing and Credentialing in Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/licensing-and-credentialing-in-telehealth/ 2018-07-19T19:29:14Z 2017-05-16T12:00:00Z In the world of telehealth, licensing and credentialing issues are amongst the initial concerns many health systems have when considering integrating telemedicine into their system. As state medical and nursing boards require providers to be licensed to practice in the state where the patient is physically located, a simplified process is essential. The Interstate Medical […]

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In the world of telehealth, licensing and credentialing issues are amongst the initial concerns many health systems have when considering integrating telemedicine into their system. As state medical and nursing boards require providers to be licensed to practice in the state where the patient is physically located, a simplified process is essential.

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact is a streamlined process that allows physicians already licensed to practice in one state that is participating in the compact, to become licensed in other states participating in the compact without going through the full licensure process. There is a nursing compact for RNs interested in streamlining the licensing process as well. The purpose behind these compacts is to make it easier for physicians and nurses to obtain licenses in other states in order to increase accessible healthcare to individuals in underserved and/or rural areas. It also assists in the overall ease of consulting with a medical professional through telemedicine to the general population.

As telehealth continues to grow as an industry, more of these resources and innovative payment models will begin to surface. Here are three of the most common questions asked regarding licensing and credentialing for telehealth:

Do telemedicine providers have to be licensed in the state where their patients are?

Yes. States do require providers to be licensed in each state that they practice in, which means it is essential for them to know which state the patient is calling from to verify that they can indeed participate in the virtual visit. The physical location of the provider is not considered an important factor in regards to where they are licensed, though this varies state-to-state.

What is Credentialing?

Credentialing is the process of evaluating and verifying the qualifications of physicians, nurses, organizational members, or organizations’ current licensure and assessing their background and legitimacy. This process tends to be completed by the organization that will bill for the provider’s services.

Do telemedicine providers have to be credentialed? If so, where?

Telemedicine provider credentialing requirements are usually based on the source of payment the patient chooses to use for the service. Whether or not the provider must be credentialed at the facility where they are located while practicing is typically specific to the type of facility and what the rules and guidelines are for that facility. Providers do generally need to be credentialed at the facility where the patient is located as well.

These questions are just a starting point. To learn more about licensing, credentialing, and the ever-changing telemedicine landscape, visit the Center for Connected Health Policy.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[ATA President’s Award Winners: Pushing the needle in telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7138 2017-05-02T16:31:45Z 2017-05-02T16:31:45Z Originally published on MedCity News One is a father who knew there had to be a way to remotely diagnose his daughter’s chronic ear infections. Another is a metropolitan healthcare system expanding its reach through virtual care. There are telehealth advocates working to promote the field across the country, and a team of experts spreading […]

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Originally published on MedCity News

One is a father who knew there had to be a way to remotely diagnose his daughter’s chronic ear infections. Another is a metropolitan healthcare system expanding its reach through virtual care. There are telehealth advocates working to promote the field across the country, and a team of experts spreading the word to pediatrics.

These are the winners of this year’s American Telemedicine Association President’s Awards, which recognize substantial contributions in telehealth advancement. Discover how the awardees are propelling telehealth forward by reading the full article here.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Employee Spotlight]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7122 2017-04-24T16:39:55Z 2017-04-24T16:39:55Z Name: Ian Ives Title: Visual Design Manager Start Date: December 27, 2016 What attracted you to American Well? American Well is changing the way we think about healthcare – in a revolutionary way – and I’m excited to be a part of it! For the first time, anyone with a mobile device or computer can […]

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Name: Ian Ives

Title: Visual Design Manager

Start Date: December 27, 2016

What attracted you to American Well?

American Well is changing the way we think about healthcare – in a revolutionary way – and I’m excited to be a part of it! For the first time, anyone with a mobile device or computer can have access to high quality care at a fraction of the cost of a traditional in-person doctor visit. Additionally, doctors can collaborate peer-to-peer on the American Well platform using multiway video visits – even bringing patients into the visits to provide the best possible care. As a visual designer, I’m on the team that creates the graphics, user-interface, and user-experience of a virtual doctor’s visit, as well as designs strategic presentations for investors, partners and clients.

What were you doing before you came to American Well?

Before coming to American Well, I worked as a communications designer at a financial firm. My job involved creating and designing presentations for the CEO, executive team and strategic clients. I would often meet and consult with presenters to help “bring their presentation to life,” and ensure their message and story were clear. I also worked on various mobile app mock-ups, digital design, and print design for posters, signage, awards, brochures, logos, etc.

What does a day in the life of a visual design manager at American Well look like?

As a visual designer at American Well, I work closely with the Corporate Development team to create presentations that not only visually dazzle our clients and strategic partners, but also provide critical information about telehealth in an easy-to-understand, digestible way. Since telehealth can have a broad range of use cases across the healthcare industry, it’s important for us to communicate our vision for the future of telehealth as clearly and succinctly as possible.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I was born and raised just outside of Boston (in the suburb of Newton), which means I’m an addict for all things Patriots and Red Sox. My wife and I are big foodies, so we’re constantly looking for new restaurants off the beaten path. We love to travel and explore new, exotic locations around the world – although nothing beats a relaxing day at the beach, with a Corona and lime in hand. I’ve gotten into boxing the past few years, and love it for the workout and stress relief. I still try to play pick-up lacrosse and soccer games whenever I can.

Have you used American Well’s direct-to-consumer app, Amwell?

My dad and I used the app after his knee replacement. He was worried because he could feel – and hear – an uncomfortable “clicking” in his knee when he tried to walk. Since it was the weekend, and since he was still recovering from the surgery, we wanted to avoid traveling to the hospital for an in-person visit. The Amwell app was perfect for this situation. He loved the doctor, and found out the “clicking” was completely normal, and even got exercise tips on how to strengthen his knee.

What are your thoughts on the ways healthcare is changing and what we can expect to see in the future?

I believe telehealth will become deeply embedded into our everyday lives. New consumer healthcare devices that are being released can display your health data on your mobile phone, and integrate seamlessly into your daily life. In the not-so-distant future, data from these healthcare devices could alert us to the risk of an imminent heart attack, a genetic predisposition to diseases, and more! The possibilities are endless, and the technology needed for this kind of care is available today, which is why this is such an exciting time in the healthcare industry.

When you talk about telehealth and your role here with friends and family, what do you say?

I tell my friends and family that I’m designing the future of healthcare. I explain to them the American Well suite of products, how they work, and how they benefit everyone who uses them. The response I get is always a unanimous, “Of course! That’s so obvious, why isn’t telehealth the universal standard of healthcare?” I tell them not to worry, it will be soon! I believe the hallmark of a revolutionary idea is how “obvious” it seems at first. When it’s finally implemented and becomes a staple in daily life, those same people will be saying, “How did we ever live without this?”

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[How telehealth has enhanced Cleveland Clinic’s value-based care strategy]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7079 2017-04-07T17:36:40Z 2017-04-07T17:36:40Z Matt Stanton, senior director of distance health at Cleveland Clinic, discussed how Cleveland Clinic incorporated telehealth into its spectrum of care and services.

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Originally posted by Becker’s Hospital Review

Interest in the telehealth industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with 78.5 percent of healthcare consumers reporting they would be comfortable interacting with a physician via online video or online chat, according to a 2016 report out of the Aloft Group — even if almost half of respondents were still not familiar with the term “telemedicine.”

As reimbursement models uphold outcomes over volume of services rendered, hospitals are tasked to improve the health of the populations they serve both within and outside of their walls. Given its capacity to reach patients in their homes, provide early intervention and care for minor conditions and alleviate overutilization of hospitals’ emergency rooms, telemedicine has become an integral part of many hospitals’ core patient access strategy.

In a recent webinar, Matt Stanton, senior director of distance health at Cleveland Clinic, and Danielle Russella, president of customer solutions at American Well, discussed how Cleveland Clinic incorporated telehealth into its spectrum of care and services.

In September 2014, Cleveland Clinic partnered with American Well to deliver urgent care via telehealth. The partnership set out to increase patient access to care, support Cleveland Clinic’s transition to value-based care, improve efficiency and expand the system’s reach to new patients.

“Part of this is about expanding our access and our reach, around the world, without having to build buildings all the time,” Mr. Stanton said. “We recognize that’s not a long-term sustainable strategy, to keep building hospitals.”

How to determine where to implement telemedicine
Although Cleveland Clinic’s partnership with American Well began with urgent care, it has since expanded to cover a range of services, from specialty follow-up care to remote second opinions.

“We’ve seen that the real value of telehealth goes well beyond urgent care,” Ms. Russella said of the services American Well offers, which include patient-to-provider and provider-to-provider interaction. “We’ve watched and influenced how our clients have taken our infrastructure to market. In the early days, it was specifically with urgent care. Today, it’s with all kinds of care.”

Postoperative follow-up care, home care, chronic care and behavioral healthcare are all areas ripe for remote intervention. For chronic care, in particular, Cleveland Clinic has seen success with a few different initiatives.

The hospital is nearing the end of a six-month hypertension pilot project, during which roughly 100 patients would track data from remote monitoring devices at home. That data was integrated with Cleveland Clinic’s telehealth platform. Providers could then view these vital signs, such as blood pressure, during scheduled virtual visits, to help patients manage their care.

“I do think urgent care is a good place to get started,” Mr. Stanton said, “but in thinking about where you would go outside of urgent care, I think this is where telemedicine really becomes part of the fabric of healthcare.”

Telemedicine helps health systems foster innovation
Incorporating telemedicine into a health system’s strategy presents opportunity to create innovative tools to support population health management. For example, Cleveland Clinic is working to develop an app for patients with chronic back pain. Once complete, the app will be introduced to patients who come to the ER with low back pain. Instead of immediately referring such patients to specialists, they can use the app to learn exercises that can help relieve their pain and also track any improvements in their pain level over time. With such tools, patients are empowered to address their condition at home.

“I think this is where providers need to be thinking about using telemedicine, if we really want to make a difference in our patients’ lives,” Mr. Stanton said of Cleveland Clinic’s expansion into experimental modes of remote care.

Three factors for a successful telehealth program

1. Staff engagement. To build a shared understanding of the role and value of telehealth with the clinical team, Mr. Stanton suggested reaching out to medical staff directly.

“We do have make sure everybody on the team understands why we’re doing this, why it’s good for patients and what exactly the process is going to be,” he explained. “There is no staff meeting that is too early in the morning or too late at night to show up at and present the concept.”

Along with staff outreach, Mr. Stanton highlighted how Cleveland Clinic’s CEO has been a strong proponent of virtual healthcare, and has been strongly encouraging department chairs to integrate it into their services.

“In my opinion, it really comes down to the physician, nurse and administrator,” Mr. Stanton said. “Without any one of these three people being excited about doing this, invariably it becomes very difficult to get it launched.”

2. EMR integration. When Cleveland Clinic first launched its telehealth program, physicians scheduled e-visits without EMR integration. This posed an issue for physicians who were looking to bring information from the virtual visits into their patient notes.

Today, Cleveland Clinic’s EMR supports scheduling on the telehealth platform, and automatically inputs data into patients’ medical records based on information they provide online. The EMR has also integrated revenue cycle management capabilities, to help streamline patient payments.

“Once we got our scheduled integration done with our EMR, it enormously increased our ability to get departments launched and eliminated all sorts of training we had to do for front desk personnel,” Mr. Stanton explained.

3. Patient awareness. One of the main drivers of growth for the telehealth program also took the form of increasing patient awareness of virtual healthcare services — which often fell under the purview of marketing.

“I wouldn’t underestimate the amount of awareness that you have to build on the patient side,” Mr. Stanton said. “There’s a fair amount of talking to them about why this is appropriate for them and that we’re only using this in situations where we feel that it’s clinically appropriate, but I think all of that is going to evolve as this becomes a more visible part of the healthcare system.”

To drive patient awareness, Cleveland Clinic launched a few different marketing campaigns, including email outreach. Outside of more traditional marketing attempts, Cleveland Clinic also debuted a telehealth-focused advertisement during this past February’s Super Bowl LI, which Mr. Stanton said led to a spike in traffic on the hospital’s website and app.

Through developing innovative remote services and building awareness among providers and patients, hospitals like Cleveland Clinic are able to deploy and establish successful telehealth programs. As outcomes continue to determine an increasing share of reimbursement under value-based payment models, a comprehensive telehealth strategy will continue to help healthcare organizations stay competitive.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Adopting Telehealth to Meet Your Health System’s Goals]]> https://www.americanwell.com/adopting-telehealth-to-meet-your-health-systems-goals/ 2018-07-18T19:22:12Z 2017-04-06T12:00:00Z Avizia has helped many health systems explore the ways technology can expand their service offering. Each organization comes to this exercise with their own unique set of priorities. But all must align their investment in technology with their current and future business goals. To help our partners do this effectively, we’ve developed a set of critical […]

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Avizia has helped many health systems explore the ways technology can expand their service offering. Each organization comes to this exercise with their own unique set of priorities. But all must align their investment in technology with their current and future business goals.

To help our partners do this effectively, we’ve developed a set of critical questions. Crystal-clear answers to these questions are required for a successful telehealth implementation:

  • What goals are we trying to achieve?
  • What metrics will we use to measure success?
  • Are we using telehealth to virtualize a practice or virtualize our health system?
  • How can we integrate telehealth in the continuum of patient experience?
  • How can telehealth extend our efforts to manage and coordinate care?

Our partner, HSHS Medical Group, understood how important these questions are to the success of their virtual clinic. Clarity of purpose was an essential first step for our partnership with them; their strategic goals for the virtual clinic shaped the design and operation of the service:

Their goals:

  • Grow their affiliated patient population in Illinois and Wisconsin
  • Meet consumer and corporate buyer needs with an innovative service
  • Educate staff on the inclusion of telemedicine to better meet consumer needs

These goals determined specific design requirements for their virtual clinic and shaped HSHS’s commitment for system-wide adoption.

To grow their patient population, we had to create a virtual care program that included robust support for digital and traditional marketing to generate awareness of and reasons why to use the service, and to optimize the consumer experience to eliminate friction for consumers seeking care. To that end, the virtual clinic was operated entirely under the HSHS Medical Group. Consumers recognize a familiar community institution in the branding, letting them know that this is clinical care they can trust.

To meet consumer and corporate buyer needs, the virtual clinic needed to serve distinct patient populations with experiences configured for their unique needs. HSHS created access for consumers in their service area with a virtual clinic entry point open to the public. HSHS also offered the service to local employers extending virtual care access to their employees as a benefit. This flexible design on the front-end of the virtual clinic serves each populations’ needs while maximizing efficiencies within clinic operations.

Incorporating a new offering to HSHS’s list of services wasn’t complete without educating staff on the importance of the virtual clinic. Through grassroots efforts—lunch and learns, newsletter communications, and collateral—HSHS educated staff on how this new offering could extend their reach and more importantly provide patients with convenient access to its services.

To truly adopt the benefits of the virtual clinic, HSHS decided to offer a virtual clinic program for employees showing them the value of virtual care. This inclusion of telemedicine created employee advocates and helped increase patient utilization by more than 50%.

Learn more about their virtual care program by listening to their recent webinar with Becker’s Hospital Review.

Virtual clinics can support many value propositions for health systems, but achievement of their full impact depends on alignment of the service to your top priorities. Regardless of the avenue a health system takes in executing virtual care into their organization, these strategic questions are vital for methodical planning and strategizing in order to achieve overall success and longevity of a virtual clinic.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[What is Telehealth?]]> https://www.americanwell.com/what-is-telehealth/ 2017-03-30T12:00:00Z 2017-03-30T12:00:00Z Telehealth is a healthcare-delivery method that connects patients with medical providers through everyday communication tools and purpose-built technology solutions. Patients can access medical care wherever they may be (ie. hospital, clinic, work, home, school, etc.) using their phone, computer or specailized devices in their doctor’s office, clinic or hospital.  Telehealth is a hardware and software solution […]

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Telehealth is a healthcare-delivery method that connects patients with medical providers through everyday communication tools and purpose-built technology solutions. Patients can access medical care wherever they may be (ie. hospital, clinic, work, home, school, etc.) using their phone, computer or specailized devices in their doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. 

Telehealth is a hardware and software solution

Telehealth is a broad field that includes both software and hardware-based medical approaches for urgent, tele-stroke and tele-psych treatment. Other disciplines also include physical therapy, home health, counseling, and consumer education.

Telehealth generally falls under two approaches:

  • Asynchronous. A static messaging service that enables email and text messages to be delivered securely between patients and providers. The patient sends their chief complaint through email or text and the provider then has time to research and prepare a treatment plan for the patient. Or a provider captures information to be reviewed by care teams to prepare a diagnosis and treatment plan. 
  • Synchronous. A real-time communications service that enables phone or video conferencing between patients and providers. A patient and provider can connect with a face-to-face without having to be in the same physical location. 
    • Scheduled and Unscheduled Communication — Synchronous solutions can provide patients with the option to access a provider at their time of need through unscheduled 24/7 on-demand care. Or, virtual visits can be scheduled on the patient’s terms with the visit time and provider that works best for them.

Avizia’s Anytime Virtual Clinic offers a synchronous software solution to health systems that wish to extend their practice outside the four walls of a hospital or clinic with video and telephone conferencing.

Avizia’s software is white-lableled, ensuring the virtual clinic is a natural extension of the health system’s brand, mission, and service. The goal is to connect consumers to their trusted providers.

The configurable implementation process, which includes clinical and business workflows and design, allows health systems to launch a virtual clinic platform that meets the needs of their unique market in as little as 60 days.

Telehealth is a human solution

Integrated telehealth is not an automated service or a healthcare algorithm. It is technology that enables real-time communication between a patient and a live provider.

  • Prioritizing customer experience. Patients have control of their healthcare with the ability to request care 24/7/365 online or over the phone. Patient concierge staff guide patients through the phone intake process and can re-direct patients to in-person care in the event of an emergency.
  • Flexible staffing. Hybrid clinical staffing allows health-system providers to see patients virtually and enlist support from Avizia-employed providers during after-hours or at peak utilization times.
  • High quality care and integration. Clinical and business workflows, designed by the health system, along with Avizia’s Virtual Practice Guidelines (VPGs) support the entire virtual visit process to effectively treat patients and determine whether a diagnosis can safely be made in a virtual setting. Seamless integration allows the virtual clinic to be securely embedded in a health system’s operations giving providers the ability to push and pull patient data and operate all visits based on a health system’s standards. 

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[How telehealth devices can complement virtual care]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=7025 2017-03-10T15:39:09Z 2017-03-10T15:38:32Z Telehealth devices can be integrated into telehealth technology to better the patient and provider experience.

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In the last few years, many companies have begun to integrate telehealth technology into healthcare devices. These devices, aimed at remote patient monitoring or biometric tracking, can provide physicians with important information and context during a video visit, and allow consumers to use telehealth for many different healthcare needs.

Here are a few notable telehealth devices that have integrated telehealth technology to better the patient and provider experience:

  • Tyto Care: Tyto’s health devices, built for remote patient monitoring, allow patients to conduct in-home medical examinations during a telehealth visit with a physician. These all-in-one devices include a built-in thermometer and camera for taking pictures and videos; stethoscope; otoscope; and tongue depressor attachments for examining the heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose and throat.
  • American Well’s telehealth kiosk: Telehealth kiosks can be used in office, retail and hospital settings to
    help patients access high-quality care while simultaneously reducing healthcare costs. The telehealth kiosks include a variety of peripheral devices such as an otoscope, stethoscope and blood pressure cuff.

  • Apple Health Kit: Patients can share key health metrics such as heart rate and blood pressure, as well as nutrition and fitness information with a doctor through their iPhone device. This information can then be shared with the doctor during a video visit.
  • 19Labs: 19Labs has created a smart first aid kit, which includes medical supplies, interactive first aid guides , phone capabilities (to call family, friends or help), and now, with the implementation of American Well’s mobile SDK, telehealth. The device, Gale, is perfect for schools, homes and work sites.

Telehealth devices like these directly complement the types of conditions and use cases consumers envision for telehealth. In fact, an American Well survey found that of those willing to have a doctor visit, 60% would want to use virtual visits to manage a chronic condition. This is extremely important as 1 in 2 U.S adults have a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease.[1] Devices like a Tyto device or an iPhone with Apple Health Kit can track a patient’s biometrics and allow for a more informed check-in with their provider via telehealth.

The consumer survey also found that consumers prefer telehealth for its convenience.  Over three quarters of those willing to have a video visit would like to use it for the minor routine need of a prescription refill. Telehealth devices like kiosks, Tyto and 19Labs Gale offer consumers a convenient way to see a physician for these types of needs, while still providing vital clinical information and history.

To read more on consumer perspectives and experiences with telehealth, download the full Telehealth Index: 2017 Consumer Survey here.

[1] Telehealth Primer: Chronic Care Management, The Advisory Board Company, September 2015

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Are you ready to become the hospital of the future?]]> https://www.americanwell.com/are-you-ready-to-become-the-hospital-of-the-future/ 2018-07-19T17:20:45Z 2017-03-08T00:00:00Z Featured In: HIT Leaders and News Written By: Jackie Busch, Vice President of Clinical Services, Avizia Not surprisingly, the hospital of the future will require technology solutions like telehealth to meet growing patient demands for remote access to health information and providers. While technology will ultimately help provide better care, it will undoubtedly change the […]

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Featured In: HIT Leaders and News
Jackie Busch, Vice President of Clinical Services, Avizia

Not surprisingly, the hospital of the future will require technology solutions like telehealth to meet growing patient demands for remote access to health information and providers. While technology will ultimately help provide better care, it will undoubtedly change the day-to-day roles and responsibilities of IT teams, executives, and clinicians.

If hospital executives and providers want to be successful in the changing healthcare climate, they will need to take an interdisciplinary approach to care coordination and internal communication, working across all departments. The hospital of the future won’t be the hospital you grew up going to, but with all the promise technology can bring – improving the patient experience and driving down costs – that might be a good thing. Here is how we see the provider climate evolving and what that means for the day-to-day roles providers will have to play. 

Hospital IT: Driving change

In today’s hospital, IT teams are in charge of driving innovation and making the technology decisions. IT teams are working on the forefront of change, but in some instances, they seem siloed from clinicians, making the implementation of new technology difficult. In Avizia’s “Closing the Telehealth Gap” report, 25 percent of respondents cited clinician resistance as the main barrier to implementing telehealth.

Since the hospital of the future will be driven by new technologies, IT teams will have an important role to play. IT staff will be expected to take on more of a leadership role and will be charged with working alongside clinicians to help them implement new technologies. In the future, expect IT teams to become an integral part of both the leadership and clinical teams. They will not only drive innovation, but help put it into practice. 

Hospital executives: Bridging the divide

As the decision makers for their hospitals, executives have the final say on which technologies are implemented and across which service lines. By focusing on the adoption of enterprise capable clinical solutions, technology can help hospital executives with the challenges they may face in the future, including physician shortages. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, we will face a shortage of up to 90,000 physicians by 2025. To minimize the impact to your organization, you’ll need to look to technologies like telehealth and remote patient monitoring to avoid coverage pitfalls many executives may face. The good news is that many companies now offer end-to-end, scalable coverage and telehealth platforms.

Overall, executives in the hospital of the future will work in a more connected hospital with secure apps and messaging as part of an enterprise-wide care collaboration model. This will enable them to make informed decisions and meet the demands of patient care while improving clinical workflow and clinician engagement.

Future executives can expect to have the ability to check the pulse of their entire hospital with the click of a button.

Clinicians: Becoming the advocate for change

Over the past few years, clinicians have faced a number of changes to their daily jobs, from EHRs to ICD-10 to new technologies like telehealth. Sadly, these changes are beginning to have a negative effect on the physicians’ perception of the workplace. According to a recent report from Geneia, clinician job satisfaction is on the decline, with 78 percent feeling rushed to see patients and two-thirds reporting knowing a clinician with job burnout. With more demands on their time, clinicians are hesitant to implement any new technology that does not easily incorporate into their workflow, are difficult to use, or have limited value add. This resistance can end new technology implementation before it even begins.

To be successful in the hospital of the future clinicians will need to be engaged in a way that encourages advocacy of technology, not resistance. As part of an interdisciplinary team, that includes working closely with a hospital’s IT team to explain the difficulties of using new technologies and working together to find solutions that can seamlessly integrate into their daily work. In the future, technology will be tailored to meet their specific needs, ultimately allowing them to spend more time with patients and less time with paperwork.

In the hospital of the future, technologies like telehealth will no longer be a “nice to have” but will become an integral part of care delivery. Exciting opportunities that will revolutionize care are just on the horizon, but creating a technology-friendly, and focused mindset in your hospital is the first critical step.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Avizia CEO Mike Baird Sees Telemedicine Perched at the Start of a Supernova of Healthcare Innovation]]> https://www.americanwell.com/avizia-ceo-mike-baird-sees-telemedicine-perched-at-the-start-of-a-supernova-of-healthcare-innovation/ 2017-03-08T00:00:00Z 2017-03-08T00:00:00Z Published By: Break Health Podcast Steve Krupa, host of the Breaking Health Podcast, delves deep into Avizia’s history and its approach to developing the right products for hospitals. How does it identify the features providers want, as well as those they may not know they even need? Listen to find out! Avizia was acquired by American […]

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Published By: Break Health Podcast

Steve Krupa, host of the Breaking Health Podcast, delves deep into Avizia’s history and its approach to developing the right products for hospitals.

How does it identify the features providers want, as well as those they may not know they even need? Listen to find out!

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Why I Switched to Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6963 2017-03-30T19:27:53Z 2017-02-15T16:57:12Z Dr. Stephen Matta began his medical journey in 2010 when he started his family medicine residency. An avid sports fan, Dr. Matta then decided to pursue a sports medicine fellowship, and eventually ended up working in an urgent care setting. One day while Dr. Matta was working, the patient he was treating mentioned that she […]

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Dr. Stephen Matta began his medical journey in 2010 when he started his family medicine residency. An avid sports fan, Dr. Matta then decided to pursue a sports medicine fellowship, and eventually ended up working in an urgent care setting.

One day while Dr. Matta was working, the patient he was treating mentioned that she had recently received care from a doctor online. This intrigued Dr. Matta, and he began researching online care and decided to try it out for himself. He soon realized that he found his place in medicine – telehealth.

We recently caught up with Dr. Matta to find out why he adopted telehealth, and what he’s learned from the experience:

What about telehealth interested you the most?

There were two main reasons I was interested in telehealth. One, I am fairly tech savvy and loved the idea of seeing patients online. Second, I have two young children and was looking for a flexible schedule that would allow me to spend more time with my kids. When I learned about telemedicine, I realized this was a way I could see my kids every day and still get to do what I love.

Additionally, in the recent world of medicine, there has been a dire need for a service like telehealth. Telehealth is a unique form of healthcare that can transform the way we receive acute care. There is this misconception that telehealth is trying to replace our already established healthcare practices, but this is not the case. Telemedicine is simply a new dimension of care that can complement existing brick-and-mortar practice.

Was it difficult for you to adjust to seeing patients online?

I love seeing patients in the way that they are looking to be served. I really enjoy being able to care for patients when they most need care. If a patient needs to see a doctor at 8pm on a Saturday night, we are there for them, and other than the ER, no one else does that. Seeing patients via video is not very different from speaking with a patient in person – you’re still face to face, just not in the same room.

Has seeing patients online affected your doctor-patient relationships?

With telehealth, I am spending 90% of my time with patients and that is why most of us got into medicine – to help people. In brick-and-mortar care, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and bogged down with paperwork. Now that I am practicing medicine online, the paperwork is at an all-time low.

Thanks to our follow-up feature, it’s easy to form relationships with patients. It also eliminates the hassle of scheduling a follow-up. We can tell the patient to schedule a follow-up in two weeks and give them our schedule for that week. Then, the patient can log onto the system whenever is best for them– the patient has all of the scheduling power.

How do shifts and scheduling work?

Our scheduling team does a phenomenal job accommodating the doctors’ needs. They want to make the experience just as easy for us as it is for our patients. Shifts get scheduled in four-hour blocks, but you do have some flexibility with scheduling those blocks each week, which is really nice.

Is the technology hard to use?

Speaking to someone through video communications is a part of our daily lives, so I don’t really consider this transition a huge step. The technology itself is very intuitive and easy to use, and everything is in one place. You can see the patient, prescribe medication, and add patient information all from one page.

How does prescribing via telehealth work?

On the platform, you can search for a prescription, enter in in the proper dosage and then electronically and automatically send the script to the patient’s chosen pharmacy.

What was telemedicine training like?

The training made me feel confident in my decision to work in telehealth, and covered everything from how to use the system to best clinical practices for telehealth.  It also allowed me to conduct mock visits so I could get comfortable before treating real patients.

Can you get malpractice coverage?

Amwell covers malpractice, which I think is a game changer. Adding telemedicine to your existing malpractice can be difficult, but getting it through Amwell is easy.

What advice do you have for physicians interested in telehealth?

Get used to talking to people via video. This is perhaps the most important part of the service. If we want your patients to be comfortable on the platform, you need to be confident recommending it. There is no substitute for hands-on experience.

What is your biggest takeaway from practicing telehealth?

I didn’t realize how much traveling was affecting my levels of satisfaction and happiness. When I was working in urgent care, days would go by where I wouldn’t even get to see my kids. Now, I get to spend much more time with my family.

Healthcare is meant to be about the patient, but now we can have it both ways. Telehealth saves time and is convenient for patients, but it’s great for doctors, too.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[50M Americans would switch their PCP to a doctor who offers telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6893 2017-01-23T14:34:45Z 2017-01-23T14:34:45Z American Well has published a new eBook – the latest in our Telehealth Index Series. We ran a nationally projectable survey with Harris Poll in late 2016 to measure the latest in consumers’ perceptions and experience with telemedicine. The survey, which surveyed over 4,000  individuals, took a close look at consumers’ outlook on telehealth and […]

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American Well has published a new eBook – the latest in our Telehealth Index Series. We ran a nationally projectable survey with Harris Poll in late 2016 to measure the latest in consumers’ perceptions and experience with telemedicine.

The survey, which surveyed over 4,000  individuals, took a close look at consumers’ outlook on telehealth and how they want to use telehealth to access healthcare. Our findings exposed important implications for industry players across the board –health systems, health plans, employers and brokers.

To read the eBook in its entirety, click here. Below are some of the highlights:

Consumers are delaying needed care

Today, 67% of consumers say they have delayed seeking care for a health problem. Consumers delay needed care because of high costs, long waits, and busy schedules. Delaying care for serious health concerns can have costly ramifications for the patient and healthcare provider.

Video visits offer a viable solution

Two thirds of Americans are willing to see a doctor over video, a trend that has been increasing in recent years. Not only are consumers willing to see a doctor over video, they believe video results in the most accurate diagnosis by a doctor when offered the following three options – video, telephone and email.

Patients want to see physicians who offer video visits

Consumers now want to see their own primary care physician via telemedicine. Consumers trust their own doctor and want to be able to access them more easily. Importantly, if their current PCP does not offer video visits, 1 in 5 Americans would switch to a PCP that does.

Consumers see many applications for telehealth

Our survey found that consumers want to use telehealth in a multitude of ways. The top applications we found were as follows:

  • Chronic care condition
  • Post-surgical or hospital stay follow-up
  • Middle of the night care
  • Elderly care
  • Prescription refills
  • Birth control

Download the eBook today for all the findings and corresponding market implications.

* Numbers were calculated in the following way: 323M (U.S. Population, U.S. Census Bureau, 2016) x 77% (U.S. Population Age 18+, U.S. Census Bureau, 2016) x 20% (Consumers with a PCP who would switch PCP for video visits, American Well 2017 Consumer Survey) = 50M

318M (U.S. Population, U.S. Census Bureau, 2014) x 77% (U.S. Population Age 18+, U.S. Census Bureau, 2014) x 7% (Consumers with a PCP who would switch PCP for video visits, American Well 2015 Consumer Survey) = 17M

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Telemedicine for population health: The future of telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6887 2017-01-19T19:34:37Z 2017-01-19T19:34:37Z As hospitals and health systems move toward a fee-for-value payment structure, the focus of care delivery has shifted drastically from more visits to quality outcomes. Population health has become instrumental in managing patients in risk contracts. Telemedicine solutions are a clear way to address population health management challenges. Advisory Board analyst Peter Kilbridge recently shared […]

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As hospitals and health systems move toward a fee-for-value payment structure, the focus of care delivery has shifted drastically from more visits to quality outcomes. Population health has become instrumental in managing patients in risk contracts. Telemedicine solutions are a clear way to address population health management challenges.

Advisory Board analyst Peter Kilbridge recently shared his thoughts on how provider-to-provider telemedicine use cases are increasing, and highlighted the promise they hold for population health management.  The Advisory Board shared that:

“Telehealth eye exams are popular among diabetic patients, have been shown to be highly effective, and are increasing in use. A Canadian study reported the successful use of image and email-based telemedicine for orthopedic consultation for 1,000 patients for mild-to-moderately severe fractures, saving patients thousands of miles of travel. Other uses include remote eye screening for retinopathy of prematurity, support for pediatric transport, conduct of remote sleep studies, remote support for pediatric asthma, and others.”

By adopting virtual care solutions, providers can manage health outcomes across a population of patients. Here are a few ways that telehealth can help.

1. Increase access to care

Telemedicine allows providers to treat patients in their home, thus reducing unnecessary travel time for patients. Telehealth allows care managers and health coaches to talk to patients about chronic disease management, while promoting in-office visits for high-acuity cases. Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin is expanding its virtual care services and envisions using telemedicine to deliver obesity counseling to at-risk youth, provide support to its diabetic population to monitor blood sugar, and to offer medication counseling. For follow-up appointments, providers can save time by seeing patients virtually. Through a self-scheduling functionality, patients can see a provider at the time of need. This expansion of access is made possible by the convenience of telehealth for patients.

2. Make care more effective

Telehealth connects patients and primary care practitioners to specialists, and offers the opportunity to bridge gaps in care. Specialists can be included in a virtual consult via a Telemed Tablet, or through features such as Multiway video. Nemours, based in Orlando, offers school nurses at special needs schools the ability to connect to pediatricians via the Telemed Tablet. Nurses can always get additional support or a second opinion, and pediatricians can see what’s going on via video and offer guidance or follow-up treatment.

A health system with an on-demand virtual care service can refer a patient who has a video visit to a specialist within their system. When patients have more access points to a health system, the potential for more complete care increases.

3. Engage patients

Engagement is a key benefit of telehealth. NewYork-Presbyterian recently introduced NYP OnDemand, which allows patients to take advantage of video visits for both urgent care and follow-up care directly through it NYP app (using American Well’s SDK). Its providers can use telehealth for outreach, reminders, and pre-visit planning. Patients can have a routine check-up prior to a procedure, or a standard follow-up appointment after the procedure is complete. Even in a small geographical area like the greater New York area, getting patients to adhere to recommended visits can be a challenge. Telehealth offers a solution that ensures more patients get the care they need.

Interested in learning more about how telemedicine is applied to population health management? Download the Southwest Medical case study to learn how this Las Vegas-based multi-specialty medical group used telehealth to meet the needs of its population.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[‘Dr. G’ will see you now…online]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6862 2017-01-11T19:19:37Z 2017-01-11T19:19:37Z Originally posted on TheSandPaper.net He’s known locally as “Dr. G.” For 30 years, area families depended on Dr. Richard Goldstein for his diligence, medical teaching and commitment to pediatrics. He had a nurturing style with children and a rapport that comforted parents. Last year, at age 77, after having a knee replacement followed by a […]

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Originally posted on TheSandPaper.net

He’s known locally as “Dr. G.” For 30 years, area families depended on Dr. Richard Goldstein for his diligence, medical teaching and commitment to pediatrics. He had a nurturing style with children and a rapport that comforted parents. Last year, at age 77, after having a knee replacement followed by a fractured second cervical vertebra and surgery, he felt it was time to step away from office practice.

“Those last few years I knew that I needed to leave as a full-time pediatrician. But I wanted to keep practicing,” he shared. “I wanted to be able to stay in touch with the local families I had seen for the last 15, 20 or 25 years.”

The timing, it turns out, couldn’t have been better as technology was ripe for “telemedicine.”

Today, wearing his white lab coat by a roaring fire in his living room, he can see kids, or even adults, via video on a smartphone, computer or tablet.

Goldstein is able to practice remotely because he simply has so much experience. Late in his college years at the University of Connecticut, he decided medicine was his calling. It was at the University of Miami med school that he discovered his love for pediatrics. It’s also where he started developing a social awareness that would become a recurring theme in his career.

Read the full article here

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Employee Spotlight]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6852 2017-01-09T14:49:01Z 2017-01-09T14:41:06Z Name: Mike Lemovitz Title: Director, Client Relations Department: Account Management State Date: July 7, 2014 What were you doing before you joined American Well? Before I came to American Well, I was working in marketing at Reliant Medical Group, which is a large, multi-specialty group practice out in Central Massachusetts.  I handled much of their […]

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Name: Mike Lemovitz

Title: Director, Client Relations

Department: Account Management

State Date: July 7, 2014

What were you doing before you joined American Well?

Before I came to American Well, I was working in marketing at Reliant Medical Group, which is a large, multi-specialty group practice out in Central Massachusetts.  I handled much of their social media marketing, photography, video production, and website.  Over the course of my three years there, I became much more focused on reaching existing patients and helping them utilize Reliant’s services as efficiently as possible.  As I learned more about the underlying purpose of those communications, I became very interested in healthcare innovation.

What attracted you to American Well?

With this new interest in healthcare innovation, I found myself wanting to find a smaller, higher-tech company where I could work with a variety of different health systems and help them on their “innovation journey.”  I saw a Health System Marketing Manager position available at American Well and threw my hat in the ring.  A month later, I found myself helping develop communications for organizations like Cleveland Clinic, Carolinas HealthCare System, and others.

What other positions have you held here? Tell us a little bit about your American Well journey.

As I mentioned, I started at American Well as a Health System Marketing Manager.  I held that position for about 15 months, and really enjoyed it.  It wasn’t long after starting, though, that I found myself dialed in on more of the overall telehealth strategy versus solely marketing and communications.  When a position as Director, Health System Solutions was posted, I knew that it was a great position to really help clients succeed.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

Being a part of an organization that is growing as quickly as American Well means that family time is precious, so most of my time away from work is spent with my wife, or my two (soon to be three) daughters.  You might also find me playing guitar, riding motorcycles with my dad, or flying around Massachusetts in the Piper Cherokee I share with some friends.  Of course, I’m always up for hanging out on the couch with my girls and my dog, Walter, and taking in some Frasier re-runs, House of Cards, or whatever else we find on Netflix.

What are your thoughts on the ways healthcare is changing and what we can expect to see in the future?

For such a historically slow-moving industry, I’m excited by the commitment many of our clients have to constant forward progress.  Most of what holds many organizations back from being extremely innovative, in my opinion, is the need to “keep the lights on” within the boundaries of their existing business models.  Fortunately, improving technology, increasing payer support, reimbursement mandates, and growing consumer awareness of telehealth is pointing the industry in the right direction.  I strongly believe that these factors will lead us to a place where all interactions with the healthcare system will be far more convenient for patients and providers alike in the long term.

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Bridget Kelly <![CDATA[American Well partners recognized as “top” healthcare leaders]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6824 2016-12-19T15:32:03Z 2016-12-19T15:26:45Z This year marks the eighth year that Gartner has come out with its ranking of supply chain leaders in healthcare. Its “Top 25 list” recognizes companies that have demonstrated leadership in developing and leveraging supply chain capabilities. American Well is proud to say that three of our clients, Intermountain Healthcare, CVS Health, Cleveland Clinic, have […]

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This year marks the eighth year that Gartner has come out with its ranking of supply chain leaders in healthcare. Its “Top 25 list” recognizes companies that have demonstrated leadership in developing and leveraging supply chain capabilities.

American Well is proud to say that three of our clients, Intermountain Healthcare, CVS Health, Cleveland Clinic, have been recognized for their outstanding work in improving life at sustainable costs. These three renowned organizations were recognized with other great institutions like Ochsner Health System, Ascension Health System, Johnson & Johnson and more.

Intermountain Healthcare, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, took the top spot this year—up from third place in 2014 and 2015—while Cleveland Clinic, based in Cleveland, OH, rounded out the top 10.  As Gartner stated, “Intermountain Healthcare’s journey to the top is the culmination of strategy, talent and capital coming together in a sustained effort to transform its supply chain.”  American Well has been lucky enough to see first-hand how these innovative health systems  have aligned key stakeholders and defined value for their patients and optimized the patient experience—through telehealth offerings and beyond.

Below is the full Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 list for 2016:

  1. Intermountain Healthcare
  2. Cardinal Health
  3. Mayo Foundation
  4. Mercy
  5. McKesson
  6. Owens & Minor
  7. CVS Health
  8. Johnson & Johnson
  9. AmerisourceBergen
  10. Cleveland Clinic
  11. Walgreens Boots Alliance
  12. Banner Health
  13. Medtronic
  14. Ascension Health
  15. Ochsner Health System
  16. BD
  17. Novartis
  18. Pfizer
  19. Advocate Health Care
  20. Amgen
  21. BJC HealthCare
  22. Henry Schein
  23. Duke University Health System
  24. Roche
  25. Abbott

We are proud to partner with these pioneering healthcare organizations, and look forward to transform healthcare together in 2017.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Bringing Physical Exams to Telehealth Visits]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6804 2016-12-14T14:26:10Z 2016-12-14T14:24:51Z American Well recently announced an exciting new partnership with Tyto Care, a telehealth company with breakthrough technology for conducting remote medical visits and examinations. Through this new partnership, patients are now able to use TytoCare’s examination device and telehealth solution during video visits, allowing providers to deliver more robust care to the home.

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American Well recently announced an exciting new partnership with Tyto Care, a telehealth company with breakthrough technology for conducting remote medical visits and examinations. Through this new partnership, patients are now able to use TytoCare’s examination device and telehealth solution during video visits, allowing providers to deliver more robust care to the home. While an effective telehealth exam can certainly be done via video alone, this Tyto Care, American Well partnership takes telehealth a step further by giving the physician the full picture.

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Great Care, Anywhere

American Well’s telehealth technology offers high quality care to patients at home or in other locations. Tyto further enhances that level of care by enabling patients to capture physical exam data to supplement telehealth in many remote settings including the home, school, employer work sites and nursing homes.

TytoCare is an all-in-one telehealth solution that has a built-in thermometer and camera for taking pictures and video, and stethoscope, otoscope, and tongue depressor attachments for examining the heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose and throat.  Exams using TytoCare can be performed before or during a video visit. To conduct exams in real-time, a provider can use the “Live Telehealth Exam” feature, where he or she connects with the patient via video and remotely connects to the patient’s Tyto device to conduct exams. Patients can also use the “Exam and Forward” option, where they capture exam data and send it to the physician for review prior to the video visit or for a later diagnosis.

Treating Acute Illnesses

Patients can be treated and diagnosed for acute medical illnesses from the comfort of their own homes using American Well video visits and Tyto:

Upper respiratory infection or bronchitis: Using the Tyto stethoscope attachment, a patient can take clinical-quality auscultations of his or her lungs, and the physician can review the data and diagnose the condition via telehealth with the same confidence as an in-person visit.

Sinus infection: The patient can conduct a physical exam on themselves using the Tyto otoscope attachment to provide images of the inside of the ears and the thermometer to check for a fever. The physician can then analyze the results and confirm if the patient has a sinus infection.

Flu: The Flu can produce a lot of symptoms. TytoCare can help better detect these symptoms for the physician during the video visit. The Tyto stethoscope is used to listen to the heart and lungs, the thermometer to check for a fever, and the camera and tongue depressor to take a look at the throat.

Sore Throat: A sore throat is a common symptom for a myriad of illnesses. Having the patient use the Tyto tongue depressor and camera to capture images of the throat will help physicians better diagnose the issue. The thermometer can also be used to check for a fever.

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Ear Infection: Using the Tyto otoscope attachment, physicians can examine the ear canal and drum remotely over video. The thermometer can be used to check for a fever, and the physician may choose to use the stethoscope to look for other co-conditions.

Other common acute care illnesses that can be treated using TytoCare include fever, cough, contact dermatitis, wound care, skin eczema, pneumonia, whooping cough, pink eye and more.

Monitoring Chronic Conditions

Chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can benefit from TytoCare by allowing a physician to monitor these conditions remotely. Tyto can also be used for post-discharge patients. For example, a post-surgical follow up patient could use the Tyto camera to have the physician exam a wound remotely.

Guiding Patients on Remote Physical Exams

While the average patient has some experience using devices like a thermometer, other devices such as an otoscope or stethoscope require some guidance.  TytoCare has built-in guidance technology that enables anyone to accurately and easily capture exam data, so patients and physicians can always be confident that data captured by Tyto is accurate and reliable. For example, when conducting a lung or heart exam with the Tyto stethoscope attachment, TytoCare’s guidance technology will instruct the patient on where to place the stethoscope, accurately record clinical-quality heart and lung sounds, and let the patient know when the exam is complete.  Alternatively, physicians can also remotely access Tyto and help guide patients when conducting a Live Video Telehealth Exam.

With the combination of American Well’s quality telehealth service and TytoCare’s intuitive examination technology, physically examining patients via telehealth has never been easier. If you’d like even more information on this exciting partnership, contact our team today.

 

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Amanda Guisbond <![CDATA[Why Boston? An Interview with American Well Co-Founder Dr. Ido Schoenberg]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6794 2016-12-08T14:36:48Z 2016-12-08T14:36:48Z If you’ve heard of American Well, you know we are a Boston-based digital health company and a leader in the telehealth space. However, many may not realize that our American-born company was founded by two Israeli brothers who still maintain close ties with the Israeli innovation community. Massachusetts has long been a draw for Israeli […]

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If you’ve heard of American Well, you know we are a Boston-based digital health company and a leader in the telehealth space. However, many may not realize that our American-born company was founded by two Israeli brothers who still maintain close ties with the Israeli innovation community.

Massachusetts has long been a draw for Israeli companies looking to expand operations in the U.S. and recently, there is even greater interest from Israeli-led healthcare and technology firms in moving to the state. As such we sat down with Dr. Ido Schoenberg, our co-founder and chairman, to find out more about what drew him and his brother to establish American Well’s headquarters in Boston.

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Q: In just a few words – why Boston as the corporate headquarters for American Well?

Ido: Boston is in many ways the healthcare capital of America. We have a lot of healthcare companies, fantastic hospitals and health systems, pharmaceutical companies, and amazing healthcare talent through the local universities. It’s a wonderful place for a healthcare technology company to build a business, find partners and recruit the best people.

Q: That’s a great summary from a business-making perspective. On a personal level – what about Boston made you want to live here?

Ido: I really like Boston. It reminds me in many ways of Europe, in that it’s understated and refined. People here are very accomplished, but are more modest about their accomplishments. As for lifestyle – it’s a great place to be. We have an amazing education system, for one. In terms of a U.S. location, we have family back in Israel and prefer to be closer to home. The West Coast is not an option in that respect. The weather could be better, though [laughs].

Q: American Well has been around for 10 years, and you’ve lived in Boston about 20 years. Looking back, how would you describe your original impression of Boston versus now?

Ido: I’m very happy we made the choice to set up shop in Boston. Over time, we’ve developed a lot of personal and professional relationships that have made us very successful. It’s the benefits of working in a cosmopolitan city combined with the feeling of knowing people – I go to restaurants where I know the chefs, I can walk into a local conference or event and recognize many faces. It’s a big impact town but it feels like a small town, too, which I like.

Q: That’s very true about Boston – all the perks of a city, without the anonymity. As a business leader, recruiting the right people must be top of mind for long-term growth and success. How do you see Boston as a great place for finding talent?

Ido: Absolutely, you want to establish your corporate headquarters in a location where you can recruit and retain the best people. Through the universities and healthcare organizations already established in Massachusetts, we have access to many talented, new and seasoned professionals. There is a domino effect that occurs when you are in close proximity to other star companies. As we see more, promising healthcare technology companies emerge in Massachusetts, we will become a more attractive place for employees to live and work. Leaders like American Well, athenahealth, Optum, Vertex, IBM, and now newcomers like General Electric, will help continue to position Boston as a great place to find work.

Q: Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs looking to move or expand operations to Massachusetts?

Ido: If you’re a serious company looking to succeed in healthcare or technology, and you want access to the best talent, strategic partners, and the support of an innovation-friendly local government, then Boston can’t be beat.

 

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Health systems lining up to offer telehealth options]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6763 2016-12-02T16:03:53Z 2016-12-02T15:57:59Z Early last month, New York Presbyterian signed a deal with American Well to integrate online doctor visits with the health system’s NYP OnDemand digital health platform. Powered by American Well’s software development kit, patients can access physicians within the NYP network and have a virtual interaction. “It was really important to us to offer our […]

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devices_0001_provider-uai-2064x1357Early last month, New York Presbyterian signed a deal with American Well to integrate online doctor visits with the health system’s NYP OnDemand digital health platform. Powered by American Well’s software development kit, patients can access physicians within the NYP network and have a virtual interaction.

“It was really important to us to offer our patients a single digital storefront where they could access all of our services,” Peter Fleischut, CEO at NYP, told MobiHealthNews. “Whether it is finding their way to or hospitals or finding their physicians for a follow up virtual visit, we want them to have all t heir resources available in one place.”

The partnership is a sign of the growing trend toward telehealth services at health systems across the country. According to Danielle Russella, president of client solutions at American Well, the Boston-based company’s health system business has gone from three to four systems several years ago to more than 50 today, and includes Massachusetts General Hospital, Cleveland Clinic and Intermountain Healthcare.

Read the article in its entirely on Healthcare Dive

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Steps to Telehealth Success – Organizational Readiness]]> https://www.americanwell.com/steps-to-telehealth-success-organizational-readiness/ 2018-07-19T19:30:49Z 2016-12-01T00:00:00Z Steps to Telehealth Success Organizational Readiness By: Albert Ferreira A day does not pass where a healthcare provider, a technology vendor or a media outlet shares a heartwarming story that demonstrates the impact telehealth has on patient care. That was not always the case… Not long ago, advocates were on the front lines promoting the value […]

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Steps to Telehealth Success

Organizational Readiness

By: Albert Ferreira

A day does not pass where a healthcare provider, a technology vendor or a media outlet shares a heartwarming story that demonstrates the impact telehealth has on patient care. That was not always the case…

Not long ago, advocates were on the front lines promoting the value and benefits of telehealth to healthcare stakeholders. Naysayers and skeptics had their doubts and concerns about what role telehealth would play and how it would enhance patient care.

JEDMED Horus Scope for TelemedicineOver time, telehealth evolved and its presence increased. As a result, many provider organizations began their telehealth journey with pilot projects. Those pilots eventually grew into full-scale programs supporting patient care across multiple service areas. Around the world, traditional barriers were overcome, reimbursement policies were updated, technology capabilities advanced and new clinical use cases were identified.

So, the question now becomes… Where do we go from here?

Telehealth has reached the next phase in its evolution. The industry has graduated from the “Make the Business Case” phase to the “Show me the ROI” phase. With that, industry leaders, experts and supporters have the responsibility of pushing telehealth to greater heights in this next phase.

Over the next 12 to 24 months, we expect telehealth to evolve and adapt to the rapidly changing requirements of healthcare delivery. Keep an eye on consumer health. As individuals play an increasingly active role in their care, the future model of healthcare will offer consumers more convenient access to care, and increased means to communicate with providers. To be the preferred choice of consumers, healthcare organizations need to adjust to future market demands and integrate telehealth into their care offerings.

Telehealth Organizational ReadinessSuccess Step 1: Organizational Readiness

How does a healthcare system prepare their environment for telehealth? Organizational readiness is an important first step in the process.

Many organizations undervalue this phase and do not adequately prepare to integrate telehealth services into their care delivery processes. This is where many telehealth programs get off track and lose the support of key stakeholders.

Getting off to the wrong start is difficult for telehealth programs to recover from. To ensure program success, invest the required time and resources to prepare the organization for telehealth services and gain the buy-in from the key stakeholders and clinical champions.

Preparing for Telehealth

  • Leadership willingness and commitment
  • Clinician readiness and buy-in
  • Program staffing and resources
  • Process changes and training
  • Creating a sustainable and scalable program

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Telehealth that’s Award-Winning – and Just the Beginning]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6752 2016-11-23T17:42:47Z 2016-11-23T17:42:47Z This past Monday, industry analyst Frost & Sullivan honored American Well with the 2016 Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award for our enterprise service, the Exchange. A firm known for its thorough analyses of healthcare advances, Frost & Sullivan took note when American Well unveiled the Exchange in May 2016 and, after further review, […]

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This past Monday, industry analyst Frost & Sullivan honored American Well with the 2016 Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation Award for our enterprise service, the Exchange. A firm known for its thorough analyses of healthcare advances, Frost & Sullivan took note when American Well unveiled the Exchange in May 2016 and, after further review, designated it a leading industry innovation. To quote Principal Analyst Victor Camlek, who co-authored the report:

“The Exchange combines an outstanding mix of high-quality technology, numerous healthcare providers, and innovative thinking to stoke wider acceptance of telehealth as a mainstream medical service delivery channel.”

At American Well, we are constantly looking to innovate at the edge of our industry, to meet the challenges of our trusted partners, their providers and patients, and continue to deliver on our aim of making care more accessible and more connected. As a culture, we also don’t just stop when a goal is achieved. Rather, we quickly move on to determine our next goal and carefully plot how we’ll achieve it.

The Exchange is a great example of our culture of relentless innovation. The Exchange requires advanced technologies and capabilities, professional services and legal support, marketing expertise, and the shared vision of our clients – health systems, health plans and employers – in seeing the value of the Exchange now and in the future. Getting the Exchange up and running this past May with the first named partners – Cleveland Clinic, LiveHealth Online and Nemours Children’s Health System – was one, significant achievement. Garnering national visibility for the Exchange and being awarded “Production Innovation of the Year” is another great achievement.

But we are already onto our next and far more ambitious goal with the Exchange – adding every major health system and health plan partner to it, and slowly, opening up a vast provider network to the whole world.

We’re excited for what’s to come and we are humbled by the validation of our industry peers in selecting the Exchange as a telehealth Product Innovation of the Year.

For more on why Frost & Sullivan calls the Exchange a “revolutionary network with tremendous potential to supply extended medical treatment,” you can access the full report here.

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Bridget Kelly <![CDATA[Reimagining the Hospital]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6729 2016-11-14T19:56:25Z 2016-11-14T19:56:25Z Hospitals in the future will certainly include telemedicine, where telecommunications technology can help diagnose and treat patients remotely in the comfort of their own homes, according to a panel of medical experts on Wednesday at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego. Dr. Ido Schoenberg, chairman and CEO of American Well, a company that provides telemedicine technology […]

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Hospitals in the future will certainly include telemedicine, where telecommunications technology can help diagnose and treat patients remotely in the comfort of their own homes, according to a panel of medical experts on Wednesday at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego.

Dr. Ido Schoenberg, chairman and CEO of American Well, a company that provides telemedicine technology to health care companies, said that it doesn’t make sense to provide virtual care without in-person physical care. “It’s how to make care teams fully centric,” he explained.

Telemedicine, which is expected to be worth more than $34 billion globally by the end of 2020, is still very much in its early days, he added. “Right now 2% of health care is done online. In the future, it will be 20% to 30% of care,” Dr. Schoenberg added.

Read the article on Fortune.com or watch the full session here.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[What can you learn from the early adopters of telehealth?]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6689 2016-11-04T01:08:37Z 2016-11-03T14:19:29Z Advisory Board, a consulting best practices firm, recently interviewed several health systems who are at the forefront of
telehealth adoption to gain insights on telehealth adoption, acceptance and use cases. Here’s what they found:

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The Advisory Board Company, a consulting best practices firm, recently interviewed several health systems who are at the forefront of telehealth adoption to gain insights on telehealth adoption, acceptance and use cases.

Here’s what they found:

Views on Telehealth

There are essentially two camps of telehealth adopters: vision adopters and business case adopters. These two groups are primarily separated by differing expectations regarding the return on investment and alignment to corporate strategy.

Vision Adopters

Attribute

Business Case Adopters

Organization-wide recognition that DTC telehealth plays a vital role in the changing reimbursement landscape and growing role of consumerism in healthcare.

Alignment to Strategy

Believe that telehealth provides a competitive advantage for one or more key departments.
Greater focus on strategic benefits in access, quality and patient experience versus immediate financial return.

ROI Approach

Require a positive direct financial return or a clear path to in-direct financial return.
Focus on provider innovation for the next set of use cases and a willingness to experiment with simultaneous use cases.

Rollout Strategy

Focus on use cases that are expected to provide a positive return on investment in the short- or medium-term.

Both types of organizations are in agreement in how they view the potential of telehealth.  These leaders:

  • Utilize DTC telehealth as an enabler of strategy, not a strategy itself
  • Innovate across multiple use cases to maximize their investment
  • Place significant emphasis on education to both consumers & providers

Current Use Cases

Across the board, early adopters are using their telehealth platforms to launch urgent care visits to start, but they’re not relying on DTC telehealth solely for urgent care issues. As they launch an urgent care service, these organizations are envisioning their next set of applications in such areas as:

  • Post-surgical follow-up appointments: Orthopedics, neurosurgery, general surgery, cardiac surgery
  • Specialty video consultations: Neurology, autism screening, sleep, orthopedics, heart and vascular, head and neck
  • Virtual clinics: Catering to targeted patient populations in behavioral health, rheumatology, nutrition, lactation support, and pediatrics

Expected Benefits

Regarding their expected returns, early adopters anticipate both financial & strategic benefits:

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Promotion & Education

A key insight that emerges from these telehealth pioneers is their deliberate and extensive efforts to promote telehealth both internally to their providers and staff, as well as externally to consumers.

For consumers, health systems use multiple channels to drive adoption:

  • Owned and earned media
  • Digital
  • Paid targeted ads
  • Reward incentives
  • Provider-led introductions to their patients

For providers and staff, efforts focus on building provider acceptance to drive innovation and scale:

  • Early clinical engagement in decision-making and operational rollout to gain buy-in
  • Inclusion of physicians and staff to design workflows and clinical protocols
  • Involvement of executive and clinical leadership to communicate telehealth goals and encourage education & training

These insights provide health systems with a glimpse into telehealth utilization by early adopters.  As telehealth continues to evolve, we can expect these industry pioneers to set more standards for future innovation and growth.

Interested in learning more about adopting telehealth? Check out our webinar with The Advisory Board on Unlocking the value of Direct-to-consumer telehealth.

Note: The Advisory Board Company is a partner of American Well.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Watch the Webex: Navigating new types of risk in healthcare]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6551 2016-10-18T14:22:51Z 2016-10-18T14:22:51Z As new players enter the healthcare industry with innovative delivery models, health systems are challenged to navigate new types of risk. Dr. Jeff Kosowsky, SVP of Corporate Development for American Well, recently discussed the challenges required to succeed in this new type of healthcare industry during a web event hosted by The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Catalyst. To learn about […]

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As new players enter the healthcare industry with innovative delivery models, health systems are challenged to navigate new types of risk. Dr. Jeff Kosowsky, SVP of Corporate Development for American Well, recently discussed the challenges required to succeed in this new type of healthcare industry during a web event hosted by The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Catalyst.

To learn about how health systems are thriving and succeeding in this era of greater risk, watch Dr. Kosowsky’s session: New Entrants–Breaking in is hard to do.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Case Study: Southwest Medical’s winning strategy for telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6546 2016-10-17T15:02:48Z 2016-10-17T15:02:48Z In 2014, Southwest Medical Associates, one of Nevada’s largest multi-specialty medical groups, partnered with American Well to launch its telehealth service, SMA NowClinic.   In the newly released case study, we reveal how Southwest Medical enrolled more than 30,000 patients in its program and conducted more than 20,000 telehealth visits.  You can read the case study in its entirety here, but […]

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In 2014, Southwest Medical Associates, one of Nevada’s largest multi-specialty medical groups, partnered with American Well to launch its telehealth service, SMA NowClinic.   In the newly released case study, we reveal how Southwest Medical enrolled more than 30,000 patients in its program and conducted more than 20,000 telehealth visits. sma1

You can read the case study in its entirety here, but here are some of the highlights.

About Southwest Medical

Southwest Medical offers primary care, specialty care and urgent care, in addition to a variety of specialized, focused programs. The organization is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group and Optum and includes a mix of different payers.

Goals for SMA NowClinic

Southwest Medical set out to achieve four broad goals with its telemedicine initiatives:

  1. Improve the patient experience
  2. Improve population health
  3. Reduce per capita costs
  4. Improve the provider experience

Training and staffing physicians

Southwest Medical launched a pilot program in October 2013 to prepare providers for all possible scenarios. This was especially important because the organization put a big focus on provider engagement, training and staffing for NowClinic.

The physician training program consisted of a profile setup, system overview, self-study modules, a system demonstration, mock visits and coaching, workstation testing and activation. This plan allowed the team to ensure that all providers were set up and felt confident about delivering telemedicine to patients.

Launching NowClinic

After the 3-month initial pilot program, SMA launched NowClinic to 3,000 Nevada UnitedHealth employees, who were all eligible for visits with no co-pays. This second pilot period served to stress test the system and gather employee comments and feedback for enhancing the program.

After six months of the pilot plus an additional soft launch, the team began an integrated marketing campaign, designed to drive visits to the system. The marketing plan consisted of online marketing tactics such as email announcements, web portal highlights and links, and Facebook. The plan also included tactics like health plan newsletters and signage such as posters, danglers, floor decals and brochures to drive awareness of the new service. Finally, in-clinic navigators directed patients to the new service, NowClinic.

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Results of the launch

In the first year, Southwest Medical completed over 5,000 visits, with nearly 18,500 enrollments – 6% of the population enrolled in this initial launch stage.  As of mid-2016, Southwest Medical had completed over 33,000 enrollments, with over 20,000 visits.

The team met its initial goal of answering visits in less than 10 minutes, as the average speed to answer was 4 minutes and 23 seconds.

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Future plans for NowClinic

Southwest Medical has plans to expand its urgent care offering to launch new services. In 2016, the team launched behavioral health and rheumatology, and is currently training doctors for telehealth in these areas.

For more on how Southwest Medical planned, built and executed an industry-leading telehealth service, read the newly released case study.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Q&A: How Telehealth Is Just Getting Started]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6521 2016-10-07T16:47:06Z 2016-10-07T16:47:06Z For all the hype about telehealth in recent years, it still constitutes less than 1% of ambulatory visits in the United States, notes Jeffrey Kosowsky, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Business Development at American Well. But with changes in regulation, new technologies, and increasing consumer and provider acceptance, telehealth is poised […]

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For all the hype about telehealth in recent years, it still constitutes less than 1% of ambulatory visits in the United States, notes Jeffrey Kosowsky, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Business Development at American Well. But with changes in regulation, new technologies, and increasing consumer and provider acceptance, telehealth is poised to expand. Its real promise is in returning healthcare to the home, which in turn can lower overall costs of care dramatically. Catalyst Editorial Director Edward Prewitt talked with Kosowsky to discuss keys to success, how to scale, and how entrants in healthcare can thrive.

Edward Prewitt: What drivers in the healthcare marketplace are creating needs and opportunities for new players?

Jeffrey Kosowsky: There are five general drivers in the broader marketplace…and all affect telehealth. The first is the looming non-viability of the payment model. … For telehealth, the first adopters were payers, then employers, because telehealth visits head-to-head are cheaper.

The second driver is new technologies enabling new workflows. … You could say that telehealth existed as far back as Morse code, but it didn’t enter into viability until real-time video…and mobile broadband.

The third driver is new modalities for healthcare. ….  Read the Q&A in its entirety here

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[If Not Parity, Clarity – Getting Doctors Paid For Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6503 2016-11-23T17:44:33Z 2016-09-23T16:54:45Z By Kofi Jones, Vice President of Government Affairs, American Well This article originally appeared on Forbes.com In the world of telehealth, we are well beyond the time when physicians worry whether they are within their clinical rights to provide care through technology. Whether through action by state medical boards or acts of state legislature, nearly […]

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By Kofi Jones, Vice President of Government Affairs, American Well

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

In the world of telehealth, we are well beyond the time when physicians worry whether they are within their clinical rights to provide care through technology. Whether through action by state medical boards or acts of state legislature, nearly every state has upheld that the standard of care for physicians when provided through these technologies should be equivalent to care provided in brick and mortar environments. Come January, these doctors will have an even easier time projecting this care throughout the nation when the Federation of State Medical Boards Interstate Licensure Compact is set to be fully operational – making it easier to secure multi-state licensure.

These accomplishments are not insignificant. They create a vital infrastructure for telehealth to do its job – make care more accessible, timely and cost effective. But there’s a fundamental question left unanswered that will diminish the number of providers who elect to embrace telehealth and say “yes” to increasing the amount of care available to our nation’s sick.

“Will I be paid?”

Read the full article on Forbes.com

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Telemental Health Gets Its Moment]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6485 2016-09-15T19:06:10Z 2016-09-15T19:06:10Z The impact of behavioral health is finally getting its moment in the sun. As the shades of stigma are slowly lifted, people are beginning to speak about mental health and substance use disorders. A study published in February 2015 by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry noted that depression is the leading cause of disability for U.S. […]

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1688x510_therapysessiononcouchThe impact of behavioral health is finally getting its moment in the sun. As the shades of stigma are slowly lifted, people are beginning to speak about mental health and substance use disorders.

A study published in February 2015 by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry noted that depression is the leading cause of disability for U.S. adults ages 15-44 and results in nearly 400 million disability days per year. These statistics indicate that unmet behavioral health needs have a significant impact on our daily lives.

Telehealth for behavioral health is sometimes referred to tele-mental health, tele-psychiatry, tele-behavioral health or tele-therapy. It allows immediate, convenient access to care, alleviating the overwhelming feelings that often accompany patients dealing with a behavioral health issue by stripping away the stigma of an in-person visit.

For patients – tele-therapy is provided by high-quality, licensed clinicians, with the opportunity for specialized and multidisciplinary care. Not only is it more affordable than brick and mortar therapy, increasingly it is covered by major insurers. The easy access to multiple providers reduces the uncertainty and confusion frequently experienced when searching for a therapist, and eliminates the frustration associated with finding therapists who are not accepting new patients.

Telehealth addresses longstanding problems faced by consumers of behavioral health treatment. For example, finding a therapist outside of business hours, when most working adults want an appointment, is very challenging. Through telehealth, employees can access therapists after work from the comfort of their own homes, via a scheduled or on-demand visit. For those individuals who still feel a stigma attached to therapy, telehealth provides a more private solution. Telehealth has also been shown to decrease the cost of healthcare through reduced traveling costs, improved management of chronic disease, and shorter hospital stays and visits.

Telehealth can also provide treatment for the following:

  • Anorexia/Bulimia
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • OCD
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse
  • And more

American Well now offers online psychiatrists, in addition to psychologists and behavioral health therapists. Patients can log onto the Amwell app to find a psychiatrist that’s right for them, self-schedule appointments and experience our suite of coordinated care services.

As employers, patients, health plans and hospitals experience the positive impact of greater availability of mental health services, telehealth as a solution will continue to expand and treat more patients.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[The Stars Have Aligned For Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6455 2016-09-14T12:53:24Z 2016-09-13T16:22:49Z American Well’s CEO Roy Schoenberg recently shared the perspective with HealthcareITNews that the stars are finally aligning for telehealth. “Telehealth increasingly has become one of the ways physicians interact with patients,” said Schoenberg. We’ve witnessed this firsthand during some of our recent client telehealth launches. American Well proudly supports the strategies of our clients, all of whom launch telehealth with the common goal of expanding care to patients in need. Here are just a few recent client launches that have recently expanded access to quality healthcare

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American Well’s CEO Roy Schoenberg recently shared the perspective with HealthcareITNews that the stars are finally aligning for telehealth. “Telehealth increasingly has become one of the ways physicians interact with patients,” said Schoenberg.

We’ve witnessed this firsthand during some of our recent client telehealth launches. American Well proudly supports the strategies of our clients, all of whom launch telehealth with the common goal of expanding care and access to patients.

Here are just a few recent client launches that have recently expanded access to quality healthcare:

Baptist Health South Florida

Baptist Health South Florida launched Care On Demand to its more than 1 million annual patients. Baptist Health is an innovator in the healthcare space – in 2016, the organization was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the highest performing healthcare organization in South Florida and as one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in America.

Emergency Medicine Physician David Mishkin, MD, is leading the effort as medical director for Care On Demand. “This new platform provides patients with a new option that complements traditional healthcare,” said Dr. Mishkin. “It expands access to quality care, allowing you to conveniently communicate with a doctor through an interactive live video and audio chat to discuss treatment and ask questions.”

BayCare

BayCare, a leading not-for-profit healthcare system in the Tampa Bay and central Florida region, launched BayCare Anywhere as a complement to its 14 hospitals, 10 urgent care centers, hundreds of ambulatory/office locations, and inpatient and outpatient services that include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness.

Northern Arizona Healthcare

Northern Arizona Healthcare recently launched Be Well Now. Northern Arizona Healthcare is the largest healthcare organization in a region that encompasses more than 50,000 square miles. Their team of more than 3,000 doctors, nurses and other experts work to serve more than 700,000 people across the area.

Academic HealthPlans

Academic HealthPlans is a leading student health insurance provider, and is now making video doctor and behavioral health visits available to students at more than 100 colleges and universities. Many college students find themselves stressed, homesick, or overworked, and may benefit from psychology and behavioral health services. Telehealth provides a quick and easy way for students to receive the support they need.

Value Drug Company

Value Drug Company, a Pennsylvania-based wholesale distributor, has partnered with American Well to provide telemedicine services 24/7/365 to more than 600 independent pharmacies and their customers. The partnership allows patients in rural and underserved areas to access medical care, behavioral health therapy and nutrition and diet support by using the Value Health Center platform or by visiting a Value Health Center kiosk inside a participating pharmacy.

The use cases for video visits continue to expand with each client launch, and range from post-surgical follow up to chronic care and readmissions management. Thanks to our clients, high quality healthcare is being delivered to more and more new patients. The stars are truly beginning to align.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Employee Spotlight]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6442 2016-09-06T17:28:22Z 2016-09-06T17:21:11Z Name: Dave Tran Title: Manager, Mobile SDK Department: Engineering Start Date: October 28, 2013 “In some form or fashion, everyone wants to leave their legacy on the world. American Well is making a difference in people’s lives by improving telehealth and I can’t think of a better way of leaving my legacy than by helping make healthcare more accessible […]

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Name: Dave Tran

Title: Manager, Mobile SDK

Department: Engineering

Start Date: October 28, 2013

Dave Tran

“In some form or fashion, everyone wants to leave their legacy on the world. American Well is making a difference in people’s lives by improving telehealth and I can’t think of a better way of leaving my legacy than by helping make healthcare more accessible and more affordable to everyone.”

What attracted you to American Well?

My career has always been focused on making a positive difference in the lives of others and to take on new challenges. After spending seven years in the aerospace and defense industry where my work supported the U.S. military, I wanted to shift my focus toward helping other people in need. After a stint at another healthcare technology company, I came across American Well and it was a perfect fit. American Well gives me the opportunity to work on a product that has a direct impact on the consumer and challenges me to grow my technical skills in the mobile space.

What were you doing before you came onboard?

I worked at PatientKeeper, a healthcare technology company, where I was one of two Software Engineers responsible for architecting a next-generation solution that allowed physicians access to patient data using a web portal or mobile device. During my time at PatientKeeper, I became very familiar with business terms and concepts in the healthcare space, which helped make the transition from integrated defense systems at Raytheon, to telehealth visits at American Well that much easier.

What does a day in the life of a Mobile SDK Manager at American Well look like?

The Mobile SDK allows our clients to take the American Well telehealth experience and seamlessly embed it within an existing mobile application. As the manager of this product, my time is spread across two main responsibilities. First, I manage the Mobile SDK development efforts. I work with my team to design, integrate, test, and deliver new features to maintain parity with the American Well telehealth platform. Second, I help our clients explore and incorporate the features of the mobile SDK into their iOS and Android mobile apps. These two responsibilities are often intertwined, and leave me with new and exciting challenges to meet our clients’ needs. I never know what new challenges the next day might bring, but I know my team and I are always ready to take them on.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

Outside of work, I volunteer my time and effort with a non-profit organization called One Brick Boston. Through One Brick Boston, I volunteer for different non-profit organizations throughout the city and help encourage others to volunteer for these great causes. I love being able to put my free time to good use and help make a positive impact on the community. I also enjoy having an active lifestyle, whether I’m running in an obstacle race, attending an American Ninja Warrior class or finding the next great adventure.

What are your thoughts on the ways healthcare is changing and what we can expect to see in the future?

The changes in healthcare have been long overdue. I’m excited to see that the tides are changing and that the healthcare industry finally sees the benefit of having telehealth visits. It’s even more apparent with the number of new prospects interested in the Mobile SDK. It’s only a matter time until having a telehealth visit is as common as searching a term on Google.

When you talk about telehealth and your role here with friends and family, what do you say?

When someone asks me what I do, I tell them I help deliver a simple way to see a doctor, anywhere and at any time, from your computer or your smart devices. I share my own visit experiences and how amazing it is to be able to avoid the hassle of traveling to the doctor’s office. I also explain that in my current role at American Well, I get to see and help others use telehealth visits in new and different ways.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[A Look Inside EMR and Telehealth Integration]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6438 2016-08-30T19:04:21Z 2016-08-30T19:04:21Z With more and more hospitals and health care facilities implementing electronic medical records (EMRs) into their IT infrastructure, telehealth is gaining traction as a way for physicians to keep in touch with their patients.

In the webinar, EMRs + Telehealth: Tying it all together, American Well’s Craig Bagley, director of sales engineering, spoke on how to utilize the company’s telehealth system.

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How can your telehealth service integrate with your EMR? DOTmed summarized the key learnings from our recent webinar on EMR integration and telehealth. Check out the key points and reach out if you’re looking for more details on this relevant topic.

With more and more hospitals and health care facilities implementing electronic medical records (EMRs) into their IT infrastructure, telehealth is gaining traction as a way for physicians to keep in touch with their patients.

In the webinar, EMRs + Telehealth: Tying it all together, American Well’s Craig Bagley, director of sales engineering, spoke on how to utilize the company’s telehealth system.
“Integrating your telehealth program into your existing clinical information systems allows for the ongoing care and chronic care management of patients, in addition to being able to treat patients on their terms, wherever they are physically located,” said Bagley.

He described the American Well telehealth enterprising system as a “fully-branded, white-labeled” system, which means that someone viewing a facility’s telehealth page does not see the American Well logo and instead sees the facility’s own brand.

Read more on DOTmed.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Ramping up Telehealth: Lessons Learned from a Health Plan]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6387 2016-08-22T14:36:47Z 2016-08-22T14:36:47Z How do you launch a telehealth service? It can certainly seem like a big task, but when you break it down to a few key lessons, your chances of success grow. Sarah Martin, Assistant Vice President for Product Development & Member Engagement at Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, shared her insightful thoughts with us on a webinar on implementing telehealth for health plans.

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How do you launch a telehealth service?

It can certainly seem like a big task, but when you break it down to a few key lessons, your chances of success grow. Sarah Martin, Assistant Vice President for Product Development & Member Engagement at Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, shared her insightful thoughts with us on a webinar on implementing telehealth for health plans:

#1: Soft launch first, then market more widely

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina launched a telehealth program, Blue CareOnDemand, with American Well in January 2016. Instead of immediately launching marketing campaigns for members, the team spent January in a soft launch phase before introducing the service more broadly to members. This testing allowed the team to make any needed technical changes before marketing the service to their member population in early March. A softer launch prior to marketing ensures health plans can test the system and adapt to any learnings during the test phase.

#2: Push targeted marketing to your diverse member base

In terms of marketing, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina knew they should target those members that frequent the emergency room or could be redirected to a lower cost setting through Blue CareOnDemand. They wanted to go further, however, and look at other targets within their member population. They conducted persona research and analysis to better understand who would be more likely to use the service and benefit. Through research, they were able to do specific target marketing to different populations and implement a multi-faceted marketing plan with the right marketing mix to reach these other target segments.

#3: Recognize that your employers will want reporting

If you want your employers to invest in telehealth, they will want to see clear statistics and reporting on a regular basis. Through its telehealth platform, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina provides detailed reporting for employer clients. Before launching your telehealth offering, think about what you want to get out of reporting. This requires bringing all your stakeholders together and identifying the metrics that you want to benchmark and track on the analytics side.

Take note of these key lessons and you’ll be well prepared to launch telehealth, satisfying your members, employers and the stakeholders across your health plan.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Study: Telemedicine adoption up, provider-to-provider visits popular]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6292 2016-07-21T20:45:55Z 2016-07-21T14:39:21Z Roughly 61% of health systems have adopted some sort of telehealth in 2016, up 3.5% from 2015, according to the new HIMSS Analytics 2016 Telemedicine Study. The study surveyed 243 healthcare IT leaders in the U.S. and the overwhelming consensus was that telehealth is becoming more and more popular. So, why are health systems adopting […]

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Roughly 61% of health systems have adopted some sort of telehealth in 2016, up 3.5% from 2015, according to the new HIMSS Analytics 2016 Telemedicine Study. The study surveyed 243 healthcare IT leaders in the U.S. and the overwhelming consensus was that telehealth is becoming more and more popular. So, why are health systems adopting telehealth more and more?

     Percent of Respondents with a Telemedicine Solution

Percent of respondents with a telemedicine solution

Fill gaps in care

The steady increase in adoption year-over-year demonstrates how essential telehealth is becoming to health systems.  According to the same HIMSS study, the largest driving factor behind telehealth adoption in health systems continues to be filling gaps in patient care.

Provide new services

Interestingly, health systems are also adopting telehealth to provide services that are otherwise not available—this has been the key driver to growth each year since 2014. This is especially important when on-site physicians need to connect with specialists who may not be available on-site. At American Well, we have developed a product specifically for this type of provider-to-provider interaction called the Telemed Tablet.

Get providers and patients to connect more

Health Systems are also using two-way video telehealth more for provider-to-provider communications than for provider-to-patient interactions. According to the HIMSS Analytics survey, 43% of respondents use two-way video for provider-to-provider visits, while 38% use it to for provider-to-patient encounters. What’s even more interesting is that almost all these interactions are happening via desktops, while video visits via mobile and tablet platforms still remain relatively limited.

HIMSS1

        Source: HIMSS Analytics 2016 Telemedicine Study

 

Increase access to care

Another driver of telehealth adoption for health systems—and the only driver that has not appeared in years prior—is increasing 24/7 access to care. This signifies that health systems are using telehealth as an on-demand service outside of the typical “office hours.”

These four drivers are not only causing health systems to adopt telehealth, but motivating health systems that already use telehealth to invest further. According to the study, 25% of respondents who have not yet invested in telehealth plan to do so within the next two years, while 26% of those who already have some sort of telehealth service in place plan to invest further in the same time period. Of those organizations that plan to invest in telehealth, 60% plan to do so within the next 12 months.

Timeframe to Purchase Telemedicine Solution

HIMSS5

While it comes as no surprise that telehealth services are on the rise with health systems, the HIMSS Analytics study shines a light on what is driving this adoption, and how health systems plan on using it now and in the future.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Congrats to our “Most Wired” Healthcare Partners!]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6279 2016-07-15T19:31:15Z 2016-07-15T19:31:15Z When a partner is recognized by their industry for cutting-edge work, you’re proud to be aligned with a venerable brand and innovator. This was the case for us when the American Hospital Association recently came out with their list of the 2016 “Most Wired” hospitals. We’re excited that so many of our innovative partners were […]

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When a partner is recognized by their industry for cutting-edge work, you’re proud to be aligned with a venerable brand and innovator. This was the case for us when the American Hospital Association recently came out with their list of the 2016 “Most Wired” hospitals. We’re excited that so many of our innovative partners were recognized for their work collaborating with us on telemedicine.

The annual “Most Wired” list is designed to measure the level of information technology adoption in hospitals and health systems across the U.S. and serve as a tool for leadership to map their IT strategic plans.

This year’s list prominently featured those hospitals and health systems that are ramping up their efforts in telehealth, population health and IT security. Among the “Most Wired” were the following American Well partners:

  • Avera Health
  • Baptist Health South Florida
  • Bon Secours Health System
  • Carolinas Healthcare
  • Children’s Health System of Texas
  • Christiana Care
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Hackensack UMC
  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • MedStar Health
  • Memorial Healthcare
  • Nemours Children’s Health System
  • Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
  • Providence Health and Services
  • Reid Health
  • Riverside Health system
  • Luke’s University Health Network
  • Tampa General Hospital

We could not be more proud to partner with so many innovative provider organizations and work together to transform healthcare by bringing the best of real-world care online.

Click here to read a success story about Avera’s innovative work in telehealth.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[For Common Ailments, You Might Not Need an In-Office Visit…]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6264 2016-07-14T12:43:07Z 2016-07-07T15:39:56Z This post originally appeared on http://livewellnebraska.com. Misty Evans’ son was in his pajamas, sitting on the couch, as he talked to a doctor. When asked, his mom, of Lincoln, put the phone close to his mouth so the doc could see the back of his throat. They were taking advantage of telehealth, a new service […]

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This post originally appeared on http://livewellnebraska.com.

Misty Evans’ son was in his pajamas, sitting on the couch, as he talked to a doctor. When asked, his mom, of Lincoln, put the phone close to his mouth so the doc could see the back of his throat.

They were taking advantage of telehealth, a new service that lets patients see a doctor via computer, tablet or phone anytime, anywhere.

Telehealth

“The process took about ten minutes to register, you got to pick which doctor you wanted on the list after reading their credentials, we had to wait about 15 minutes, and then we were seen,” said Evans, who works for Crete Carrier Corporation. “The doctor sent a (prescription) over to Walgreens, and afterwards, I was sent a summary of the visit. It was awesome.”

Telehealth is another step in making health care more accessible and convenient, according to Dr. Joann Schaefer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s senior vice president and chief medical officer.

Read the rest of the blog here.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[The Future of Healthcare is… Now, according to The Wall Street Journal]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6240 2016-06-29T20:41:49Z 2016-06-29T15:53:06Z This week marked another media milestone for American Well – our company, CEO and several of our partners were featured in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) cover story on telemedicine and how it is “finally living up to its potential.” The WSJ story caps a recent shift in the industry – and related news coverage […]

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This week marked another media milestone for American Well – our company, CEO and several of our partners were featured in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) cover story on telemedicine and how it is “finally living up to its potential.”

AW_WallStreetJrn_June2016

The WSJ story caps a recent shift in the industry – and related news coverage – toward evaluating how major healthcare providers, health plans, employers, and retailers are now using telemedicine, as opposed to the futuristic analyses of days gone by.

Recent business stories that take a look at the implementation of telemedicine by leading healthcare brands include:

While we are of course pleased with the great coverage for American Well and some of our partners – including Anthem, Cleveland Clinic, CVS Health, Intermountain Healthcare, Nemours Children’s Health System, and UnitedHealth Group – we are just as excited to bear witness to telemedicine’s graduation from new and untested to established and transformative.

Here’s to a bright future indeed.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Where the Pediatric Patients are]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6191 2016-06-27T12:54:59Z 2016-06-27T12:50:48Z The U.S. News and World Report recently released its national ranking of the Best Children’s Hospitals. Hear about which of these hospitals use telehealth in treating pediatric patients.

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Jennifer McGuire is a director of health system solutions for American Well.

The U.S. News and World Report recently released its national ranking of the Best Children’s Hospitals. Always a go-to resource for learning about the most innovative and effective hospitals, the report gathers clinical data and compiles surveys from more than 10,000 pediatric specialists on where they would send the sickest children in their specialties. This year’s report is an impressive list of hospitals who are bringing new methods to care that improve health outcomes for children across the U.S.

Given our role in the healthcare spectrum, we congratulate all of the nearly 80 pediatric hospitals included, and we want to recognize the following hospitals:

  • Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital
  • Nemours, Orlando
  • Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Miami
  • Children’s Medical Dallas
  • Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Health

What do they all have in common?

Besides being the best of the best in caring for children in specific specialties, they all believe in the power of telehealth. American Well, in turn, powers that telehealth. We’re proud to support these health systems in the incredible work they’re doing on behalf of patients to improve care outcomes for everyone they serve.

Pediatrics is one of the many use cases we see our clients implementing in telehealth and it goes well beyond urgent care. Children’s Medical Dallas has a telehealth practice for their clinically integrated network doctors to use the platform for scheduled follow-up visits. Hospitals are using telehealth to treat pediatric patients for neurosurgery, nutrition education and orthopedics.

Here are a few specific and unique ways that pediatric hospitals are applying video visits for their patients.

Kiosks: making healthcare available where the parents are

Children’s Medical Dallas provides kiosks to its employees in two of its major acute care hospitals, providing streamlined care to the doctors, nurses and staff who serve pediatric patients each day. Our client Avera has placed telemedicine kiosks in grocery store chain Hy-Vee, providing video care to busy parents and children aged two and up while they’re at the store taking care of errands. Avera has also set up nutrition programs and health events in the stores to promote quick, seamless care to the moms that shop at Hy-Vee. If you’re interested in learning more about Avera’s kiosks, check out their telehealth case study.

Telemed Tablet: offering consults to school nurses

Children’s hospitals are benefiting from our Telemed Tablet in unique ways. The tablet is a unique tool enabling provider-to-provider consults via video right from the bedside of a patient. By placing tablets in schools, nurses can connect immediately with specialists who provide consults on medical issues that falls within their expertise. That specialist can recommend follow-up care or solve the issue right on the consult. This eliminates the need for a child to be transported to an emergency room or office visit when it might not be needed.

The Exchange: making world-class pediatricians available beyond geographic boundaries

Nemours is making its providers available through the American Well Exchange. The Exchange is a virtual storefront – enabling health systems to offer their healthcare services to patients across the American Well network. In the case of Nemours, this means that any patient who uses the Amwell app (American Well’s direct-to-consumer app) in Florida can see a Nemours provider. Nemours makes its physicians and clinicians available to a much wider audience, introducing new patients to its top-ranked doctors and services. For the physician, it is as easy as clicking from one virtual patient examination room to the next. Pediatric hospitals who choose to work with American Well have the opportunity to open up their services to many more pediatric patients who could benefit from that care.

Pediatrics is an area of growth and opportunity for telehealth, and in fact, the American Telemedicine Association has a Pediatric Telehealth Special Interest Group dedicated to educating other organizations on how to best implement a pediatric telehealth strategy. We salute all of our health systems recognized this year for their innovation and quality care and we celebrate the early adopter providers who see telehealth as an innovative, effective tool for enhancing outcomes for pediatric patients.

 

 

 

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Amanda Guisbond <![CDATA[American Well engineering team highlighted on VentureFizz]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6189 2017-11-27T18:57:53Z 2016-06-23T19:03:03Z This week we announced the appointment of longtime American Well technology executive Jon Freshman to Chief Technology Officer. Following the news, VentureFizz, a popular Boston-area technology outlet, reached out with a few questions for Jon on what his appointment means for the company and what it’s like working on the engineering team. Below is a […]

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This week we announced the appointment of longtime American Well technology executive Jon Freshman to Chief Technology Officer. Following the news, VentureFizz, a popular Boston-area technology outlet, reached out with a few questions for Jon on what his appointment means for the company and what it’s like working on the engineering team. Below is a preview of the Q&A which you can read in full on VentureFizz here.

Jon_Freshman_CTOAmerican Well Engineers Seamlessly Advance Telehealth

As seen on VentureFizz – Excerpt below

American Well has recently appointed Jon Freshman as its new CTO, who has been with the company since its early days. It is the leading provider of telemedicine services through Amwell, the No. 1 most downloaded telehealth app. Through the years, Freshman watched the engineering team evolve and a helped develop a culture. Freshman joined American Well in 2007, tackling web and mobile development. In 2013, he became the company’s first SVP of its R&D division.

We caught up with Freshman to hear about the exciting things the engineering team is up to. Read more in the interview below.

American Well is hiring — take a look at their BIZZpage for open positions!

Jillian Gregoriou: Congratulations on your new role as CTO, Jon! You’ve been with American Well since almost the very beginning. How have you seen the team evolve?

Jon Freshman: Originally, our team was focused on how to provide on-demand healthcare services to patients over web browsers. As our platform adoption grew, so too has the need for the team’s expertise to evolve into iOS and Android development, biometric device integration, analytics and monitoring.

JG: What has kept you at American Well for almost a decade? What’s in the Kool-Aid?

JF: It’s a combination of many things, really – knowing that our products and services offer simple and affordable access to healthcare, working with our talented team of engineers, and of course, investing in the latest technologies.

To read the rest of this interview click here. 

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[4 Ways Healthcare is Getting a Return on Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6160 2016-06-16T15:36:23Z 2016-06-16T15:36:23Z An earlier version of this article appeared on MedCity. A recent study by Willis Towers Watson found that telehealth could save as much as $6 billion annually in U.S. healthcare costs. While this figure indicates huge potential within healthcare systems for reducing medical costs with telehealth, it’s equally important to break down these numbers into […]

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An earlier version of this article appeared on MedCity.

A recent study by Willis Towers Watson found that telehealth could save as much as $6 billion annually in U.S. healthcare costs. While this figure indicates huge potential within healthcare systems for reducing medical costs with telehealth, it’s equally important to break down these numbers into more specific return on investment use cases and data. Below are four examples of how hospitals are using telehealth to reduce medical costs and deliver high-quality care.

Telehealth

1. Readmission Reduction

Telehealth is being leveraged as a key part of hospitals’ programs to help combat high readmission rates. By improving follow-up and care management of a range of patients—from the chronically ill to patients recovering from surgery – hospitals can prevent many readmissions.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 25 percent of congestive heart failure patients in the U.S. are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, butEssentia Health has seen less than 2 percent of patients who participate in its telehealth program get readmitted in that same timeframe.

A report by the Commonwealth Fund found that Partners HealthCare’s Connected Cardiac Care Program has seen a 50 percent reduction in heart failure-related readmission rates for enrolled patients since its telemedicine pilot launched in 2006. The program has estimated a total cost savings of more than $10 million.

2. Patient Transport Cost Reduction

Telehealth has the potential to decrease the high costs of transporting patients. Health systems and facilities have seen significant cost efficiencies and improved outcomes through being able to avoid patient transfers.

A study conducted by the Center for Information Technology Leadership (CITL) found that implementing provider-to-provider hybrid telehealth technologies would result in annual net savings of $1.39 billion in avoided inter-emergency department transfers, $270.3 million in avoided correctional facility transfers, and $806 million in avoided nursing facility transfers. Telehealth can reduce transfer costs while promoting better patient quality of life.

3. Efficient Staff Utilization

Telehealth enables health systems to better distribute staff throughout their healthcare facilities and load-balance resources across entire systems, reaching more patients with less strain on specialist resources. Rural facilities may not have sufficient patient numbers to warrant certain types or numbers of specialists, but can treat patients effectively through telemedicine. Telehealth also improves provider-to-provider communication, which can  result in improved patient care and as a result, cost savings.

4. Preventative Outreach

About 1 in 10 hospitalizations were from a potentially preventable condition, such as complications of diabetes, dehydration, and heart conditions, costing hospitals billions of dollars a year. Telehealth can prevent hospital admissions by facilitating convenient monitoring for patients at the highest risk for hospitalization, including chronic care patients and those with behavioral health conditions.

A study by the Commonwealth Fund examining the Veterans Administration’s (VA) telehealth program, Care Coordination/Home Telehealth (CCHT), saw a 20 percent reduction in patients seeking hospital services for diabetes. On the behavioral health side, the VA saw a 56 percent reduction in hospital services for depression and a 40 percent drop in hospitalizations for other mental health issues. Together, these results translate to $2,000 in per-patient annual savings.

And the Unsung Use Case – Patient Satisfaction

While telehealth arms health systems with the resources needed to reduce medical spend, it’s also important to note that a significant portion of the value derived from telehealth comes from greater patient satisfaction. The VA found an average patient satisfaction score of 86 percent for its Home Telehealth program. CVS, which recently implemented telehealth into its Minute Clinics, has also seen an impressive patient satisfaction rate of 90 percent with telehealth. Our app Amwell sees average patient satisfaction scores of 91%.

As hospitals seek to decrease costs and increase patient satisfaction, telehealth will continue to be a critical tool to reduce costs and offer better patient care.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[New Case Study with Avera Health]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=6093 2018-04-04T15:14:43Z 2016-05-26T16:43:49Z Heading into 2015, Avera wanted to introduce a direct-to-consumer telehealth offering to complement its already established business-to-business telemedicine network. Avera aimed to offer video visits to a population of more than 1 million people, within an expansive 72,000 square miles. Here’s a recap of the recently released case study that highlights Avera’s goals and roadmap for its direct-to-consumer telehealth launch. Consumer Telehealth […]

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Heading into 2015, Avera wanted to introduce a direct-to-consumer telehealth offering to complement its already established business-to-business telemedicine network. Avera aimed to offer video visits to a population of more than 1 million people, within an expansive 72,000 square miles. Here’s a recap of the recently released case study that highlights Avera’s goals and roadmap for its direct-to-consumer telehealth launch.

Consumer Telehealth Goals

Avera garnered support from the highest levels of the organization to pursue consumer telehealth and together the team identified three key goals for Avera’s direct-to-consumer offering, AveraNow:

  1. Assist Avera Health Plan with diverting patients away from unnecessary office-based and emergency room care.
  2. Create a strong affiliation with Avera primary care providers.
  3. Attract new patients residing within the Avera geographic market.

Defining the Requirements

Avera already had a number of criteria in mind for consumer telehealth success. These criteria included the support for multiple use cases beyond urgent care, access via multiple end points such as mobile, web and kiosk and a high quality online care experience. Additionally, Avera wanted to engage physicians while adhering to proper clinical standards and to ensure that the platform fit into Avera’s existing health plan.

Avera and American Well worked together to implement the requirements. They first configured and set up the solution on the back-end to meet critical technical and security requirements, before building a branded application on the front-end.

AveraNow on mobile

Communication was critical to implementation success. Avera not only had to effectively communicate the new service to consumers within its expansive footprint, but to physicians within the Avera ecosystem.

To effectively reach patients, Avera marketed the service via an integrated campaign, which included email marketing, online advertising, a robust remarketing program, local television and billboard ads and a public relations campaign which resulted in broadcast media opportunities.

Early Results

Since launching AveraNow in the summer of 2015, Avera has seen encouraging results, with both enrollments and visits climbing month-by-month. Patients were highly pleased with the treatment and professionalism of the Avera physicians offering care on AveraNow: overall physicians rating averaged 4.7 based on a 5-point scale.

Future Roadmap

Avera has many short-term and long-term objectives for AveraNow, one of which is to expand the service to cover new use cases. Some of these use cases include:

  • Retail Health
  • School Health
  • Coordinated Chronic Care
  • Readmissions Prevention

American Well and Avera will also be holding a webinar to discuss the case study on Tuesday, June 14th at 2PM ET. Click here to register.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Getting Started with Telehealth: The Top Five List]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5970 2016-05-02T13:30:13Z 2016-05-02T13:30:13Z So you’re considering telehealth, but you’re wondering where to start. Here are the top five considerations you should take into account for a successful telehealth strategy and implementation. #1: Start with the end in mind When you first begin seriously considering telehealth for your organization—whether it be a health system, health plan, employer, retailer, etc.—you need to […]

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So you’re considering telehealth, but you’re wondering where to start. Here are the top five considerations you should take into account for a successful telehealth strategy and implementation.

#1: Start with the end in mind

When you first begin seriously considering telehealth for your organization—whether it be a health system, health plan, employer, retailer, etc.—you need to ask yourself “What are my telehealth program goals?” Is your organization interested in acquiring new patients or do you want to save money?  Are you going to measure success based on antibiotic stewardship or based on reductions in hospitalizations? Is it more important to increase primary care relationships or have high visits and enrollments on the system? There is no right or wrong answer; it depends on what your organization is looking to achieve through telehealth. Once you have your goal in mind, it will dictate how the rest of the program is set up and executed.

 

#2: Identify all your potential use cases and prioritize

A major misconception about telehealth is that it can only be used for urgent care. In reality, there are many use cases for telehealth, including but certainly not limited to behavioral health, medication management, asthma counseling, pediatric care, post hospital discharge, pregnancy and lactation services, and dermatology.  When implementing telehealth for the first time, you will want to first identify all the potential use cases for your organization, and then prioritize them based on what you need right now, and what you should implement further on down the line.

use cases

 

#3: Enlist providers from the get-go

There is nothing more important than physician buy-in. If the physicians are excited about telehealth, its chances of succeeding grow exponentially. In order to garner physician excitement, you should invite clinical discussion from the get-go and recruit clinical leaders who are not only excited about telehealth, but who are respected within the clinical community. If a respected clinician becomes a telehealth champion, other physicians who are more hesitant will begin to show support for the initiative. Another important step is to create care guidelines and protocols to help ensure the physicians that telehealth is a safe way to practice medicine. Online Care Group has its own set of clinical guidelines that physicians can use, and they also hold telehealth Grand Rounds to bring together the clinical community to engage in conversation and share use cases.

Providers

 

#4: Make a telehealth integration roadmap

There are a lot of moving parts when you’re implementing a telehealth service—from managing workflows and administration functionalities, to handling eligibility and claims. Some other integration considerations include where the service is going to be hosted and how. American Well has the ability to build you a dedicated telehealth consumer app—complete with your logo, fonts and colors—or we can place the telehealth functionality in to your existing app with our mobile SDK.  Once you’ve decided how consumers are going to access the service, you’ll need to choose how you’re going to offer it—on-demand, scheduled or both. If you’re considering scheduled visits, you will need to figure out how to balance that with a physician’s brick and mortar schedule. If you’re a health system, you’re also going to want to integrate with your EMR. While American Well has APIs specifically for this type of integration, it’s always useful to map out an entire integration plan before getting started.

Mobile SDK

#5: Plan for consumer engagement

The saying “If you build it they will come” does not apply to telehealth—you need to tell consumers about it! The first step to marketing a telehealth service is setting a budget and having goals that can be realistically attained under that budget. Next, you should adopt a multi-channel approach that includes things like email, direct mail, digital and in-office marketing. By monitoring and measuring each of these channels, you will find which are garnering the best consumer response. You should be communicating regularly with your providers, whether it’s via in-person meetings, newsletters or email, to ensure they are aware and on-board with the service before, during and after launch.

Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to successful launch and offering.

 

 

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[More than Adequate: the New CMS Medicaid Requirements]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5975 2016-05-31T21:25:02Z 2016-04-29T12:35:29Z CMS recently unveiled its new Medicaid managed care regulatory requirements, and with it took a great leap forward in acknowledging the inherent value of telehealth.

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CMS recently unveiled its new Medicaid managed care regulatory requirements, and with it took a great leap forward in acknowledging the inherent value of telehealth.

For the first time, the agency urged states to consider telemedicine as they create their individual network adequacy standards for private Medicaid plans. This is a significant stake in the ground.

Historically, CMS adequacy measurements have not allowed for telehealth to meet these criteria. However, this new regulation combined with the National Association for Insurance Commissioners model state legislation, which if codified, would formally add telehealth as an acceptable element of meeting adequacy standards, gives states the tools and the encouragement they need to better serve their Medicaid populations through technology.

CMS estimates that approximately 74 million Americans will receive care through Medicaid this year. In order to provide sufficient provider access to these millions of patients, states must now act and modernize their laws and regulations to take full advantage of the benefits of telehealth.

We look forward to hearing thoughts and discussing these new requirements with the industry.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Avizia Among 10 Most Promising Telemedicine Solutions]]> https://www.americanwell.com/avizia-among-10-most-promising-telemedicine-solutions/ 2016-04-26T00:00:00Z 2016-04-26T00:00:00Z Avizia Offers Transformational Telemedicine Solutions for Optimum Patient Care The adoption of telehealth platforms are transforming the traditional methods of care delivery in the healthcare continuum. Telemedicine technology is at center point of stimulating patient-centric care by leveraging advanced clinical facilities at any time and any location to improve quality of care. Amidst the mobile technologie […]

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Avizia Offers Transformational Telemedicine Solutions for Optimum Patient Care

The adoption of telehealth platforms are transforming the traditional methods of care delivery in the healthcare continuum. Telemedicine technology is at center point of stimulating patient-centric care by leveraging advanced clinical facilities at any time and any location to improve quality of care. Amidst the mobile technologie and Electronic Health Records (EHR) proliferating in healthcare industry, two-way interactive interactions through telehealth platforms enable clinicians to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients at remote locations in a viable and cost-effective fashion.

Healthcare Tech Outlook recently published their 10 Most Promising Telemedicine Solution Providers of 2016, noting Avizia’s transformational telehealth solutions for optimal patient care. Enterprise telehealth requires certain commitment, governance, and planning. Avizia has helped large health systems, provider networks, and home care agencies, to prepare for successful system-wide telehealth implementations. Avizia’s flexible end-to-end telehealth platform is designed to tackle the most common modalities that healthcare providers are striving to address today–behavioral health, general medicine, and emergency care–in additional to newly emerging telemedicine applications.

Avizia’s telemedicine carts and peripherals help connect physicians, specialists and their patients to the point of care from geographically dispersed locations. While facilitating collaboration with the care teams, patients can hold their interactions with doctors or nurses via Avizia’s medical devices from the luxury of their own homes, or even from outskirts of the cities.

Further, a telehealth program can only be successful if it can mimic the existing clinical practice. Avizia has designed its workflow software to achieve all levels of optimum care from scheduling patients to delivering care and tracking their recovery. Avizia offers a complete suite of software designed to integrate with an organization’s existing Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems.  At a glance, Avizia ONE enables more efficient care coordination, communication, and virtual care.

Read the complete article on Healthcare Tech Outlook.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[American Well Client Forum Recap]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5854 2016-04-14T14:40:08Z 2016-04-13T14:44:06Z American Well is still coming down off a terrific week in beautiful, albeit not-so-sunny San Diego (it rained most of the time, but that didn’t stop us from having a blast!), where we hosted our second-ever Client Forum at the Omni Hotel. This telehealth meeting of the minds brought together clients and partners, including top […]

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American Well is still coming down off a terrific week in beautiful, albeit not-so-sunny San Diego (it rained most of the time, but that didn’t stop us from having a blast!), where we hosted our second-ever Client Forum at the Omni Hotel.

This telehealth meeting of the minds brought together clients and partners, including top health systems, health plans, employers, associations and medical boards to hash out telehealth best practices, discuss hurdles, and share in the overall excitement of industry growth.

As they say in Vegas (or San Diego?), we think it’s important to keep what happened at the Client Forum at the Client Forum, but we wanted to share a few thematic and general takeaways from the sessions.

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Our clients are telehealth trendsetters. And we’re not just saying that because they’re our clients.  Through panelist discussions, keynotes, and even just informal chatter during breaks, the week was pervaded by a strong sense that we were among the industry’s best. Our clients are coming up with ground-breaking use cases for telehealth; measuring all aspects of a telehealth encounter, from ROI to patient satisfaction; and constantly conceptualizing innovative ways to insert telehealth into the care delivery model. But what was equally impressive was the overall sense of camaraderie among all in attendance. Health systems who have been using telehealth for years, such as Cleveland Clinic and Avera, were sharing best practices with smaller health systems that were just getting started with telehealth. Health plans were working alongside health systems and employers alongside payers, to really get into the essence of what makes telehealth work, and what needs to be fixed in order to succeed.

Clients have personal telehealth experiences. Leaders in the healthcare industry shared personal stories of their own overwhelmingly positive experiences with telehealth. In every story there were clear benefits to the patients and caregivers, as well as the physicians and hospitals. The personal touch captured by these vignettes of firsthand experiences humanized the decisions of healthcare executives, who truly believe in the power that telehealth offers.

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Provider engagement is key to success. While consumers have begun to embrace telehealth, physician engagement is equally critical to its success. Many health systems discussed different strategies for physician engagement, while health plans shared concerns of fragmenting provider relations. One health system recommended choosing a telehealth use case based on physician enthusiasm and respect—the thought being that an excited physician is the best advocate to influence other physicians to try telehealth..

Reimbursement is complicated. The landscape for reimbursement continues to improve each month, but payers are still working through how to properly reimburse for telehealth visits. Should telehealth visits be reimbursed the same as in-person visits? There was discussion and debate for both sides. Most agreed that telehealth provided equal value and quality compared to an in-office visit. While we didn’t settle every last telehealth reimbursement challenge at the Client Forum, it is clear that everyone involved in telehealth wants it to be as successful as possible.

CF4
Mike Lemovitz, Director of Client Relations, gives a demo of the American Well kiosk.

 

Future projections are positive, but now we need to execute. We’re all familiar with the enormous projections for telehealth—from telehealth visits skyrocketing to 180 million by 2018, to certain health systems expecting to do more video visits than in-person visits by 2018. And while these projections are exciting, they also require immediate and ongoing action. Health systems and physicians need to play today in order to execute on future projections and make telehealth into the industry we all know it can be.

We’re excited that we could share a few days meeting with the early adopters and influencers in the telehealth space and are already planning for next year’s forum. Stay tuned…

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Chad Barrera <![CDATA[Employee Spotlight]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5824 2018-04-04T14:53:17Z 2016-04-01T19:38:22Z Sierra Sohl-Dickstein talks about why she was excited to join American Well. “After trying our product, it was easy to see so many opportunities for it to improve the healthcare experience on a wide scale. The potential to make an impact felt really high, which was exciting then, and remains so today!”

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Name: Sierra Sohl-Dickstein

Title: Senior Product Manager

Department: Product Management

Start Date: December, 2014

What attracted you to American Well?

When I was interviewing, I was struck by the enthusiasm of everyone I met. I saw joining American Well as an opportunity to be part of a team where everyone was completely invested in what we’re doing and where we’re headed. Day in, day out, I’ve always felt that it’s the people that make the organization.  Right away, I could tell I would be joining a really strong group and working alongside a great set of people. After trying our product, it was easy to see so many opportunities for it to improve the healthcare experience on a wide scale. The potential to make an impact felt really high, which was exciting then, and remains so today!

What does a day in the life of a Product Manager look like?

Every day is completely different – that variety is one of the things I love about working at American Well.  In product, one of our core functions is to manage the product roadmap. We look to customers to provide information on their needs and experiences, and we consider how the product could address their challenges. We meet regularly with each customer’s project manager to understand how the customer is using the product, and discuss high priority issues.

For me, every day starts with Agile style stand-ups with our web and mobile development teams. We talk about what’s going on in the development process for a release cycle, and raise any blocking issues.  We’re always looking forward to the next release so I spend a good deal of time collaborating with colleagues in Development, QA, and Visual Design to define new features. This may include wireframing a redesigned version of the patient homepage, or just whiteboarding requirements with the team.

Depending on the day, I might also be writing Release Notes, working with other internal departments at American Well, or speaking with another company with whom we might collaborate.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I enjoy running and exploring new neighborhoods around Boston. Some friends and I have a paint club, where we get together and all paint the same scene. I also really enjoy camping in the Summer and Fall, especially at Hermit Island Campground in Maine.

 Have you used American Well’s direct-to-consumer app, Amwell?

Yes, many times! I had my first ‘real’ visit just a few weeks after starting at American Well. I had flu-like symptoms, a terrible sore throat, and was losing my voice. When the video visit began, I got out two words, and my voice was completely shot. I gestured to my boyfriend to come over and tell the doctor about my symptoms. The doctor guided me to shine a flashlight i to my mouth so that she could look at my throat. I also used the chat function to type answers to the doctor’s questions. It turned out I had a robust case of laryngitis.

What are your thoughts on the ways healthcare is changing and what we can expect to see in the future?

In healthcare, quality always matters. More and more, I think people expect that quality to be easily accessible, and affordable. I’m convinced that having a visit online will soon be a very common way to access care, whether for an urgent care issue, a follow-up appointment, or to manage a chronic condition.  Telehealth will be just another way to receive care, and often the most convenient.

Each release, I see how new features, like multiway video, can enhance how patients get healthcare, and allow them to get the support they need. At this moment, there are still a lot of challenges we face in healthcare, but there’s so much focus on this area, and our momentum is growing. I think there are endless opportunities for technology to solve healthcare problems, and it’s a tremendously exciting time!

What were you doing before you came onboard?
Optimus Prime, Megatron, Dinobot Slog – before American Well, I was on Hasbro’s Transformers Global Brand Team. I worked on core products as well as the new Transformers television show. Before that, I worked at the Harvard School of Public Health for seven years, which helped me to better understand the challenges we face in providing healthcare to all.

When you talk about telehealth with friends and family, what do you say?

I start with the basics that when they’re sick, they can go online and get immediate help from a doctor, 24/7. This scenario resonates with everyone who has raced to an urgent care clinic, only to wait around for a long time feeling crummy. But, American Well does so much more, and I talk a lot about how much choice our platform offers customers. Whether it’s getting wrap-around support from the Online Care Group, offering therapy or nutrition appointments, or adding on Kiosks or Telemed Tablets, American Well’s offering can be modular, and completely flexible. It allows the customer to launch quickly, and then continue to enhance its offering. When I talk about work, folks are always surprised at just how much the American Well platform can offer, and how much choice the customer has in designing the patient experience.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telemedicine: An Alternative to Costly Hospital Transfers]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telemedicine-an-alternative-to-costly-hospital-transfers/ 2016-03-23T00:00:00Z 2016-03-23T00:00:00Z Hospitals and the Open-door Transfer Policy: Can We Do a Better Job? In Dr. Pitt’s latest edition to At the Intersection of Technology and Health, he explores why doctors don’t question hospital transfers, and how patients who are unnecessarily transferred face financial risk. Today, 30% of bankruptcies in America are caused by medical expenses. Telemedicine technology is becoming a valuable […]

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Hospitals and the Open-door Transfer Policy: Can We Do a Better Job?

In Dr. Pitt’s latest edition to At the Intersection of Technology and Health, he explores why doctors don’t question hospital transfers, and how patients who are unnecessarily transferred face financial risk. Today, 30% of bankruptcies in America are caused by medical expenses. Telemedicine technology is becoming a valuable alternative to costly hospital transfers.

Helicopter Hospital TransferHistorically the phone has been the only option for communication between hospitals. With no other information, the open door policy made sense. But times have changed. Just as you can Skype with friends over long distances, expert care can also be delivered remotely. Such advances are extremely important for credibility between providers and between providers and patients. Video improves relationships and credibility in the care cycle. Enabled by video (a primary tool of telemedicine), centers of excellence could complete their mission, support the outline facility, and still be more selective in which patients they accept for transfer.

This business model has worked effectively for telestroke treatment. Rural emergency room physicians weren’t comfortable initially with the administration of clot busting agents (t-PA) for stroke. But through the use of telemedicine, stroke experts now stand behind rural physicians, helping them decide whether or not to administer t-PA and whether or not the patient is to be transferred. This partnership allows patients to receive a higher level of care, while the number of transfers has diminished. It’s a win-win for both rural hospitals and urban centers of excellence. The same change in process, replacing the phone with video, is widely applicable to all sorts of clinical scenarios.

The healthcare community is built on principles of compassion and a chance to heal. But well-intended efforts that make it easy for patients to get care at tertiary facilities have unintended consequences. Care decisions need to be gauged against the ultimate outcome for our patients. Of course we need to take care of those patients who need tertiary services. However a blanket open-door policy for transfer may not be the right answer in 2016. To save someone who didn’t need saving, while ruining their financial health in the process, is not just a matter of outmoded policy; it is something close to a crime of neglect.

Click here to read more At the Intersection of Technology and Health.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[The Top Telehealth Terms to Know]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5709 2017-11-27T19:46:04Z 2016-03-17T15:17:37Z As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” At American Well, we recognize that telehealth is a new or budding concept for a lot of people in a lot of different industries. Our goal is to help you understand how telehealth can work for you and what exactly all these buzzwords mean.

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As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” At American Well, we recognize that telehealth is a new or budding concept for a lot of people in a lot of different industries. Our goal is to help you understand how telehealth can work for you and what exactly all these buzzwords mean.

Here are the top telehealth terms we think every person new to the industry should know:

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ACOs: Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers who voluntarily collaborate to provide high-quality care to patients through contracts with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and/or private healthcare insurers. The goal of this coordinated care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding duplication of services and preventing medical errors. Telehealth is on the rise in ACOs.

API: An application program interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. The API stipulates how software components should interact. American Well has three types of APIs: administrative, scheduling and clinical. Our administrative APIs provide ways for staff to enroll patients and list “directories” of available providers. Our scheduling APIs allow EMR scheduling systems to synchronize scheduled visits with American Well, with the option to trigger emails to patient and physicians. The clinical interfaces provide data exchange before, during, and after visits, such as sharing a patient’s health history.

Appointment Scheduling: In addition to on-demand video visits, patients and physicians can schedule video appointments with one another. The self-scheduling option allows patients to get care when they need it, at times that fit into their schedules. Providers can use dedicated telehealth time slots to fit in more visits, and can use scheduling to see their own patients.

Apple Health: Apple Health, or Apple HealthKit, is a preinstalled app on Apple Watch and all iOS8 devices that contains an easy-to-read dashboard for a person’s fitness and health data. The app shows heart rate, calories burned, cholesterol and other important vital information, as well as results of lab tests, diagnoses and medical examinations. American Well is integrated with Apple Health to allow telehealth physicians to immediately access and track a patient’s health information with just one click. This integration is key for chronic patients and population health management.

ATA Accreditation: The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) developed an accreditation program to establish standard criteria regarding the security of patient information, transparency in pricing and operations, qualifications and licensing of providers and clinical practices and guidelines for telemedicine. This seal of accreditation can provide reassurance for consumers, as well as for payers, who can be confident that they a reimbursing a virtual service that is safe and of high quality. American Well earned ATA’s first accreditation for online patient consultations.

AW9: American Well’s next generation product line, AW9, was revealed at HIMSS 2016 in Las Vegas. Included in its wide suite of features is the mobile SDK, which allows companies to embed telehealth right into their own app, and Multiway video, which allows doctors and patients to invite other specialists and caregivers right into the visit. Click here for an in-depth showing of AW9 features.

Brokerage System: American Well’s brokerage system is a patented core technology that organizes pools of providers to efficiently meet patient demand while considering availability, clinical specialty, medical regulations, licensure and other qualifications. The brokerage system is a central feature across our entire platform that helps facilitates patient-to-provider consults, as well as provider-to-provider consults (via the Telemed Tablet). The brokerage system was invented by Roy Schoenberg, MD, MPH CEO and co-founder of American Well.

EMRs: Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) contain the standard medical and clinical data gathered by a patient’s provider, and allows that provider to track data over time. American Well allows physicians to seamlessly and safely access EMRs for better patient care.

ePrescribing: ePrescribing is the ability for physicians to fill medical prescriptions online via telehealth. American Well physicians e-prescribe when deemed medically appropriate, and only in the states that allow ePrescribing. Surescripts enables American Well’s ePrescribing functionality.

EHRs: Electronic Health Records (EHRs) go one step beyond EMRs by tracking clinical data from multiple facilities and agencies. EHRs share a patient’s medical history from all providers involved in his or her care, and are often digitized to improve efficiency, care and cost. American Well allows physicians to seamlessly and safely access EHRs for better patient care.

FSMB: The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is a national nonprofit representing the 70 medical and osteopathic boards of the United States and its territories.[i] The Federation of State Medical Board (FSMB) is a leader in medical regulations, serving as an innovative catalyst for effective policy and standards. FSMB adopted policy guidelines for the safe practice of telehealth, which includes the tenets we mentioned above. FSMB has and will continue to play a key role in regulating the telehealth industry.

HIPAA-Compliant: Any company—including telehealth companies—that handle protected health information (PHI) must ensure that all security measures are in place and followed according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA dictates the acceptable handling of sensitive information, the proper management of information assets, and responsibilities around security and privacy obligations such as training and user access. All of the systems that operate using American Well are private, secure and HIPAA-compliant.

Insight: Insight puts information from any outside system in front of a doctor during a telehealth visit—patient history, gaps in care, and disease management checklists. With AW9, Insight extends to content that is relevant to entire populations—referral instructions, prescription guidelines, and wellness program updates go live to providers immediately.

Kiosks: American Well kiosks come in enclosed, console, and desktop form, and are used as a way for patients to connect with doctors for immediate medical care. Typically used by employers, retailers and health systems, kiosks come equip with a touchscreen interface, high-definition webcam, integrated peripheral and biometric devices, vital sign collection capabilities and much more.

Mobile SDK: American Well introduced the industry’s first mobile software development kit as part of the AW9 launch in March 2016. This mobile SDK allows health systems to add online video doctors’ visits into their native mobile apps, making on-demand care a part of their consumer experience.

Multiway Video: Another featured launched with AW9, multiway video allows a physician or patient to simply invite other participates, such as a specialist, family member, caregiver, or language translator, into a live video visit. Multiway video can be used for a range of reasons, from clinical collaboration and family care, to translation services.

Sidekick App: An extension of the Telemed Tablet, the Sidekick app supplements a live video consultation with images taken on an iPhone. Doctors can easily sync the Telemed Tablet with the iPhone before snapping and sending pictures of EKGs, Xrays, patient history, and other documentation. Images are not saved or stored after the visit to ensure patient privacy and compliance.

Telehealth/Telemedicine: There are many different definitions for telehealth and telemedicine, as well as continuous debate over whether they actually mean the same thing. At American Well, our solution uses technology to solve care delivery challenges, which is why we see no distinction between telehealth and telemedicine. We define both terms as a remote consultation between a doctor and a patient. We believe–as does the Federation of State Medical Boards –that for telehealth to be a true healthcare encounter, several tenets must be upheld: immediacy, patient choice, video and care continuity.

Telehealth 2.0: Telehealth 2.0 is a term coined by Roy Schoenberg, our co-founder and CEO of American Well. The term marks the seismic shift in the healthcare industry’s focus on telehealth in 2015, which had been previously focused almost exclusively on delivering urgent care treatment to patients. With new technologies like American Well’s AW8 release, telehealth is now used by providers to directly care for patients, giving them the tools needed to use telehealth on their own patients, and treat a range of conditions—from chronic care management to surgery follow-up.

Telehealth Medical Practices: Telehealth medical practices allow health systems to mirror traditional brick and mortar settings by offering practices beyond urgent care. Amwell offers its own set of medical practices that include behavioral health, nutrition and medical. Health organizations that use American Well’s platform can also offer their own unique practices—neurology, dermatology, and surgical follow-up— via telehealth.

Telemed Tablet: An FDA-approved Class 1 device, the Telemed Tablet allows a doctor or nurse to tap into a pool of on-call specialists and connect for an immediate video consult in any setting, from the office to the patient’s bedside to the ER. The Telemed Tablet can equip any point of care with specialists, without the cost of full-time onsite staff or travel. New features of the Telemed Tablet include a PTZ Camera and the Sidekick app.

Webside Manner: Coined in 2009 by American Well, webside manner refers to how a healthcare professional interacts and communicates with a patient via online video. Doctors on Amwell have outstanding webside manner, receiving 4.8 out of 5 stars in patient satisfaction.

What other telehealth terms come to mind for you?

[i] http://www.fsmb.org/

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telehealth Brings Doctors into Schools]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telehealth-brings-doctors-into-schools/ 2016-03-14T00:00:00Z 2016-03-14T00:00:00Z From infancy thru adolescence and into young adulthood, the ability to access quality healthcare can often determine if a child will mature healthy, or be afflicted with a lifelong condition that might have otherwise been avoided. Providers worldwide are using telehealth to break down barriers and find unique new ways to reach children and their […]

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From infancy thru adolescence and into young adulthood, the ability to access quality healthcare can often determine if a child will mature healthy, or be afflicted with a lifelong condition that might have otherwise been avoided. Providers worldwide are using telehealth to break down barriers and find unique new ways to reach children and their parents.

Typically found in communities that face economic and healthcare burdens, School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) exist to meet the healthcare needs of children and parents, as well as local community members. The synergy of telehealth and SBHCs enables primary care medicine to reach into schools for assessment, diagnosis and prescribing, reducing the need for parents to usher their children from school to the doctor’s office.

When children get sick at school, it can be a big disruption. Kids miss class, and their parents need to leave work, try to schedule a last minute doctor’s appointment or visit the Emergency Department. Telehealth is changing the equation by connecting kids to pediatricians without leaving their school’s campus. That’s the idea behind Children’s Health in Texas innovative program which has gone from reaching several hundred kids to thousands.

Children’s started a telehealth program at a pair of preschools in 2013. Today, there are telemedicine carts in 57 urban and rural campuses across North Texas. It’s one of the largest school-based telemedicine programs for kids in the country. Dozens of schools across the country are experimenting with telemedicine – from Kansas to Arizona and Georgia. Most are collecting data to see if the programs help kids miss fewer days of school while helping parents save time and money.

Click here to read the original article published by NewsWorks.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[AW9 Launch – Watch the Videos!]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5645 2018-04-04T15:07:58Z 2016-03-10T19:44:26Z Last week we officially launched AW9 at HIMSS. Watch the videos and see for yourself how this release takes telehealth to the next level, making care even more accessible for patients and even easier to deliver for doctors.

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Last week we officially launched AW9 at HIMSS.Watch the videos and see for yourself how this release takes telehealth to the next level, making care even more accessible for patients and even easier to deliver for doctors.

This intro to AW9 video features insight from Roy Schoenberg, our CEO

The mobile SDK, which makes it possible to plug telehealth into another app, is an industry first, and was a major point of interest at HIMSS

Another game-changer in AW9 is Multiway Video, which allows patients and doctors to invite others to join their telehealth visits

AW9 also introduces new functionality to the Telemed Tablet, which brings specialist care to wherever it is needed with the touch of a button

For details on these key features and more, check out our press release and our completely revamped product page.

 

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[Employee Spotlight]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5636 2016-03-08T16:26:20Z 2016-03-08T16:07:46Z Meet Lauren Stanzler, the newest addition to our Business Development team. "I think telehealth is the way of the future. My generation is accustomed to having everything at the click of a button – a car ride, fast food, or a hotel room. Why should healthcare be any different?"

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Name: Lauren Stanzler

Title: Business Development Associate

Department: Marketing

Start Date: January 21, 2016

I think telehealth is the way of the future. My generation is accustomed to having everything at the click of a button – a car ride, fast food, or a hotel room. Why should healthcare be any different?

Lauren's photo

What attracted you to American Well?

I studied Community Health in college. I have always been very passionate about reducing health disparities between those that have access to quality healthcare and those that do not. American Well’s technology not only expands access to healthcare, but also improves the quality of care being delivered. I like being part of an established company, but one that is constantly innovating and evolving. That was exciting to me.

What were you doing before you came onboard?

I worked at Big Brothers Big Sisters, a non-profit in Boston. I was an Enrollment Coordinator, responsible for interviewing potential mentors and matching them with kids in need of support. I spent a lot of time in the community – interviewing families in their homes, and visiting kids at their schools. I became very comfortable interacting with a diverse group of people (and also tracking people down!). I think that skill set translated nicely to the role of a Business Development Associate.

What does a day in the life of a Business Development Associate at American Well look like?

Every day is different, however, my main responsibility is to find opportunities for new business. Leads come to my team from various sources, such as events, webinars, our website, and word of mouth. As a Business Development Associate, I track these leads and identify the ones that might be interested in our services. I focus on health systems. Part of the job is also doing some detective work – finding out which hospitals might be interested in telemedicine. I also enjoy getting involved in department initiatives. Recently, the marketing team launched a chat feature on the company’s website. The Business Development team has been responding to a lot of inquiries about telehealth through the chat, such as “how do I apply to be a physician” or “can a doctor treat me for this?” We wear many hats, and that is what makes the job so exciting.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I like being active. I love trying different fitness studios around the city. I also enjoy exploring Boston. In my previous job, I traveled to all of the neighborhoods in the city. I am also part of a book club, and I play softball through Social Boston Sports in the spring. I like cooking and trying new restaurants (especially those that are vegetarian-friendly!).

Have you used American Well’s direct-to-consumer app, Amwell?

I wanted to show the app to my parents, so we all participated in a visit together. My mom had a question about nutrition. My parents, who were initially somewhat nervous about the new experience of seeing a doctor online, loved the visit! They thought the doctor had great “webside manner.” This was quite the compliment, given that my mom worked for an organization whose mission is to promote compassionate healthcare.

What are your thoughts on the ways healthcare is changing and what we can expect to see in the future?

I think telehealth is the way of the future. My generation is accustomed to having everything at the click of a button – a car ride, fast food, or a hotel room. Why should healthcare be any different? I think that most people would agree our healthcare system is broken. It’s expensive, and often very inefficient. Telehealth is only one piece of the puzzle to improving healthcare, but it is a critical one. If we can treat patients remotely – regardless of where they are in the world – then we can revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Emergency Care by Appointment: An Oxymoron?]]> https://www.americanwell.com/emergency-care-by-appointment-an-oxymoron/ 2016-03-08T00:00:00Z 2016-03-08T00:00:00Z Published February 18, 2016 by The Western PA Healthcare News Team By Dr. Alan Pitt In a WSJ article entitled“Why ER Visits for Non-Emergencies Aren’t Going Away,” Dr. Paul Auerbach, a teaching professor of Emergency Medicine at Stanford’s School of Medicine, summarizes some of the critical factors contributing to and causing over utilization within emergency […]

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By Dr. Alan Pitt

emergency room hallway with bed and nursesIn a WSJ article entitled“Why ER Visits for Non-Emergencies Aren’t Going Away,” Dr. Paul Auerbach, a teaching professor of Emergency Medicine at Stanford’s School of Medicine, summarizes some of the critical factors contributing to and causing over utilization within emergency departments. As outlined by Dr. Auerbach, emergency departments are currently a necessary part of American healthcare. However, active marketing of hospital emergency departments as “America’s clinic”—seems ill conceived. To understand why, let’s look at the emergency room experience from all sides: that of the patient, the provider, and the hospital.

The Patient’s Perspective

Although policy makers and insurers would like to believe otherwise, when you’re sick, injured or in pain, you’re not in a frame of mind to make rational decisions about the lowest cost, highest quality provider. Patients want answers and reassurance as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, access to prompt care has become a real issue. Often people prefer to pay a convenience charge (or they don’t pay) to be seen immediately rather than wait weeks (or even months). Emergency physicians often provide such instant gratification, but they are not equipped to deliver long-term solutions.

The Provider’s Perspective

Overworked and overbooked providers often use the emergency department as a backstop for their practice. One way they do this is through the nearly universal after-hours use of the recording, “If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911,” which pushes the patient to the emergency department. Alternatively, some primary care physicians actively send patients to the emergency room simply to expedite specialty care. Here at my center it is not uncommon for a patient to come to the ED with back pain because the neurosurgeon’s next available appointment was eight weeks out.

The Hospital’s Perspective

Emergency departments can be a profit center. Charges for the same low acuity conditions treated in primary care clinics increase two to three fold in an urgent care setting, and then another five to ten times in an emergency department. Also, to some degree, and based on federal legislation, hospitals are forced to treat (or at least triage) all patients coming to their emergency department.

In short, Americans’ addiction to emergency departments represents a perfect storm of circumstances: Patients want rapid answers; primary care providers have a pop off valve for after-hours or specialty care; and hospitals get revenue. As a result, many hospitals have begun actively promoting ED care. If you call my hospital and many of our competitors, a pleasant recorded voice says, “We heard you. You didn’t like waiting in our emergency department. So why not sign up, stay at home and we’ll call you when it’s your turn.”

But wait? Stay at home until you’re called? Doesn’t this—almost by definition—make the situation not an emergency? Seeking help for an emergency health issue after hours shouldn’t be like taking a number to be served at the deli counter.

What are some possible solutions? For starters, rather than compete for the most compassionate marketing slogans, perhaps resources could be devoted to “right spacing” and “right placing” patients. Imagine being worried about a headache, back pain, fever, or a myriad of other typically non-life threatening conditions. You get yourself to an emergency room, where a healthcare professional meets you and determines your condition is non-life threatening. You are offered to be shuttled to the primary care clinic a block away, or alternatively, you can walk over to a kiosk ten feet away—just like the ones at many local drug stores. In either case, you could be offered follow up treatment as part of the solution.

Yes, there are obstacles to overcome. Most notably, providers would have to be paid for this type of care. Emergency physicians rightfully object to triaging patients (with the associated liability that comes with such work) without some form of reimbursement. Ultimately however, the patients we’re responsible for are better served at a lower cost in less emergent settings. As healthcare professionals, doctors, and administrators, we’re in the business of dispensing diagnoses and treatments. But, shouldn’t we be something more, a guide helping our patients make good choices in terms of where and how they are treated during their journey through the healthcare system?

Dr. Alan Pitt is Chief Medical Officer at Avizia, as well as an attending physician and professor of neuroradiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Telemedicine service “MyDocNow” launches in Philippines]]> https://www.americanwell.com/telemedicine-service-mydocnow-launches-in-philippines/ 2018-07-20T18:57:40Z 2016-03-08T00:00:00Z New service connects healthcare providers and patients via US-proven, easy to use platform. The team at MyDocNow is pleased to announce their easy to use telemedicine platform is now available in the Philippines. The new service offers virtual medical services that connect medical professionals and patients seamlessly using a telemedicine portal that has been successful […]

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New service connects healthcare providers and patients via US-proven, easy to use platform.

The team at MyDocNow is pleased to announce their easy to use telemedicine platform is now available in the Philippines. The new service offers virtual medical services that connect medical professionals and patients seamlessly using a telemedicine portal that has been successful in the United States.

The new platform will offer a real-time experience for patients, offering everything from video consultations with doctors, comprehensive patient education, remote monitoring from a smartphone device, delivery of prescriptions and medications, lab tests results, and doctors/nurse home visits 24/7 in selected metro areas.

“All these services are combined in a single user experience with a soon to be released mobile app, not available in any other country in Asia” … Mr. McClung, CEO MyDocNow.

MyDocNow is partnering with US-based company Avizia, a pioneer in the delivery of a telehealth platform that works with large health systems and insurance providers to connect patients to healthcare specialists anywhere in the world.

“The MyDocNow platform is ideally suited to support a large scale deployment for public health purposes in rural deployment in the Philippines for the people” …. Dr. Jose Miquel Vergara, Chief Medical Officer MyDocNow

MyDocNow operates a call center, which is a 24/7 facility fully staffed by highly skilled nurses who are trained to perform basic triage, use the functions of telemedicine to manage the doctor/patient connection in order to facilitate a consultation and follow up with a patient and doctor satisfaction survey.

MyDocNow encompasses Lifeline Rescue, a Manila-based organization with over a 100 doctors providing emergency response services in urban areas while delivering other innovative services.

Since it is estimated that 65% of interactions with healthcare organizations will be conducted via mobile devices by 2018, MyDocNow is proud to offer a streamlined mobile platform that will bring both medical professionals and patients in the Philippines into the next generation of healthcare.

MyDocNow is also partnering with Davao Doctor Hospital to deploy it services. “We see the MyDocNow service as an extension of our objective to be a technology leader in delivering new services to Philippine patients as well as Beyond our Borders.” … Raymund del Val, President & CEO.

The company will offer its services to doctors, the general public (via apps in Google Play and Apple Stores) and insurance companies.

The new virtual healthcare delivery system will make it possible for healthcare providers in the Philippines to save time while providing premium services to patients. Patients will receive the quality care of a doctor at their convenience. It is simple, secure and confidential.

About MyDocNow

MyDocNow was created by a dedicated and dynamic team of medical and health professionals, information technology specialists, and prominent business leaders.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[Our Week at #HIMSS16]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5540 2016-03-04T15:35:53Z 2016-03-02T21:51:47Z If you're at HIMSS and you haven't had a chance to say hi yet, head on over. The team would love to meet you!

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Over the weekend, employees from teams across American Well boarded planes headed to Vegas, ready to take HIMSS by storm!

Our fabulous events planner, Liz Kelliher, flew in early to set up the American Well booth, #2154.

Liz having fun

Doesn’t it look great?

On Monday, Katie Ruigh, our VP of Product, was interviewed about our newest product release, AW9 by Joe Lavelle, with intrepidNow

katie being interviewed

And again Wednesday, this time with Danielle Russella, President of Customer Solutions, by HIMSS Media

Danielle

Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Peter Antall, was just interviewed by MobiHealthNews

Peter mobihealth

Here’s Ali Hyatt, one of our Marketing Directors, with Dave Plummer, one of our Account Management Execs, celebrating the announcement of American Well’s partnership with the Advisory Board 

Advisory Board pic

Our Product Specialists have been giving demos all week. Check out Lauren Meyer in action

lauren giving a demo

Wednesday night’s Tele-tini Happy Hour was a success!

teletinis

Keep your eyes peeled for Dr. Roy Schoenberg, our CEO, caught here in a rare moment of stillness at the booth

Roy at AW booth

If you’re at the conference and you haven’t had a chance to say hi yet, head on over to see us at Booth #2154. The team would love to meet you!

whoel gang at the booth

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[#PEF16 Recap: Private Exchanges, Consumerism, and Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5507 2016-05-31T21:29:11Z 2016-02-29T20:17:21Z Last week IHC convened more than 300 employers, brokers, wellness companies, and insurers for two days of collaborative discussion around the private exchange market - we were there, and here's our recap.

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According to the Institute for HealthCare Consumerism (IHC), over the next few years between 35 and 75 million Americans will access employee benefits through private exchanges. So it was fitting that IHC convened more than 300 employers, brokers, wellness companies, and insurers last week in Dallas for two days of collaborative discussion around the private exchange market.

The post-ACA era environment marks a drastic change in employer-sponsored benefits. Healthcare roles are rapidly evolving, while the types of organizations available to serve employees continue to expand. Discussion at the forum zeroed in on consumer understanding of private exchanges, the new role of brokers, and how healthcare organizations can help eliminate consumer confusion about healthcare benefits in general.

American Well attended the forum, which underscored the rise of telehealth in the employer market and addressed its integration into private exchanges. Our employer experts sat on two key panels.

PEF16 recap

What Do Employers and Consumers Want From Telehealth?

Andrea Comporato, American Well’s SVP of Health Plans and Employers, sat on a panel to discuss what consumers and employers want from telehealth. The key takeaway from Andrea’s presentation was that “each one of us has the chance to improve quality and reduce costs.” The rise of private exchanges signals that consumers are looking to innovative care delivery solutions like telehealth to add value to their care.

Andrea’s co-panelist, Jake Cleer from New Benefits, believes that consumers still require education about the benefits of telehealth. He projects that as consumers become more informed and telehealth use cases move beyond urgent care, organizations will need to look at exchanges and groups as a mechanism for purchasing a telehealth platform.

Chronic Care Management in the Telehealth Age

Claudia Rimerman, American Well’s VP of Channel Relationships, led a discussion on consumer acceptance of treatment via telehealth, with a focus on chronic care management. Other telehealth companies, wellness companies, carriers, and consultants participated in the discussion, expressing the opinion that the ability to manage chronic care on a platform is a unique enabler. A key takeaway from the discussion was that telehealth is evolving beyond urgent care and the types of use cases for physicians and patients are becoming much more varied. Beyond urgent care and chronic care management, telehealth can now deliver behavioral health services, general health assessments, nutrition, diabetes management, and smoking cessation services. And with platforms like Amwell, telehealth can improve health outcomes, reduce costs, and drive engagement.

If you attended the Forum, what are your thoughts? How can organizations continue to be health advocates for consumers?

 

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[Discover the Power of Telehealth at #HIMSS16]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5444 2017-11-20T20:41:53Z 2016-02-26T16:32:16Z Telehealth is on every healthcare exec’s 2016 agenda and this year’s HIMSS is the place to get a deeper dive into what’s next for online care.

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Telehealth is on every healthcare exec’s 2016 agenda and this year’s HIMSS is the place to get a deeper dive into what’s next for online care. Here’s a teaser to tide you over until the conference kicks off Monday – yesterday we released the first-ever telehealth mobile SDK.

Your Guide to Telehealth at HIMSS

There’s so much to see in such a short time. Here’s our guide to telehealth at HIMSS. See you there!

Learn here.
MON. FEB. 29 – 8:30 AM – 4 PM: Connected Health Symposium
Topics include the impact of telehealth and mobile tech on policy, payment, and how to achieve clinical and financial results.

Test drive here.
TUES. MAR. 1– THURS. MAR 4: Check out AW9: Booth #2154
Meet with American Well’s professional product team and receive live demos of our newest product features including industry first video solutions.
We’re also hosting live demos of our kiosk on March 1-2.

Kiosk

 

And keep an eye out for our leadership team – Roy Schoenberg, Danielle Russella, and Peter Antall will all be there. They’ll be joined by John Jesser from LiveHealthOnline and many of our other partners.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[Empowering Patients with Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5452 2016-02-26T15:09:31Z 2016-02-26T15:09:31Z Our team at American Well recently co-authored a white paper with Deloitte Consulting’s Center for Connected Health. The white paper is a deep dive into the core use cases for telehealth.

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Our team at American Well recently co-authored a white paper with Deloitte Consulting’s Center for Connected Health. The white paper is a deep dive into the core use cases for telehealth. And it also includes a step-by-step guide to developing and implementing an effective telehealth strategy. The paper gets at the root of telehealth’s power to transform healthcare.

AW_Deloitte_WP

Read the abstract, then download the full paper:

With the rapid evolution of the health care industry, health care delivery organizations are leveraging innovative solutions to meet these challenges. It is imperative that provider-centric organizations seek solutions that combine disease management, health informatics, and supporting technologies to improve access to care and health outcomes. Telehealth—the provision of high-quality, real-time video encounters between patients and providers—is a powerful tool that can support healthier patients. At its core, telehealth aims to provide care anytime, anywhere, on any type of device—be it a web browser, a mobile phone or tablet, or a standalone kiosk. When telehealth is fully integrated into an existing health care system, patients have access to on-demand care from an accredited provider with the touch of a button. This bypasses lengthy wait times and can avoid a high-cost urgent care visit. A patient’s location and mobility does not limit the scope or quality of available care. The need to travel to a brickand-mortar facility is no longer an assumed requirement or barrier to care. Rather, a patient can engage in a virtual visit with a provider from the comfort, security, and privacy of home—or wherever he or she may be.

 

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Healthcare Pyramid: the Healthcare Navigator needs telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/healthcare-pyramid-the-healthcare-navigator-needs-telehealth/ 2018-07-19T21:14:04Z 2016-02-26T00:00:00Z Sometimes we forget that good healthcare requires not only a diagnosis and a treatment plan but also patient compliance (a willingness to come along on the journey to wellness). But patient compliance often faces obstacles in the form of the fear and anxiety that beset patients and their loved ones, or when a provider faces […]

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Sometimes we forget that good healthcare requires not only a diagnosis and a treatment plan but also patient compliance (a willingness to come along on the journey to wellness). But patient compliance often faces obstacles in the form of the fear and anxiety that beset patients and their loved ones, or when a provider faces an unusual condition. In these situations, patients want a provider (or in some cases providers making up our care team) who is not only knowledgeable, credible and trusted; they want one who can answer a range of questions and with whom they can build a personal relationship.

Sadly, this is rarely the case these days. As treatment options have increased so has medical sub-specialization. Many of today’s highly skilled physicians have sacrificed breadth for a depth of knowledge. Physician reimbursement pressures have exacerbated the problem, resulting in 12-minute visits with little time for patient questions and no time to build a trusting relationship. The result: a fragmented healthcare experience for the patient.

As providers we have to ask ourselves, what’s missing? The specialist may be the right person in the right role, but at a given time they may not be the ideal primary care provider. The reason for this lies in the current structure of care in the United States, a structure I see as the healthcare pyramid.

The Healthcare Pyramid

Imagine our healthcare system as a pyramid.

  • At the top you’ll find a shrinking number of expensive specialists focused on fixing an immediate need, NOT building a relationship with each patient.
  • The bottom is comprised of a growing population of patients that demands access to care from the right doctor, at the right time, and from someone who cares.
  • In the middle we are missing someone to build and maintain a trusted relationship with patients.

So, how are we going to fix that? The solution is found in the marriage of people and technology. On the technology end, we have the emerging platform of Telehealth. Also called telemedicine, it has many applications and is a tool that can be utilized by a range of healthcare professionals. On the human side we have healthcare providers. Now, to fill that gap in the pyramid, let’s look at how telehealth makes possible and supports a new kind of healthcare provider called the healthcare navigator.

The Healthcare Navigator

Healthcare navigators are team members who have the time and patience to establish and maintain a trusting relationship with patients. These providers do not have the training of a specialist and are therefore less expensive. However, supported by experts in near real time via telemedicine tools, they would be both credible and critical in accessing the right expertise at the right time, navigating the healthcare waters for the patient.

Initially, healthcare navigators would build trust through one or two in-person visits with the patient. After that, they could turn to cost-effective tools—text, phone and video—to maintain the relationship. This arrangement eliminates repeated office visits that are too costly, both in terms of time and travel for the patient, and it is equally efficient for the navigator. It’s also flexible, allowing for in-person intervention when necessary.

Let’s illustrate what a healthcare navigator experience would look like with the following scenario: Patient John Doe is 80 years old and has been discharged from the hospital after heart surgery. A few days later, his wife is concerned with John’s appearance and believes something is wrong.

  • Without a Care Navigator: John’s wife calls the specialist asking for a call back. If no one is immediately available the front desk is trained to recommend that John be taken to the ER. Patients hate re-entering the ER queue, and hospitals can’t afford it. Re-admissions drive up costs, providers can be penalized, and hospitals can lose Medicare supplements.
  • With a Care Navigator: John’s wife calls her care navigator to report the concerns. The care navigator meets John and his wife virtually or at an outpatient facility to review John’s records and gather diagnostic data. The care navigator then directly contacts the specialist for expert advice, receives the specialist’s instructions, and writes John a prescription for a different medication to avoid negative side effects.

Here we see how the new role of the care navigator restores some of the human element so often lacking in healthcare today. But clearly what makes such a position possible is telehealth. Telehealth is the mortar that fuses each layer of the healthcare pyramid together. Without the proper tools, providers are plagued with archaic methods for managing encounters, patient engagement, and care team collaboration. As telehealth platforms emerge, we’re seeing tools that were previously siloed become integrated into enterprise systems with healthcare’s role-based hierarchy built-in. Through telehealth we can connect the right provider to the right patient at the right time. And in doing so, we will reverse the fragmentation of the patient’s healthcare experience.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Making the Most Out of Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/making-the-most-out-of-telehealth/ 2018-07-19T17:23:54Z 2016-02-22T00:00:00Z Every health system has a different strategy for using mHealth and telehealth that builds on its own strengths. No two mHealth or telehealth programs are alike. Some telehealth platforms look great from the outside, but fall short of expectations. That’s why today’s healthcare providers looking to transition into telehealth must to consider both internal and external […]

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Every health system has a different strategy for using mHealth and telehealth that builds on its own strengths.

No two mHealth or telehealth programs are alike. Some telehealth platforms look great from the outside, but fall short of expectations. That’s why today’s healthcare providers looking to transition into telehealth must to consider both internal and external criteria before deciding what programs to pilot and what solutions to implement.

Medical University of South Carolina“A lot of the problems are with a fear of the unknown,” says Shawn Valeta, director of telehealth for the Medical University of South Carolina, which has had an extensive telehealth platform for more than a decade. “There’s so much out there; you have to sit down and think about what you really want to do with it before you start.”

Backed by $50 million in state funding, MUSC has developed a solid telestroke and tele-behavioral health program and has plans to grow its school-based telehealth program, provide telehealth services to correctional institutions, build a platform for large employers and get into remote patient monitoring.

In 2015, MUSC rolled out its school-based telehealth program to 3 select schools. MUSC began by identifying schools in the state’s poorest regions, where children with any sort of health issue went straight to the nearest ER. By linking with those schools, MUSC gave children and their parents – and school staff – a quick and convenient link to healthcare, reduced absenteeism, improved morale and reduced the strain on local hospitals. The school-based telehealth program is now in 20 schools, and MUSC plans to double that total by next year.

“Telehealth used to always be about distance and time, but now it’s about maximizing efficiency” for both patient and provider, says Valeta. “To do that, you need to make things more user-friendly. You don’t even think about the technology for a while – that comes last, and the people and the processes come first.”

Georgia Partnership for TelehealthIn nearby Georgia, Rena Brewer overseas the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth (GPT) network that spans three states and is branching into Central America. Brewer joined the GPT after serving as the director of the Southeastern Telehealth Resource Center, one of 14 federally funded centers (12 regional and two national) scattered across the country to provide guidance to local healthcare providers and others interested in launching and sustaining telehealth programs. While she recognizes the growth of telehealth across the country, Brewer has also see a lot of telehealth projects fail.

“Technology can be very intimidating, and many people make the mistake of thinking that’s where you have to start,” Brewer says. “Some hospitals just can’t get past that initial loss of revenue, so they lose interest or fail to push back. … They don’t realize that you don’t have to buy the Cadillac – you look at what you have and what your community really needs the most, you manage expectations and you create relationships.”

GPT also sees the potential in growing school-based telehealth, with more than 70 schools in Georgia alone are connected to their network, in addition to dozens of schools in neighboring states and a few colleges. Brewer and the GPT are also developing tele-behavioral health programs, and are pushing into skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

Hospitals are also partnering with local physicians and clinics to create a community health network to extend the care typically only available in hospitals to patients who simply need to visit their local provider.

Both MUSC and the GPT are partners with Avizia, a Reston, Va.-based developer of telehealth platforms. Mike Baird, the company’s CEO and Alan Pitt, its chief medical officer, see three factors supporting the growth of telehealth:

  1. legislative interest
  2. consumer demand
  3. electronic medical record (EMRs/EHRs)

“Software is leading the trend,” says Baird. “EMRs haven’t been great at integrating” with telehealth platforms and mHealth devices, “but it’s becoming an evolution. Healthcare is pushing that forward, is demanding new ways to integrate.”

“The EMR is an operating system that isn’t deep,” adds Pitt, “so it needs apps to be more functional. That’s where telemedicine comes into play.”

Dr. Pitt has been monitoring a shift in how health systems approach care coordination. Traditionally, they created external business partnerships, but now they are bringing resources back into the institution. Fee-for-service care is giving way to role-based care, with the provider being the link. Business models are changing, but there are challenges. Hospitals generally have poor strategic roadmaps, says Pitt, and aside from the organizations with telehealth directors or chief innovation officers (a rare but growing C-suite position), few have someone on hand to “own” telehealth. In addition, the industry as a whole isn’t mature enough yet for health system to simply pick up the technology, plug it in and make the best use of it.

Click here to read the complete article on mHealthIntelligence.com.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[What Can Digital Marketing Do for Your Telehealth Service?]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5336 2017-11-21T15:34:12Z 2016-02-19T14:28:21Z Let’s talk digital—specifically, the main digital marketing channels and how they can be collectively leveraged in a campaign to drive patient engagement with a health system’s telehealth service.

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By Bridget Kelly, Client Marketing, and Sarah Natoli, Content Marketing

Let’s talk digital—specifically, the main digital marketing channels and how they can be collectively leveraged in a campaign to drive patient engagement with a health system’s telehealth service.

But first, what do we mean when we talk about digital marketing for telehealth?

Digital marketing is an umbrella term—it refers to all the different types of technology available today to support marketing efforts. Digital marketing tactics are immediately attractive simply because of the world we’re living in. There’s not much that patients can’t do on their mobile phones—including addressing a medical issue through a telehealth visit. It’s common sense to market a technology service like telehealth via the web and social media, but beyond that, a digital marketing campaign also works for telehealth because it can serve up some really powerful results at a low cost. This is crucial in the early days of a telehealth service when utilization is still building.

Websites

A website is the anchor of a digital marketing campaign. It’s the best way to share information about your telehealth service with your patients—the consumers you built the service to help. There are a range of options, from building a single, well-constructed telehealth page on an existing health system website to creating a standalone microsite dedicated solely to the service. Either way, leveraging a health system’s website is low cost (compared to paid advertising), and it gives you control over content and messaging because you own it. Beyond dedicated pages or websites, you can also strategically place messaging about your telehealth service on key pages of the website. Your analytics program (e.g., Google Analytics) will help you identify the high-traffic “go to” pages patients visit—not necessarily the home page, but perhaps an urgent care page, “find a doctor” page, or specialty page—you can place information about telehealth there, increasingly the service’s visibility to your patient population.

Blogs

Blogs are an all-around win. Not only are they low cost, they’re also easy to set up, easy to use, and are a great way to show your patients how telehealth will help them. Blogs help you increase the amount of content you have online–in fact, feel free to re-purpose existing content on your blog so more patients see it. To create a high-value blog, post about issues your patient population cares about, whether that’s access to care, chronic disease management, specialty services, or something else. Blogging is a great way to educate your patients about telehealth and the ways it benefits them, and then you can link blog readers back to the website to access the telehealth service. Because the purpose of a blog is to engage patients on the issues that are important to them, follow the 80/20 rule. At least 80% of the content must speak directly to patient interests in a non-promotional way. Don’t make a blog an advertisement for your telehealth service—instead write a post about how telehealth saves patients time and money while effectively treating their health conditions. One final note on blogging—to build an audience you have to commit to a regular posting schedule. Start with one post a month and increase the frequency as resources permit.

Email

Like most of the tools in the digital toolbox, email is low cost and user-friendly. With email you can reach a wide audience easily through one of the many intuitive email tools designed for mass outreach. Email is the best vehicle to tell your patients about the great content available to them through your owned assets, like your website and your blog. Through email, you can open the lines of communication with your patient population, designing campaigns that communicate how your telehealth service can give them greater access to care. Email campaigns are most effective if you build out a great contact list, which you will do as you encourage patients to enroll in telehealth and learn more about the service. Email lets you talk to patients about telehealth, even if they haven’t yet had a visit. Another way to effectively leverage email marketing is to include a strong call-to-action with every message. For example, if you have a blog post on the convenience of telehealth, your CTA could say “Learn how telehealth can help you get back the time lost in the waiting room” and link patients over to an enrollment page with information about the clinical services you offer through telehealth.

Organic search

When people talk about search engine optimization, aka SEO, they’re typically referring to strategic placement of keywords to guide people to your website. For a digital marketing campaign to promote telehealth, good optimized content (from your blog, webpages, etc.) will ensure your patients find your telehealth service when searching the web for care solutions. Seeing the need for 24/7 acute care solutions, many health systems launch telehealth for urgent care first, so a good SEO strategy would bring up your telehealth service when a patient searches for urgent care after hours. But SEO today goes far beyond keywords. SEO is really about building credibility with Google. You can start by reviewing Google’s best practices  for building healthy website architecture, along with creating high-quality and regularly updated content that your patients read and share.

Paid digital ads

Paid is the glitzy side of digital marketing—think social media ads, paid search ads, display ads/banner ads, and video. Paid ads are more high profile (e.g., Facebook), but they are also high cost, not only in terms of dollars but time. Effective paid ads are the result of extensive testing to find out which patients to target and what will grab their attention. Paid is a long-term strategy with high dividends, but the ramp-up is slow and it takes work to find the “special sauce.” The best way for a health system to reach patients through paid digital ads is to partner with a company that specializes in this channel and is an expert in telehealth. Paid is always challenging, but a relatively new service like telehealth is particularly complex and really requires an expert. Learn more about American Well’s paid digital marketing services.

Owned social media pages

Saving the best for last, the final component of an integrated digital marketing campaign is social media. Why is social media so great? It’s free and it’s fun. Healthcare is serious business—hospitals face a big challenge in overcoming the perception of clinical coldness that patients associate with care. That’s all the more reason to get creative with social, engaging your patient population and reminding them that the healthcare “machine” is actually powered by humans. There’s a lot of opportunity to get creative with telehealth promotion—For Valentine’s Day, our in-house direct-to-consumer marketing team created eCards for consumers who use our Amwell app to share with friends and family. Not only are they creative and fun, they promote the telehealth app. A final note on social media—like blogging, to gain followers and get “likes” and shares, you need to commit to posting regularly on topics of interest to your followers. Social media is a way to build relationships with your patients, and like any other relationship, one nurtured through social needs regular attention.

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Putting it all together

There are a lot of options when it comes to digital marketing, which can make the idea of launching a digital marketing campaign daunting, especially when a health system is devoting so many resources to building the telehealth service itself (learning the platform, training the doctors, selecting the best services to offer). But the two go hand in hand—without a digital marketing campaign to put telehealth in front of patients, telehealth won’t be utilized. The good news is health systems are not in it alone. When a health system partners with a consumer-focused telehealth company like American Well, that company comes with a team of expert client marketers ready to support you across all the digital channels that successfully share your telehealth service with your patients. It’s ok to start slow, and don’t be afraid to test new ideas or ways of doing things.

 

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[How the Medical Licensure Compact combats physician shortages]]> https://www.americanwell.com/how-the-medical-licensure-compact-combats-physician-shortages/ 2016-02-17T00:00:00Z 2016-02-17T00:00:00Z Rep. Heather Carter has introduced HB 2502 to the Arizona House of Representatives to enact the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact into law. The key motivation of the bill is to better serve Arizona patients by overcoming our substantial physician shortages. Twelve states have enacted the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact so far, with 12 more states […]

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Rep. Heather Carter has introduced HB 2502 to the Arizona House of Representatives to enact the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact into law. The key motivation of the bill is to better serve Arizona patients by overcoming our substantial physician shortages.

Twelve states have enacted the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact so far, with 12 more states introducing Compact legislation—6 of them in the 2016 legislative season. (Map courtesy of the Federation of State Medical Boards, http://licenseportability.org/)

Arizona joins five states (Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, New Hampshire, and Washington) in introducing model Compact legislation this year. Twelve states already have enacted the Compact, “a comprehensive process that complements the existing licensing and regulatory authority of state medical boards and provides a streamlined process that allows physicians to become licensed in multiple states,” according to the bill. The Utah and Wisconsin legislatures unanimously approved the Compact for their respective states.

The Compact is a result of cooperative efforts of state medical and osteopathic boards and is administered by an Interstate Commission consisting of two representatives from each state that has enacted the Compact. It’s built on a system of state-based regulation proven to ensure safe health care delivery.

The Federation of State Medical Boards says the Compact “is expected to expand access to health care, especially to those in rural and underserved areas of the country” and “would strengthen public protection because it would help states share investigative and disciplinary information that they cannot share now.”

The Compact is supported by 31 state medical and osteopathic boards and endorsed by multiple medical associations and health systems, including the American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, and American Academy of Family Physicians.

How the Compact works:
The Compact provides physician licensure that is recognized among all Compact states, but each state in the Compact maintains local enforcement in order to protect its own citizens.

Physicians designate a “state of principal license,” which is the state where the physician holds a current license to practice medicine and is also the state where the physician lives and/or the state where at least 25% of the physician’s practice of medicine occurs and/or the state where the physician’s employer is located. Physicians apply for Compact licensure through the member board of the state of principal license. The expedited license is good in all Compact states.

The Interstate Commission coordinates information sharing among the Compact states’ member boards regarding any public action or complaints or disciplinary or investigatory information against a Compact-licensed physician.

States can leave the Compact by repealing their Compact statutes.

What the Compact does:

  • Enables physicians to treat patients as the patients move among states.
  • Allows physicians to efficiently obtain licensure in all participating states.
  • Speeds up licensure of physicians who want to serve Arizonans and thereby reducing our physician shortage.
  • Preserves Arizona’s existing licensure processes.
  • Reduces the likelihood of federal preemption of states’ authority over physician licensure—a powerful tool for States’ Rights.
  • Facilitates new delivery models involving telemedicine and cross-border practice.

What the Compact doesn’t do:

  • Change Arizona’s existing medical practice act.
  • Supersede Arizona’s autonomy and control over the practice of medicine.
  • Affect the ability of Arizona’s medical boards to assess fees, determine fee structure, or collect fees.
  • Affect Arizona’s disciplinary process.
  • Preclude physicians who don’t meet Compact standards from obtaining licensure through traditional Arizona processes.

To protect patients, standards are high for physicians eligible to participate in Compact licensure:

  • Must have graduated from an accredited medical school.
  • Must have passed the US medical or comprehensive osteopathic medical licensing exam within three attempts.
  • Must hold specialty certification.
  • Must have successfully completed approved graduate medical education.
  • Must possess a full and unrestricted license to engage in the practice of medicine issued by a member board.
  • Must never have been convicted, received adjudication, deferred adjudication, or community supervision or deferred disposition for any offense.
  • Must never have had a license subjected to discipline by a licensing agency.
  • Must never have had a controlled substance license or permit suspected or revoked.
  • Must not be under active investigation by a licensing agency or law enforcement authority.

You can help Rep. Carter to enact the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact into law by reaching out to your Arizona Representative and Senator—letting him or her know that you support HB2502. Always ask your Representative and Senator to vote for HB2502. If you need help finding your Arizona Representative and Senator, go to http://azredistricting.org/districtlocator/. Also, I urge you to consider telling others about this opportunity to improve availability of quality health care for Arizonians.

For more information on the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, including its legislative status in each state, endorsements, and a discussion Compact myths and facts, go to http://licenseportability.org/.

About the Author

Mike Keeling, Esq.

Mike Keeling, Esq., partner in Keeling Law Offices, describes the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact to the Arizona Telemedicine Council in Phoenix January 20.

 

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[The Top 10 Questions Physicians Ask About Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5314 2016-02-16T21:23:53Z 2016-02-16T21:23:53Z As the Chief Medical Officer of telehealth company American Well and Medical Director of our national medical network Online Care Group, I have compiled the top 10 questions I typically receive from providers considering telehealth.

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(Reprinted from HealthcareIT News)

By Dr. Peter Antall, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Antall

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that telehealth technologies are on the rise. Telehealth is being adopted by major health systems, health plans and employers in order to deliver more immediate access to care that can also reduce overall costs to the organization and the people or patients they serve. This widespread adoption is being driven in large part by consumers who want telehealth-based care. In a survey conducted by American Well, we found that 65 percent of consumers want to use telehealth and 7 percent would consider leaving their primary care physician for one that offered telehealth.

Fortunately, the lure of telehealth for hospitals and providers is not solely about the risk of losing patients – it’s also about gaining market share. For hospitals and providers, telehealth enables more frequent connections with existing patients and the ability to reach new patients in new markets. It also offers a tool to improve team-based care and coordination.

With any new technology that has the potential to radically change the care delivery model, there are questions and fears. As the Chief Medical Officer of telehealth company American Well and Medical Director of our national medical network Online Care Group, I have compiled the top 10 questions I typically receive from providers considering telehealth.

#1: How does it work?
Telehealth can be accessed from anywhere across all types of mobile devices – smartphone, tablet, and desktop or laptop computer. For acute-care needs, providers can be accessed for on-demand visits. For follow-up, team-based or specialist care, scheduled visits are also available. Video-based telehealth enables a two-way, face-to-face conversation between the patient and provider that allows you to see the patient and guide them through a physical examination, as well as see elements of their environment for more informed decision-making.

#2: Is it legal? 
In short – in most states today, yes, telehealth is permissible. It is important, however, to understand the medical board regulations with regard to telehealth. For example, with few exceptions for second opinions and specialist provider-to-provider consultations, it is a prerequisite that the provider be licensed in the state in which the patient is located. Generally all states’ medical boards allow telehealth to occur between a patient and provider that has a previously established relationship with an in-person visit. All states generally accept consultations from providers who have not established a prior in-person relationship with the patient if the patient is at a clinical site and is presented by a clinical presenter. To be sure, we recommend contacting your local state board or you can visit the American Telemedicine Association site for more information.

#3: How can I get paid for using telehealth?
Each major payer type – Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial payers – has different guidelines for reimbursement and telehealth coverage. The good news is that telehealth continues to receive increased levels of reimbursement – a trend we expect to pick up steam in the next 6-12 months – and it’s important to continue to review with your selected technology provider what the opportunities for payment are based on insurer type.

#4: Which use cases or conditions should I treat with telehealth?
It makes sense to start with the low-hanging fruit. Many providers choose to start with after-hours urgent care or office hours because offering telehealth here addresses an immediate need for additional care. Another key use case is medication management, and telehealth can have significant impact in adherence. Additionally, chronic care and follow-up appointments can be efficient applications of telehealth since a patient already has an existing relationship with the provider.

#5: How do I examine a patient?
While telehealth is a different modality and type of visit, we find that providers very quickly adapt to a telehealth examination. For one, when evaluating a patient, the provider uses the same skills as they would in another setting – this is primarily true when doing a face-to-face video. While there are limitations relative to a brick-and-mortar visit, a live video based visit is more robust than a phone call or any asynchronous communication. At a high level, there are a few key factors when conducting a live telehealth video visit: taking a good history; assessing the overall appearance of the patient – including mental status, pain level, and toxic or ill appearance; and whether or not the patient might need in-person care. For the latter, it’s important to take more of a triage stance. An added benefit to examination over telehealth is that the provider can gain information from the home that would not have been available in a clinical setting. Patients are generally comfortable in their home and often open up more. The provider has access to the patient’s social setting and may see family members.

#6: How do I go about building a program?
Building a program depends a lot on the use case. Offering on-demand visits simply involves ensuring that a provider is available to meet the patient in the virtual waiting room. These providers can be in the office setting and integrated with the reception staff workflows or can be done from the home with no need for support staff.

While a telehealth platform like American Well does support an independent schedule, most providers desire to have one unified schedule, typically in the EHR. When offering follow-up or chronic care, it helps to develop workflows in which existing staff schedules the visit and provides the patient with the appropriate instructions.

#7: What is the liability?
To date, telehealth is associated with a very low incidence of malpractice or board action. In four years of practicing nationally, American Well’s medical network, Online Care Group, for example, has not had a single malpractice case or physician called before a medical board. This is similar to the experience nationally.

#8: What kind of results can I expect to see? 
Patients love telehealth. This form of care is convenient, cost-saving, and high-tech. Patients love how this can improve access as well as how it helps them save time and money. Telehealth can extend care to after hours or weekends, and when this care is offered by a known physician, it provides comfort to the patient in addition to ensuring care continuity.

Most physicians have had the experience of seeing patients in an ER or urgent-care center in which the patient has had a long wait. These patients are already dejected from enduring a poor experience. In telehealth, instead, patients are generally pleased and even excited at the short wait and the convenience. This makes for a positive experience and results in higher patient satisfaction – in turn fostering stronger relationships between the patient and provider and ties to the associated hospital brand.

#9: What’s the best medium for practicing telehealth? 
I strongly believe in video as the most robust form for a visit – while traditional telephone-based telehealth visits are attractive to some patients – and American Well and other providers offer them – it does not allow for face-to-face physical and behavioral examination. Some use cases would be impossible to treat over phone telehealth versus video telehealth. A good example is dermatology. If a patient is presenting a specific type of rash, they would want to be able to show that to their provider, and that’s obviously not something that can be done over the phone.

#10: Why should I do telehealth? 
There are many reasons our providers cite for getting into telehealth, but the most commonly cited are: (1) the interest from consumers and want to retain patients as well as attract or reach new patients; (2) the efficiency of delivering a video visit, on-demand or scheduled, based on a provider’s own availability and flexibility to work remote; (3) extended hours – ability to pick/choose hours based on a provider’s own schedule and work outside the clinical setting; (4) the great value you’re delivering to patients through a relatively low-cost and convenient visit; and (5) the potential to use telehealth to have more frequent touch points with patients to help manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes or cancer.

 

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[Employee Spotlight]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5289 2016-02-11T13:52:58Z 2016-02-10T17:01:45Z Meet Craig Bagley, Director of Sales Engineering. ”American Well is in a unique position to continue to drive the [healthcare] industry forward and deliver on the change that patients want and need. It gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction to be involved with that.”

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Name: Craig Bagley

Title: Director, Sales Engineering

Department: Sales

Start Date: July, 2009

American Well is in a unique position to continue to drive the [healthcare] industry forward and deliver on the change that patients want and need.  It gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction to be involved with that.

Craig

What attracted you to American Well?

When I interviewed for my first position at American Well, which was in Hosting, I was just a kid coming out of college looking for a job related to my degree. I hadn’t really defined what I wanted to do professionally beyond that. But during the interview process, I became really enthusiastic about the company’s product and potential. I also felt the enthusiasm that others had within the company. And once I really understood that energy and its power, I knew I wanted to become a part of it – I was hooked. Seven years later, I’m still here and I love this place.

What were you doing before you came on board?

My focus in college was computer and electrical engineering, so most of my experience was in hardware and electronics design, though I’d done some software engineering work. I’ve worked in three different departments at American Well, and I’ve really appreciated the opportunity that’s given me to expand my knowledge base and try out different roles.

What other positions have you held here? Tell us a little bit about your American Well journey.

I think the better question is, What positions haven’t you held here? When I was first hired at American Well I worked in Hosting. That gave me a great opportunity to learn about the architecture of the application, how it’s built and deployed, and how it’s supported behind the scenes. Also, getting to work under the VP of Hosting was great; he’s one of my mentors at American Well.

From there I moved to Technical Services (TS). This was a dramatic change because I went from working on the systems that support the application to actually configuring the application for our customers. We were frequently warping the different configurable parts of the application to perform in ways they weren’t designed, so it was always an exercise in “thinking outside of the box.” While in TS I was given the opportunity to travel to Australia to work as a consultant with a new customer, so my girlfriend, now my awesome wife, traveled with me. During my time in Australia, in addition to supporting them with the hardware, I was able to become familiar with the front-end of the product and what the deployment is like from our customer’s point of view. From both a career and life perspective, going to Australia is the best learning experience I’ve ever had.

My current position is in Sales Engineering. This position has been challenging, but also satisfying and rewarding. I love having the opportunity to work with talented people like our VP of Product on a daily basis. When I first spoke with our CEO about the position he told me about “evangelizing for the product.” That’s a phrase I’ll never forget. Evangelizing for the product is something that I truly enjoy doing and something I strive to get better at every day.

What does a day in the life of a Sales Engineer look like?

My days can be focused on many different things. From a prospective customer standpoint, I’m usually speaking about the technical aspects of our product. This could involve the hosting of our application for large clients, the security in place to protect those assets, or the different ways in which our product can work with a client’s patient portal, mobile applications, and integrate with their electronic medical record software. When I’m not doing that, I’m usually answering technical questions in RFPs, working with other departments on internal projects, or trying to pry information from people in Product, Marketing, and the Online Care Group, just for my own knowledge.

At the end of every day, it remains an undying effort of mine to understand this business and this company from every angle that I can. There’s a lot of intrigue for me in understanding where we see this product going over the next few years, learning how we can convey that to customers and prospects in an effective way, and seeing how all of that is sustained on the business side.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I’m huge into volleyball. I’ve played for about 15 years. I met my wife playing volleyball, and I’ll always maintain some schedule of indoor and beach volleyball in my life. Travel is next on the list. My wife and I love going to locations that are off the beaten path. Part of our honeymoon was a visit to Myanmar, which was a dream of mine! I’m also a rabid fan of the New England Patriots, Conor McGregor, and reading historical non-fiction.

Have you used American Well’s direct-to-consumer app, Amwell?

I’ve used Amwell tens of times. The most interesting story happened about a year ago. I was playing tennis ball with my sister’s golden retriever, Tucker. He’s a tank. He brought the ball back to me, but it was still about 5 feet away. As it bounced toward me, I attempted to kick it and Tucker lunged forward to push it closer to me. I kicked him square in the mouth. He took it like the champ that he is, but my foot was split open with a really deep gash. He stood over me as if to say, “Hey man, why aren’t you throwing it anymore?” So, I threw the ball and then called Amwell. Teresa Myers, my favorite Amwell doctor, saved me from the hassle of sitting around an urgent care clinic on a Saturday afternoon.

What are your thoughts on the ways healthcare is changing and what we can expect to see in the future?

One of the awesome aspects of my job is that I get to travel around and speak with health systems and health plans about intentions and ability to deliver healthcare to their patients. Every prospective customer that I speak with articulates the fact that they want to deliver quality healthcare to their patients in a convenient way. While the definition of convenient quality care is changing and will continue to change, I think American Well is in a unique position to continue to drive the industry forward and deliver on the change that patients want and need. It gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction to be involved with that.

When you talk about telehealth and your role here with friends and family, what do you say?

When I talk to family and friends about my role here, I like to talk about our products as a whole. I think people see or use Amwell and they think that’s all that our company does. In reality, there is so much more behind our product than just direct-to-consumer telehealth. Sure, DTC telehealth is part of it, but we’re working with some of the most prestigious health systems and health plans in the country to find new and innovative ways to deliver care to patients using our technology. That’s the part I like to talk about, and people seem very interested in learning about that.

Interested in a career at American Well? View open positions.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[The Potential for Telehealth Within the Pharmacy Space]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5247 2017-11-27T19:06:15Z 2016-02-08T18:54:56Z Telehealth is a cost-saving solution that uses telecommunications technologies to expand health care outside the walls of a retail pharmacy while complementing and enhancing existing retail pharmacy services.

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Excerpt (Full article published in the Pharmacy Times)

By Jeffrey Kosowsky, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development

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Pharmacists have faced unique new challenges as the pharmacy industry has evolved. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 4 billion prescriptions were filled in U.S. pharmacies in 2014,1 which has inevitably led pharmacists to focus more on volume and efficiency than on delivering personal care. Pharmacists often have little time to provide education about a specific prescription nowadays. Bureaucracy and regulatory procedures within the pharmacy space also make it difficult for pharmacists to provide the same intimacy of care that our parents and grandparents remember.

The Benefits of Telehealth
Telehealth is a cost-saving solution that uses telecommunications technologies to expand health care outside the walls of a retail pharmacy while complementing and enhancing existing retail pharmacy services. When implemented, telehealth can also assist pharmacists with creating and managing new relationships with customers. However, it is important to note that telehealth is not a one-size-fits-all product; there are many different applications for it within the pharmacy environment. As with any new health care investment, the key-use cases should be tailored to the customer population and needs of each specific store and chain:

Customer-Initiated Consultations
Customers with questions about their medication can use online video visits to connect with local pharmacists from the comfort of their own home.

Pharmacist-Initiated Consultations
There are many scenarios in which pharmacists may wish to connect with a customer to ask questions or follow up. Whether a customer has an unclaimed script or is due for a refill, telehealth provides pharmacists with a personalized way to connect in real time.

Pharmacist-to-Pharmacist Consultations
An effective telehealth solution can immediately connect any pharmacist with a network of available, more experienced, or specialty pharmacists from anywhere within the pharmacy chain.

Connecting Pharmacists to Care Management Teams
Whereas telehealth initially focused on urgent care conditions, it is now moving toward chronic care and population health management. In many of these medical situations, patients have a pre-established care team with whom they are in regular communication.

On-demand Care via In-store Kiosks 
In-store kiosks offer an affordable pharmacy urgent care service without the expense and staffing challenges of on-premise nurses, especially for smaller, lower traffic stores. A companion pharmacy-branded mobile or web app is also available to consumers who wish to access the same telehealth platform from home, work, or while traveling, and encourages patients to pick up any prescriptions at the associated pharmacy.

The Value Proposition
For pharmacists, telehealth can enhance patient relationships and maintain customer loyalty while simultaneously improving care and extending patient services. For consumers, telehealth offers convenient, immediate access to the pharmacist and high-quality urgent care services from a trusted, neighborhood source. By implementing a range of pharmacy-related telehealth services, pharmacy chains can move beyond competing as an undifferentiated mass marketer of health and beauty items to becoming a hub for trusted consumer health and pharmaceutical care services.

Positive Steps
Over the past year, there has been substantial movement toward creating a more positive national telehealth environment. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has been working on a State Licensure Compact to allow physicians living in states that participate in the compact to provide telehealth care for patients across state lines, making it easier to extend care across geographic boundaries. In April 2014, the FSMB published a Model Policy for Telehealth that highlights the most critical factors for safe telehealth. These factors include patient choice of provider, informed visits, and audio-video capability (phone-only consults are not substantial enough for an effective telehealth consult). In May 2014, the American Medical Association endorsed this policy. The American Telemedicine Association launched the first national accreditation program for telehealth solutions providing online care.

Remaining Challenges 
Pharmacy boards have perhaps not been as active as their medical counterparts in discussing and evaluating the proper and safe application of telehealth. As referenced above, the majority of medical boards have already identified the critical components of a legitimate telehealth interaction. The time is now for pharmacy boards to join the discussion regarding the creation of state regulations to support safe and effective telehealth pharmacy care.

These challenges, although relevant, should not deter pharmacies and retailers from integrating telehealth into their business models. If implemented correctly and with the right partner, telehealth is an exciting new way to engage consumers and bring care into the community. Finally, it is important to recognize that telehealth should not be viewed as competition for retail pharmacy, but rather, as a complementary service offering that can build on existing customer relationships and brand recognition to enhance customer loyalty and drive in-store foot traffic.

The Last Word
Never lose sight of the main objective: consumer satisfaction. Telehealth, although relatively new to mainstream media and culture, has been around for the past decade. We may not be able to go back in time to the era of Leave It to Beaver, but we can leverage powerful new socially oriented technologies to recreate the intimate relationship between consumers and their pharmacists of years past. Telehealth solutions bring more convenient, affordable, quality, and trusted care to consumers; pharmacies and pharmacists are an important part of this solution.

Jeff Kosowsky is Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for American Well. Jeff leads our corporate and business development efforts focusing on strategic partnerships, large investors, major client deals, and M&A opportunities. Jeff brings to American Well Jeffmore than 20 years of experience in healthcare, high tech, and business management and consulting. Prior to joining American Well, he led efforts in business and clinical analytics and population health at MEDITECH. He also has extensive experience in e-commerce and software services, including leadership roles at GSI Commerce and Idiom Technologies. Prior to that, Jeff was an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company where he focused on healthcare and high-growth technology companies. He graduated from Harvard University with an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PHD, AM, and an AB Summa Cum Laude in Applied Mathematics. He completed his surgical internship at the Harvard-affiliated New England Deaconess Hospital before transitioning to the business world.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[New Bipartisan Legislation Promotes Telemedicine]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5205 2017-11-27T19:19:01Z 2016-02-04T14:56:10Z Yesterday, Democrats and Republicans from both the House and the Senate came together in a bipartisan effort to introduce important legislation with significant positive impact for telemedicine.

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By Kofi Jones

hands-shakingYesterday, Democrats and Republicans from both the House and the Senate came together in a bipartisan effort to introduce important legislation with significant positive impact for telemedicine. The Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies CONNECT for Health Act (S. 2484 in the Senate and H.R. 4442 in the House) would greatly expand providers’ ability to leverage innovative telehealth healthcare technologies to increase access to healthcare for Medicare enrollees—and be appropriately paid for doing so.

The number of online medical consultations is expected to increase from less than one-tenth of 1% of the total for medical consultations today to 20% or more within the next 20 years. Hospitals, health systems, health plans, employers, and provider groups have rapidly been adopting telehealth for its ability to increase reach, better manage chronically ill patients, and produce better clinical outcomes.

Removing Medicare Barriers to Telemedicine

But as the proliferation of these technologies has increased, Medicare policy has lagged significantly behind.  The infrastructure for commercial and Medicaid payment for telehealth and remote patient monitoring has steadily improved, with states and health plans committing to reimburse providers who extend their care through technology. Only Medicare has remained stuck, requiring patients to drive to the care they need, rather benefiting from technologies that can bring the care to them. Up to this point, only rural Medicare enrollees could benefit from these innovative care models, and only if they were willing to travel.

The Connect for Health Act will help providers transition from today’s fee-for-service environment to the goals of alternative payment created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Providers making this transition will be able to use telehealth and remote patient monitoring without the current geographic barriers. Telehealth would become payable in alternative payment models without site restrictions, and become a part of the basic benefits package for Medicare Advantage. The bill will also significantly increase the number of approved locations and use cases for leveraging these technologies.

This announcement marks the most significant effort to embrace technology as a vital part of our health care ecosystem since EMRs. With 50 million Medicare enrollees, many coping with multiple chronic conditions, mobility issues, and significant wait times to access care, it’s time to take off the handcuffs.

We, as a nation, have a wonderful habit when faced with fundamental challenges. We innovate.  It’s time to innovate in our policy making and unlock the potential for care delivery for our most high need patients. The CONNECT for Health Act is the path forward.

This news broke yesterday, and already the Act has significant endorsement. Read press releases from these key supporters:

American Telemedicine Association

American Medical Association

ERISA Industry Committee

For more background on this important issue, read our introduction to provider reimbursement for telemedicine, and look for more posts as the reimbursement landscape continues to evolve.

 

kofijonesheadshotKofi Jones is the Vice President of Government Affairs for American Well. Her primary focus is on collaborating with federal, state, and congressional leaders to ensure the proliferation of modernized and safe telehealth policies. Prior to joining American Well, Kofi spent four-and-a-half years working for the Deval Patrick Administration, first as a Public Affairs Director and spokeswoman for the Governor’s Economic Development Secretary, and then as the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Marketing Office. She has also spent over 15 years as a communications and media expert, with a decade of experience in television news as a producer, reporter, and anchor.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[New Survey Confirms Employers Want Telemedicine]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5190 2016-02-05T18:49:13Z 2016-02-03T15:12:07Z We fielded a broad survey of over 240 employers, looking at the drivers of growth, as well as what employer telehealth looks like today and what benefits experts envision it will look like in the near future.

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By Sarah Natoli, Content Marketing Manager

Towers Watson predicts that by 2018, 80% of employers will offer a telehealth benefit to their employees. This projection is in stark contrast to 2014, when just 22% of employers had adopted telehealth, and the close of 2015, which marked a further rise to a third of employers offering the benefit. Clearly the trend is growth, but what is the story behind it?

At American Well, we set out to answer this question, fielding a broad survey of over 240 employers in Q4 2015. Our survey took a close look at the drivers of growth, as well as what employer telehealth looks like today—from use cases to the structure of the benefit to utilization—and what the benefits experts we surveyed envision it will look like in the near future. Importantly, our survey yielded insight that is not only relevant to this market, but to the health plan and health system sectors as well.

A Snapshot of the Growing Employer Market

Our survey contained key questions such as which employers offer telehealth today, how long these employers have had the benefit, and for those that don’t yet offer it, when they plan to add it. Despite telehealth being a relatively new benefit for most employers, adoption is on the rise.

Employer pie

Drivers of Growth

Why are employers embracing telehealth? What is the value-add for businesses of all sizes? Our survey identified the top five reasons employer adoption continues to grow, listed here in order of importance:

  1. Reducing medical costs—81%
  2. Improving access to care—78%
  3. Making employees happy—56%
  4. Improving employee productivity—53%
  5. Attracting new talent—21%

These priorities point to both a clear belief in quantifiable ROI and an understanding of the more qualitative benefits of a telemedicine offering. For a more in-depth look at each of these factors, download our free eBook, which summarizes the findings of this benchmark study.

Use Cases

While urgent care remains a priority for employers, both today and looking toward the future, our survey revealed that employers are remarkably forward thinking when it comes to services they offer through telehealth.

Top of mind both today and in the future are the following:

  • Urgent care
  • General health assessments
  • Behavioral health
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Diabetes counseling
  • Smoking cessation

Looking ahead, we see even more creativity, with a desire to launch asthma counseling, lactation support, occupational health, and more specialized services using telehealth as a vehicle.

The Structure of a Telehealth Benefit and the Challenges Employers Face

Employers are acutely aware of the need to make the benefit attractive, and to that end, they use strategies such as low co-pays, telehealth kiosks, and integration of telehealth with existing services.

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Many still are challenged by low utilization rates of the benefit in these early days, but there are certainly solutions here. Experienced telehealth companies like American Well can help employers market the service to their employees and even provide tailored communications and creative digital and print campaigns to drive engagement. On top of these best practices, employers benefit from working with companies that offer utilization reports and best practices.

Employer Report1_Page2_Generic2Employer Report2_Generic_V6_October

Impact for Other Players in the Healthcare Market

Now is the time for telehealth—with our survey and others confirming growth in the employer market, there is no doubt that those employers who delay risk becoming viewed as laggards. And the same goes for the health plans, private exchanges, and health systems that depend on relationships with these employers. Employers want telehealth—and not just a neat, out-of-the-box urgent care offering, but a nimble platform that can support infinite use cases and promote the many healthcare goals of their unique populations.

Download the eBook today for more on market impact. For more information on the employer market, visit our online Resource Center.

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Mike Lemovitz <![CDATA[The Buzz About Telemedicine Kiosks]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5043 2016-02-05T13:12:28Z 2016-01-25T15:04:22Z HealthSpot recently notified its customers that it was no longer in business. In this post we'll share our insight on kiosks based on our own product line, to address the many questions raised by our partners and industry experts.

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By Mike Lemovitz, Director of Client Relations

There’s been a lot of talk in the healthcare world about telemedicine kiosks lately, as HealthSpot recently notified its customers that it was no longer in business as of December 31, 2015. HealthSpot made a valuable contribution to the industry, with the company’s products and services going far in demonstrating the benefits of telehealth. In this post we’ll share our insight on kiosks based on our own product line, to address the many questions raised by our partners and industry experts. Our own experience with kiosks has been quite positive – we’ve seen great growth and potential in telehealth kiosks.  We’re now deployed in many states to a number of partners in the hospital and health system, retail, and employer spaces.  

On-Demand Care 

There are many reasons why our customers are so excited about kiosks and how they’re using them. One key difference between our kiosks and HealthSpot’s kiosks is that ours deliver care on demand – you can go into an American Well kiosk and see a doctor immediately, whereas other kiosk companies require scheduling ahead of time.  Our workflow allows patients to connect with a doctor or clinician right in the kiosk, which eliminates the need for on-site staff members to accompany each kiosk at all times. When a patient begins to interact with one of our kiosks, they are matched to an appropriate provider (both in terms of licensure and specialty) within seconds, and a live video visit begins.  The kiosks can be remotely staffed by a client’s providers, or staffed by Online Care Group, our exclusive affiliate national telehealth provider group.  Telemedicine on demand, whether in a grocery store or in an office, is a key reason our partners are so excited about the kiosk line American Well offers.

telemedicine kiosk photo

Here are a few more reasons that employers, retailers, and health systems are excited about kiosks.

Employers

Employers are using kiosks in a multitude of ways.  Kiosks are a simple, cost-effective option for opening an on-site clinic.  With kiosks, employees can be matched with a doctor of their choice within seconds, and biometric devices come as part of the setup to address the needs of the visit.  Having a kiosk on site provides affordable access to care, for both the employer and the employee.  

A kiosk also helps reduce absenteeism and increases productivity for the employees, as well as freeing up time for staff that would otherwise run an on-site clinic.  In a manufacturing environment, kiosks are quite an effective way to keep employees healthy.

Retailers

Retailers offer kiosks because they’re a simple, highly visible way to offer consumers healthcare where they need it.  In comparison to a staffed, on-site clinic, the costs are much lower, while still providing the healthcare benefits that customers need.  

Kiosks increase store traffic, bringing in – and retaining – new customers with this value added service.  Retailers also acquire opportunities to work with important partners such as health plans, hospitals, and employers.

Health systems

Health systems and hospitals also find value in using kiosks, often to expand their brand to surrounding areas.  Kiosks help hospitals project their presence into retail or office locations, bringing healthcare services to new locations.  Health systems are always looking to expand their patient bases, and kiosks allow them to introduce their services to large groups of new patients. Kiosks can provide valuable services like biometric screenings in more rural locations, giving patients the information they need to take necessary steps toward improving their health.

telemedicine kiosk biometric sensor

Overall, kiosks can be a powerful tool in delivering healthcare where the patients are.  Kiosks expand awareness about telehealth in general, helping deliver treatment and care to patients who need it.

If you’re interested in learning more, sign up for our upcoming kiosk webinar on January 26th at 1 pm, or get more information here.

Mike Lemovitz is a Director of Client Relations at American Well, working with our health system clients to roll out telehealth.

 

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[American Well Receives NCQA Certification with a Score of 100%]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5023 2016-02-05T13:13:10Z 2016-01-20T19:42:58Z American Well is pleased to share that our affiliate national telehealth network of providers, Online Care Group, just received certification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for physician credentialing, with a perfect score of 100 percent!

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By Sarah Natoli

American Well is pleased to share that our affiliate national telehealth network of providers, Online Care Group, just received certification from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for physician credentialing, with a perfect score of 100 percent!

With this certification, Online Care Group demonstrates its continued commitment to excellence under the leadership of Dr. Peter Antall, who has led OCG from its inception and was recently promoted to Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Antall works with our partners, providing thought leadership, support for new clinical programs (including provider training, use-case design, workflow development, and clinical quality), and engagement of physicians. Under Dr. Antall’s leadership, Online Care Group will expand to new specialties this year, including pediatrics, dermatology, and psychiatry.

Read more about the NCQA certification in our press release, and visit our webpage to learn more about Online Care Group and the services available through this national network.

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information for consumers, purchasers, health care providers and researchers.

NCQA certification

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[Next Generation ACO Model Bodes Well for Telemedicine Reimbursement]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4978 2016-02-05T13:14:02Z 2016-01-15T15:13:18Z This week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) unveiled the Next Generation ACO Model. This program may be just what telehealth advocates have been waiting for – a clear demonstration of the value of telehealth in FFS Medicare, which bodes well for provider reimbursement for telehealth visits.

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By Kofi Jones, VP of Government Affairs, American Well

This week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) unveiled the Next Generation ACO Model, which allows select Medicare ACOs to assume more risk in service of pursuing efficient and effective patient care. One of the most exciting opportunities in this program is clearly the ability for them to utilize telehealth above and beyond what is currently permissible in fee-for-service Medicaid.  This may be just what telehealth advocates have been waiting for – a clear demonstration of the value of telehealth in FFS Medicare, which bodes well for provider reimbursement for telehealth visits.

CMS logo

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) published a press release in support of the Next Generation ACO Model. “Today is an important day for Medicare beneficiaries getting access to value-based telehealth care,” said Gary Capistrant, Chief Policy Officer of ATA. “We think all Medicare ACOs should be able to use telehealth to provide the Medicare range of coverage, and we hope that Congress and CMS will explore allowing more use of innovation to serve better Medicare beneficiaries.”

Read more about the importance of this opportunity to this new class of ACOs and the entire telehealth ecosystem on The HealthCare Blog.

And for a broader understanding of the telemedicine reimbursement landscape, read the reimbursement blog post from 2015. The Medicare section goes into detail about the barriers to reimbursement, providing a full-scope view of the challenges for telemedicine. For more on the significance of the Next Generation ACO program, read mHealth’s analysis.

Look for more insight into the provider reimbursement issue in 2016 on the blog, as we continue to look at what it takes for providers to get paid for telehealth.

kofijonesheadshotKofi Jones is the Vice President of Government Affairs for American Well. Her primary focus is on collaborating with federal, state, and congressional leaders to ensure the proliferation of modernized and safe telehealth policies. Prior to joining American Well, Kofi spent four-and-a-half years working for the Deval Patrick Administration, first as a Public Affairs Director and spokeswoman for the Governor’s Economic Development Secretary, and then as the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Marketing Office. She has also spent over 15 years as a communications and media expert, with a decade of experience in television news as a producer, reporter, and anchor.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[Employee Spotlight]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4895 2016-02-05T13:14:37Z 2016-01-05T22:00:39Z Meet Bradley Keist, Business Communications Manager on the Sales Operations team. "In this age of convenience, we’re all about the right now," says Bradley, "and telehealth does exactly that for healthcare."

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Name: Bradley KeistBrad

Title: Business Communications Manager

Department: Sales Operations

Start Date: October 12, 2015

In this age of convenience, we’re all about the right now. And telehealth does exactly that for healthcare.

 

What attracted you to American Well?

I heard about American Well through a former colleague (and friend!)—what got me excited about the opportunity was the idea of being part of something really big. Telehealth has the potential to completely reshape the way all of us think about healthcare. The swift evolution of technology is thrilling—and to belong to the generation that was the first to really see it become a critical aspect of everyday life, it’s an amazing feeling. To me, what American Well is doing is another iteration of that concept. Every day, there’s something new. The world is changing. Healthcare is changing. And American Well is leading the way.

What were you doing before you came onboard?

Most recently I was a copywriter for an international cruise line. I generated a vast assortment of sales and marketing collateral. It really honed my writing skills and prepared me for my role at American Well.

Prior to that, I was an editor and project manager for a multinational publishing and education company. My role there was very similar to what I do now at American Well. One of the things I loved most about that job was the tight relationships I formed with the sales team—something I missed when I moved over to the cruise line. Here at American Well, I’m once again working closely with sales representatives on a daily basis.

What does a day in the life of a Business Communications Manager at American Well look like?

One of the best aspects of this job is that no two days are alike. It’s the most challenging position I’ve ever held—every day I’m growing (as a professional and as a person) and learning something new. A large portion of my time is spent fielding queries from potential clients who want to know more about American Well and the products we offer. I work directly with the sales team to facilitate these exchanges.

My team and I are also constantly working to brainstorm and generate new sales collateral. What do our clients want to know? What is it they need? What engages them? How do we pique their interest? How do we get them to commit to American Well? These are just some of the questions we ask ourselves. As American Well continues to blossom and flourish, I feel privileged to be helping shape the “American Well voice.”

What are your hobbies outside of work?

My top priority in life is to always experience something new—every day, if possible. I’m willing to try (almost!) anything, at least once. I love to explore, be it the Blue Hills south of Boston, or the bustling city streets in The Hub. I love the outdoors—jogging through my neighborhood of Dorchester, camping up north in New Hampshire, or spending a lazy afternoon at the beach. I love traveling too, and try to plan at least one big vacation a year (I spent two weeks in Central Europe this past year, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life). I love to cook—and even more, I love to eat! But none of it would be quite as enjoyable without my Boston terrier, Baxter, by my side.

Have you used American Well’s direct-to-consumer app, Amwell?

I’ve used the Amwell mobile app once so far, and it was a fantastic experience. Back in 2014, I suffered from a pretty serious case of reactive arthritis. A few months ago, minor stiffness in one of my joints returned, and I was unsure if the arthritis was returning or if it was something completely unrelated. I didn’t want to lose an entire day meeting with a rheumatologist, unless I was certain it was something serious. So, I decided to try out Amwell. I spoke with Dr. Mia Finkelston and she was superb. We discussed both my previous and current issues. Her breadth of knowledge was outstanding—and seeing her there, in her white lab coat, it truly felt like an in-person visit. In the end, she recommended a basic pain reliever, and in no time, the discomfort in my joint was gone!

What are your thoughts on the ways healthcare is changing and what we can expect to see in the future?

The deeper I submerse myself in the world of telehealth, the more I’m convinced it’s the way of the future. In this age of convenience, we’re all about the right now. And telehealth does exactly that for healthcare. I’ve experience it for myself—immediate access to quality care is right there in front of you. While the different uses for telehealth are just beginning to be realized, as technology advances, and more businesses start offering the service, it won’t be long before “telehealth” is a household word.

 

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Teleradiology as a Hub for Telemedicine]]> https://www.americanwell.com/teleradiology-as-a-hub-for-telemedicine/ 2018-07-19T19:31:35Z 2016-01-05T00:00:00Z Teleradiology is a Hub Enabling Care Through the Continuum via Telemedicine In Dr. Pitt’s latest edition to At the Intersection of Technology and Health, we re-visit the dawn of teleradiology, its application, and how telemedicine opportunities are present in other specialties. Teleradiology moves images from one location, typically where the patient had the exam, to another for interpretation. This transfer […]

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Teleradiology is a Hub Enabling Care Through the Continuum via Telemedicine

In Dr. Pitt’s latest edition to At the Intersection of Technology and Health, we re-visit the dawn of teleradiology, its application, and how telemedicine opportunities are present in other specialties.

Teleradiology moves images from one location, typically where the patient had the exam, to another for interpretation. This transfer allows load balancing and sub-specialty interpretation within a pool of radiologists. By having the right radiologist read the right case, outcomes improve while the cost of care is reduced.

What if teleradiology networks could be used for more than X-Rays? What if the channels built to moving images could also facilitate other care opportunities for telemedicine?

After all, the requirements for telemedicine and teleradiology have significant overlap, both in terms of technology and business relationships. Radiology practices are well positioned to offer an up-sell in the form of additional services on the networks. Hospitals in need of remote radiologists are likely in need of other specialists. Specialty expertise and load balancing are not problems specific to radiology. For example, neurologists and psychiatrists would all benefit by partnering with the existing imaging networks.

As one of only three clinical departments (the other two being lab and pharmacy) providing critical results, radiology is well positioned to act as a hub enabling communication and collaboration throughout the care continuum. There would be some challenges with the workflow and video, in addition to how radiology uses store-and-forward while clinical care requires face-to-face real time encounters. However, these challenges are not insurmountable.

Radiologist’s primary role will always be domain experts for imaging. However, CT, ultrasound and MR haven’t changed much in the last 30 years. Radiology should explore other opportunities. By leveraging decades of experience in managed services, teleradiology can add value to many other forms of care.

Click here to read more At the Intersection of Technology and Health.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Implementing Telemedicine]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4859 2016-02-05T13:15:33Z 2015-12-23T15:39:18Z On the road to telehealth, there are many different choices and considerations employers need to contemplate before choosing the offerings and provider that are right for them.

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Implementing Telehealth for EmployersOn the road to telehealth, there are many different choices and considerations employers need to contemplate before choosing the offerings and provider that are right for them. But before implementing telemedicine into your benefits package, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself. These questions will inevitably affect which telehealth vendor you choose to work with, and the offerings you decide to implement. Here are the top questions to ask before implementing telemedicine:

On the road to telehealth adoption, there are many different factors employers need to take into consideration to determine which offerings and vendors are right for them. This set of questions will guide you during your search, choose who to work with, and help you ultimately implement a successful program:

Did you have a visit?

Telehealth offerings differ in many ways, and  you need to understand exactly what you’re signing up for. The best way to do that is to test the product yourself by having an online doctor’s visit. During the visit, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it straightforward or confusing to sign up?
  • Is it easy and intuitive to select and connect with a doctor of your choice?
  • Would your employees be able to use the program easily and effectively?

These may seem like simple questions, but you’d be surprised how often they can be overlooked. The main goal of telehealth is to make medical care quick, convenient, and affordable without sacrificing quality of care; but if the process isn’t seamless, your employees will never use the service and reap its benefits.

When do you plan to launch?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to launch telehealth with you annual benefits cycle. In fact, often it’s better to launch telehealth off-cycle to help highlight the benefit to employees without added distractions. Once you decide what works best for your business and when you’re going to launch, you need to work with your vendor to set up a practice, tailor communications to employees, and ensure health plan notification and carrier readiness.

How quickly do you want to launch?

It’s important to set timeframe goals for a launch, and then compare them to vendor launch plans to see if they’re realistic. Knowing exactly how long it will take to bring telehealth to market is essential for scheduling an effective launch date. Telehealth vendors should be transparent in communicating what a launch entails, including setup, design, benchmarks, marketing initiatives, and more.

Who will you offer telehealth to?

Will you offer it to employees and dependents, or will you offer it only to employees who take advantage of employer health benefits? The choice is ultimately yours, but we believe that by making telehealth available to all employees and dependents, you realize higher cost savings and see more wide-spread use.

Will you add a kiosk to your telehealth offering?

Some employees use telehealth kiosks to provide an on-site clinic for employees.  If you already have some form of on-site clinic or care service, you have to decide if you will replace it with a kiosk or integrate a kiosk into your current on-site offerings. These questions are critical when considering kiosks:

  • Does the experience require that the kiosk be staffed or can it operate unstaffed?
  • Does the telehealth vendor provide their own kiosk and support, or do they outsource it from a third-party vendor?

Do the cost savings make sense?

Many employers turn to telehealth not only to provide their employees with a great benefit, but to reduce medical costs and save money. Compared to urgent care and emergency visit options, telehealth costs a fraction of the price; even with primary care visits, telehealth is typically a better value. This means if only a portion of your employees’ replace their traditional healthcare visits with telehealth visits, your cost savings can be substantial. That being said, it’s important to have an ROI model that is based on your expected costs. Don’t rely on averages. Make sure the telehealth vendor works with you to create a realistic and attainable ROI model based on your company’s unique telehealth goals.

Are you integrating telehealth into your current benefits package?

Integrating telehealth with your health plan allows for automated eligibility and claims. Real-time eligibility calls are used to verify coverage, services, and copays for your employees, while claims are generated automatically so doctors don’t have to focus on paperwork—just patients. Whichever vendor you choose should be experienced in these types of integrations, as well as be able to work with any health plan you select.

How are you going to communicate?

Unlike most healthcare services that offer open enrollment once a year and then go radio silent, a telehealth provider can actually provide ongoing communications throughout the year. Make sure you ask yourself how and how often you want to communicate the benefits to your employees. It’s also important to ask vendors if they help provide that ongoing communication. Communication about the service drives utilization, which in turn drives cost savings. If employees are unaware of the benefit, they won’t use it. It’s up to you and your vendor to education and inform in the most effective way possible.

How will you track utilization?

Once you have successfully implemented telehealth, it’s important to track utilization. Utilization not only shows how many employees are taking advantage of the benefits; it can also give you a glimpse into how accurate your ROI model is. Be sure to ask vendors if they provide utilization reports by month and year so you can track progress and cost savings over time.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[The Virtual Doctor Is In]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4741 2016-02-05T13:16:32Z 2015-12-11T14:28:12Z American Well recently held a webinar that included a Q&A session with Dr. Lauralee Yalden, an Online Care Group doctor who practicies virtual medicine. This post contains some insightful excerpts from that interview.

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Did you know 57% of physicians are willing to see patients online? American Well recently released our Telehealth Index: 2015 Physician Survey eBook, which shares insight into the key factors about telehealth identified by the survey as impor
tant to physicians.  In conjunction with the release of our eBook, we held a webinar that included a Q&A session with Dr. Lauralee Yalden, an Online Care Group (OCG) doctor. Online Care Group is the national telehealth network of
providers that exclusively serves American Well’s clients and staffs our consumer offering, Amwell. This post contains some insightful excerpts from that interview. If you’re interested in joining our upcoming Telehealth Index: 2015 Physician Survey webinar, you can register here. During the webinar, we will conduct a similar Q&A with another OCG doctor, Dr. Mia Finkelston.

yaldencropped Dr. Lauralee Yalden is a board-certified Family Medicine physician and graduate of Ross University School of Medicine who has been in practice for over 10 years. She balances her time between providing online care for Amwell and working in the local emergency room at The Veterans Administration.  Dr. Yalden is very active with the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians,) where she founded and chairs the AAFP Telehealth Member Interest Group.

 

What motivated you to want to practice medicine online?

Dr. Yalden: I have been practicing online with the Online Care Group for three years, and initially it was just part of a big job search. I needed to move from Florida to New York City, so I did a very extensive search and was fortunate enough to learn about American Well. I was very impressed by American Well’s unique vision and forward-thinking ideas. As a family medicine physician, I was used to taking calls at all hours of the day and night from home. Being able to actually see the patients by video really adds to your diagnostic capabilities, and really offers a comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plan.

How did you become trained to practice online?

Dr. Yalden: The training included a member of the Online Care Group staff coming down to my home in Florida and demonstrating the capabilities of the platform and the EHR. The EHR is very similar, and in many cases easier to use, than many of the other EHRs on which I’m trained. We reviewed all the different options that are available for communicating with the patient, went over good documentation, how to review a patient’s medical records, and how to access reading materials in order to offer patients the best treatment plan possible. All the training physicians also practiced with one another to simulate what it was like to see someone online. We took turns playing doctor and patient online to see what is was like diagnosing, evaluating and managing a patient. We were also doing our best to optimize our treatment for each individual condition.

How many patients do you see online?

Dr. Yalden: It really depends on the day, shift and number of physicians available. Typically, I work full-time day shifts and see two to three patients per hour. I am able to see 40-50 patients per week, but this number can vary. During cold and flu season the number is usually higher, and during weekends I tend to be busier.

As an individual doctor practicing within a medical group, how do you work together around developing clinical protocols?

Dr. Yalden: That’s a great question. Online Care Group is a very robust medical practice with full-time physicians spanning the entire United States. We come from different medical backgrounds, with the majority being primary care physicians—but we have physicians who are board-certified in emergency medicine, pediatrics, etc. We really work together as a group, meeting once a month and each serving on many different committees as part of the Online Care Group. One of our main objectives is to try to optimize our diagnoses and treatment of different medical conditions online. We discuss different medical conditions and develop templates and overall standards of care to practice medicine online. You do have to tailor your physician exam and questions to patients online, but we’re really seeking to answer the same questions and diagnose the same conditions as we do in a brick and mortar practice.

How did you adapt your practice for the online environment?

Dr. Yalden:  I can give you an example of a patient case that I saw earlier today. It was a very nice mother and her son calling in with a case of conjunctivitis. This is something you would see in any office—pediatrics, primary care or online. Conjunctivitis is one of those conditions where you can really make an excellent diagnosis online. With mom’s help, we were able to do a good evaluation of her son. I was able to see the eye up close, and using the iPhone I could take a look inside the mouth at the tonsils. Mom was able to touch and feel for any lymph nodes, and she touched the ears to make sure there weren’t any other cold symptoms or aches and pains. Parents are very educated and knowledgeable about what is going on with their children. She had already taken his temperature and had a whole bunch of wonderful information even before she logged in. She had a very good sense of the child’s health, medical history and immunizations.  It was wonderful to be able to provide this level of care at home. Mom was very excited about not having to take the time to go in and see the pediatrician, and she was happy to be able to do this online.

How would you handle a medical emergency if you were presented with one online?

Dr. Yalden: These kinds of things do happen from time to time exactly as they do in an office setting. Someone will connect with you online and they’re having chest pains or difficulty breathing, and by looking at them and getting a sense of their medical history you’re able to assess really quickly if these symptoms are more complicated than something you can manage online. In cases like that, I assess if the patient is in a safe environment, and figure out if they’re home alone or if there is a family member available to help—either by calling 911 or by taking that person to a higher level of care. There have been times where I’ve had to activate my 911 emergency protocols and stay on the line with the patient until the ambulance has arrived and picks up the care of the patient. The bottom line is we do have protocols in place for these types of situations.

FinkelstonInterested in learning more? Join us on Thursday, December 17th at 2:30 pm for the 2015 Physician Survey Insights Webinar.  Mary Modahl, Senior Vice President at American Well, will review the research and share additional insights on the Physician Survey, while Online Care Group (OCG) doctor, Mia Finkelston, MD, answers your questions during a live Q&A.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[The Top 5 Reasons Health Systems Like CHS Are Adopting Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4676 2016-02-05T13:17:03Z 2015-12-07T20:42:21Z You may have seen the news that Community Health Systems (CHS) is now partnering with American Well to make telehealth available to their patients for primary care video visits. CHS, one of the largest health systems in the U.S., is the most recent system to join our growing roster of partners.

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By Danielle Russella, President, Customer Solutions

 Danielle180

You may have seen the news that Community Health Systems (CHS) is now partnering with American Well to make telehealth available to their patients for primary care video visits. CHS, one of the largest health systems in the U.S., is the most recent system to join our growing roster of partners. Today we are proud to call about 30 health systems, representing over 300 individual hospitals nationwide, our clients. They include an impressive list of innovative, diverse organizations like Intermountain Healthcare, Providence Health System, Avera Health, Nemours Children’s, Jefferson, Indiana University, and Cleveland Clinic.

Telehealth For Health Systems Guide To Best Practices

Following health plans, health systems are the fastest growing sector of the telehealth adoption market. You may be wondering – why? The top five reasons health systems are implementing telehealth are to:

1.Deliver a better experience that will retain and attract patients

Patients consistently report high satisfaction with telehealth encounters (97% of patients report satisfaction with an online telehealth encounter with American Well) because it provides convenient after-hours care options and reduces wait times, travel time and costs associated with accessing care at traditional care settings. This high satisfaction leads to a better overall experience and a greater affinity for the health system. Naturally telehealth can be a draw for an existing patient to stay with their doctor if they can see them more regularly over video – and may attract new patients beyond the immediate vicinity of that hospital or system.

2. Reduce hospital admission rates

Hospital readmission rates are a big issue today, and with huge associated costs. Telehealth can help reduce admission rates by enabling doctors, care managers or pharmacists to see patients over video for follow-up care and care management for chronically ill and post-surgical patients.

3. Enhance depth, breadth and distribution of medical providers and specialists

Community Health Systems and other partners have multiple campuses and hospitals with specialists and other allied health providers distributed throughout these locations or regions. Telehealth enables hospitals to distribute staff and expertise throughout the system and provide access to more specialists, ensuring that patients have timely access to the doctors they need to see – without appointment scheduling, waiting and longer-term coordination. Telehealth also greatly improves provider-to-provider communication so doctors can easily share information, resulting in care that is more coordinated and cost effective. Finally, with telehealth, multi-disciplinary teams can more easily be assembled to care for a patient or a panel of patients.

4. Cut costs through more preventative outreach

As more patients are covered under alternative or value-based reimbursement arrangements, hospital systems need to find ways to engage and manage chronically ill patients.  By reducing the number of preventable admissions, from complications like diabetes, dehydration and heart conditions, hospitals can greatly reduce their costs. A decrease in the number of potentially avoidable hospital admissions from 2005 to 2010 saved nearly $1 billion in hospital costs. Telehealth is also a powerful tool to triage acute exacerbations and to match the point of care with the acuity of the problem. Telehealth facilitates consistent, convenient ongoing monitoring for those at-risk for hospitalization, ensuring that they’re as healthy as possible.

5. Help improve clinical outcomes

Patients who participate in their care have significantly better outcomes. Telehealth is a powerful tool to drive patient compliance with medication and post-discharge instructions and connect them more easily with physicians and caregivers. We’re looking forward to working closely with Community Health Systems to deliver a telehealth service that will improve outcomes and enhance care for their patients and communities.

What’s a reason you didn’t see on this list that you suggest adding? Please share in the comments.

 

 

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[ATA Accreditation: A Guide for Health Systems]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4583 2017-11-27T18:33:32Z 2015-12-01T14:51:29Z As telehealth becomes more commonplace, consumers need a way to judge the quality of care offered by a company or hospital via this relatively new care delivery system. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) offers just that through its accreditation program for online patient consultation.

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By Sarah Natoli

As telehealth becomes more commonplace, consumers need a way to judge the quality of care offered by a company or hospital via this relatively new care delivery system. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) offers just that through its accreditation program for online patient consultation. Earning this accreditation is a testament to a company or hospital’s ongoing commitment to patient choice, high-quality care, and cutting edge technology.

What exactly is the ATA’s accreditation program?  And how do you get accreditation?  Here’s a look at what it takes to gain the ultimate level of credibility in telehealth.

ata-seal-of-accreditation

What is the ATA?

The ATA is the governing agency that telehealth organizations look to for guidance. Founded in 1993 this non-profit organization has been instrumental in educating medical professionals and consumers about telehealth as a new mode of healthcare delivery, raising awareness, promoting research and innovation, and helping develop policy.

In 2014, as more healthcare organizations adopted telehealth services, the ATA launched the first and only accreditation program for online patient visits in the United States. It is similar to other medical accreditation programs in that it looks at all aspects of the practice of virtual medicine, from providers treating patients and the clinical standards they are held to, to the security of the platform, to consumer benefits such as transparency and provider choice.

Which organizations are eligible for ATA accreditation?

To be eligible for the accreditation program, an organization must provide online, real-time patient consults directly to patients. Applicants range from primary care providers to specialty service providers to health systems to businesses with direct-to-consumer offerings. The first business to be awarded this accreditation was American Well, for our direct-to-consumer offering, Amwell. In the health system realm, Avera Health recently became one of just a few health systems to receive accreditation for its consumer telehealth service AveraNow.

Erika Anderholm, Senior Manager of Provider Services for Amwell’s physician affiliate group, shares her experience going through the ATA’s accreditation process for Amwell in this video.

What are the criteria?

The ATA’s primary concern is consumer safety. It hosts a site dedicated solely to providing consumers with information about telehealth and guidance on selecting a telehealth service that offers high-quality clinical care. To ensure that organizations they accredit protect consumers, the ATA’s application process focuses on the following areas:

  • Security of patient information (HIPAA compliance)
  • Compliance with laws and regulations
  • Transparency in pricing and operations
  • Qualifications and licensing of the providers on the system
  • Provider training
  • Clinical practices and guidelines

What is the process to become accredited?

In addition to attesting to their strengths in the referenced areas, applicants must do the following:

  • Provide substantial documentation in all of these areas
  • Show the ATA the online resources that their patients have access to about their service
  • Give the ATA a live demonstrations of their service

Note that the initial application packet is fairly sizeable, and the selection committee may ask for clarification or additional information during the review process.

How long does the application process take?

The timeframe depends on the organization, and the number of applicants under review, but the ATA is efficient. Avera, for example, launched AveraNow in June and announced their accreditation in November. Avera is now listed, along with other accredited services such as Amwell, on the ATA’s consumer safety site.

Should our organization get accredited?

In a relatively new industry with explosive growth, the answer is yes. Accreditation serves important functions:

Accreditation helps an organization assess its services against the market standard. If the organization falls short, it can make quality improvements and ensure a better service and experience for patients.

Accreditation helps attract and retain patients. Patients who are “new” to telehealth and potentially unsure about using it will be reassured by the ATA’s seal of approval.

Above all else, accreditation shows an organization’s commitment to delivering the highest quality of care.

Have more questions about accreditation or insight from your own organization’s experience? Please share comments.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[The Digital Doctor: A Telemedicine Review from a Doctor]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4529 2018-04-04T14:56:05Z 2015-11-20T18:17:07Z Meet Dr. Michael Gray, MD, Staff Physician and a doctor on Amwell. Here’s a look at why he got into telehealth and the surprises he’s found along the way.

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We’re always hearing great feedback from patients about how they benefit from telehealth, but what about the doctors delivering telehealth? How can telehealth help physicians do their work better every day?

Dr. Michael Gray, MD, Staff Physician and a doctor on Amwell, provided his own comprehensive telemedicine review. Here’s a look at why he got into telehealth and the surprises he’s found along the way.

Digital medicine

I was originally interested in telehealth for the chance to be part of a cutting-edge technology solution for healthcare delivery, its more flexible work schedule and the convenience of working from home.

I had worked for a few smaller telehealth companies prior to American Well, so I was familiar with the concept of telehealth.  I chose to work with American Well because it was rapidly gaining a reputation in the industry for trying to do it “right” and as a doctor, that’s important to me  The company has invested heavily in software development and have always been very supportive of their doctors.

I did, however, have a couple of areas of concern, to be transparent. The first concern was the technological aspect. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to properly interview a patient while simultaneously using the webcam and other tools to collect information. Secondly, how was I going to adapt brick and mortar practice guidelines to telemedicine?

Watch the video: Telehealth App for Providers


Training for success

Since I was one of the earlier hires, much of the training was one-on-one with a physician coordinator.  There were a couple of online modules, but much of it was through interactive sessions online.  I also received a background packet on the company, which covered American Well’s structure, leadership and goals.

We were trained on how to report software issues and connection problems, and then conducted many test calls before we were let loose on the public. When I finally got to practice telehealth, I felt well prepared and knew that if an issue came up there were peers and administrative personnel ready and willing to help.  This helped immensely in making me feel more comfortable with the technology aspect and enabling me to be prepared to do my job well.

Remote can be personal, and effective

My initial thought was that the webcam discussions would be impersonal, but that turned out to be quite contrary to the truth.  You really can make a connection with a patient by video.  Expressions and body language give so much more insight than I initially expected.

Having spoken to different doctors, I think some believed that after training you would be just as comfortable seeing patients online as in a brick and mortar setting. While training lays the groundwork and gives you the technical background necessary, adapting brick and mortar treatment paradigms to telemedicine is something that cannot be taught during training.  In fact, how to most effectively evaluate and treat online and what the standard of care should be is not even known—It’s something that all of us collectively are determining as time goes on and it’s a constant dialogue.

American Well has always encouraged our efforts to determine what the standard of online care should be for various chief complaints. For example, we were never told that we had to treat sinus infections a certain way, although we collectively devised practice guidelines for common conditions so that newer doctors could be brought up to speed. It also provided a basis upon which to ensure quality.

Treating the nation

Overall, one of the most fascinating aspects of telemedicine is meeting patients from other areas.  Even if you have one state license, you will see patients from the far reaches of your state—patients that you never would have met had you practiced in one brick and mortar office.  That constant variety adds to the rewarding experience of practicing telemedicine, and is an educational experience that is hard to find elsewhere.

It’s great to hear from the doctors who are practicing telemedicine each day.  Look out for future posts sharing the perspective of the digital doctor.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[Telemedicine Reimbursement]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4365 2017-11-27T18:59:37Z 2015-11-16T19:33:39Z Why haven’t more health systems and individual physicians incorporated telehealth into their practice models? While no single factor accounts for the lag, arguably none has had as big an impact as the confusion surrounding provider reimbursement for these visits.

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The Lay of the Land

Telemedicine is a hot topic in healthcare, with consumers more willing than ever to see a doctor remotely. In a national study of over 2,000 consumers, 64% said they would be willing to have a telehealth visit with their doctor via video. The Alliance for Connected Care concludes that a telehealth visit for acute care represents $126 in savings over an in-person visit. Furthermore, research on telemedicine also shows a pattern of positive outcomes for patients. The Alliance states that patient issues are resolved 83% of time during an initial telehealth visit. And more than half of doctors themselves are willing to see patients over video. Why then, haven’t more health systems and individual physicians incorporated this means of delivering care into their practice models?

While no single factor accounts for the lag, arguably none has had as big an impact as the confusion surrounding provider reimbursement for these visits. Lack of understanding about how each of the three major payer types—Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial payers—reimburse for telemedicine visits has understandably prevented many providers and delivery systems from making informed decisions about adopting this technology.

This post will explain how each major payer type makes decisions around reimbursement and clarify when telemedicine visits are covered. Beyond providing this important knowledge foundation, it will also reveal trends toward increased levels of reimbursement—especially in the commercial sector. Physicians today can feel positive about bringing this powerful tool into their practices as telemedicine continues to receive increased levels of reimbursement.

Medicare 

With 49 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, it’s important for providers to understand how this program makes determinations about telemedicine reimbursement. Generally speaking, fee-for-service Medicare reimbursement is dictated by four key areas: the patient setting, the type of technology, geography, and provider type.

Patient Setting

Medicare requires that the patient setting, termed the “originating site,” be a clinical site such as a doctor’s office or hospital. However, multiple congressional efforts have focused on expanding Medicare payment and demonstrating the clinical and financial value of serving this population through telehealth technologies. The Alliance for Connected Care estimates that choosing telemedicine visits over in-person treatment for acute care when medically appropriate would actually result in costs savings for Medicare—$45 per visit—a convincing argument for defining the patient setting more broadly. In fact, as part of its Next Generation ACO initiative, Medicare will actually remove this restriction for participating ACOs, arguably the first step toward lifting this restriction for its entire population.

Technology

Medicare is quite forward-thinking when it comes to the technology, defining reimbursable telemedicine as “interactions between a healthcare professional and a patient via real-time audio-video technology” (CFR Title 42, Part 410.78, “Telehealth Services.”). This definition is in line with the model policy of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), which represents the 70 state medical and osteopathic regulatory boards. Because the FSMB is considered the ultimate arbiter of quality in medical practice and regulation, its recommendation carries considerable weight, setting the standard for the industry.

Geography

Medicare is also the most focused on geographic restrictions, while many state Medicaid programs and private insurers are more likely to see telemedicine as location-agnostic. Geography refers to the type of area in which the patient resides (i.e., urban, rural, etc.). Medicare only covers telemedicine when the patient is presenting from a defined rural area termed a Professional Shortage Areas or a county outside of a defined Metropolitan Statistical Area. While this is currently a barrier to telemedicine adoption, the Next Generation ACO initiative will also remove these restrictions, painting a hopeful picture for future policy change.

Provider Type

Medicare scores well here, reimbursing a reasonable number of defined provider types for telemedicine encounters. These include physicians, nurse practitioners, psychologists, social workers, and dietitians, among others.

A Final Note – Medicare Advantage

While the current telemedicine landscape for fee-for-service beneficiaries is limited, primarily due to “originating site” restrictions, many Medicare Advantage enrollees are currently covered for telemedicine services, regardless of location. Commercial plans have added telemedicine as a supplemental benefit, realizing the clear value and benefit that exist for the Medicare population. This is an extremely positive signal for the future, as these at-risk, capitated plans are not known to make investments that don’t yield results.

Medicaid

Forty-eight state Medicaid programs and the District of Columbia have some type of telemedicine coverage. However, Medicaid differs from Medicare in that its policies vary from state to state; each state has flexibility to determine how it will reimburse for telehealth, and many have gone well beyond the scope of Medicare.  Each year, additional states expand their scope of reimbursement, and new proposals are filed constantly.

Here are some key high-level insights, although it’s important for medical professionals and administrators managing the systems they work in to review state-specific resources. The American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) report, State Telemedicine Gaps Analysis, is one particularly comprehensive and accurate resource.

The following overview of Medicaid policies is broken down by the determining factors of patient setting, technology, and provider type.

Patient Setting

According to the ATA’s report, 24 states and the District of Columbia do not specify a patient setting as a condition for reimbursement, and 25 states recognize the home as an originating site. This means that many Medicaid patients do not have to travel to a traditional healthcare setting, allowing them to take advantage of the convenience afforded by telemedicine. While some state Medicaid regulations do still require a telepresenter, the overall trend is favorable for reimbursement across diverse patient settings.

Technology

Similar to the patient setting, no one policy dictates reimbursable technology across all state Medicaid programs. A broad span of modalities—from telephone to video to remote monitoring and store-and-forward technologies—is in play. According to the ATA, states are slowly but surely embracing a variety of new technologies for delivery of telemedicine.

Provider Type

While states can vary with regard to the provider types they reimburse, generally the outlook is positive. Fifteen states place no restriction on the provider type, according to the Berkeley Research Group. In addition, only four states restrict reimbursement to physicians. There is also an overall encouraging trend toward Medicaid coverage for mental and behavioral health services delivered via telemedicine.

Commercial Payers

Commercial payers—that is, private insurers—have been most aggressive in reimbursing for telehealth visits. Many national plans embrace this healthcare innovation and have been steadily broadening coverage through partnerships with telemedicine services companies. American Well, for example, now covers 50 million commercial lives for telehealth visits through 30 separate major health plans. This is happy news for doctors and the systems in which they work. Their patient populations are steadily gaining telemedicine benefits, and companies like American Well offer real-time eligibility and claims processing, letting the provider know prior to starting a telemedicine visit if the patient’s plan will reimburse them for their services.

Regulation affects the commercial payer realm as well. Today, 29 states and the District of Columbia have parity laws that mandate commercial payers provide comparable coverage and reimbursement for telemedicine services as in-person services. This is great news for providers, as it suggests that over time telemedicine will gain parity footing with in-person consultations across the board. Beyond these laws, the high potential for cost savings in the commercial sector—an average of $126 per visit for acute care—has incentivized many plans to cover telemedicine.

All of this is not to say that the commercial realm is without issue. Payers are not universally compliant with parity regulations, and few of these laws bear teeth in terms of required dates for compliance.  Telehealth coverage has grown so fast in the commercial realm because visits are less expensive, so parity reimbursement could have a chilling effect on health plan promotion of telemedicine for patients. Commercial insurers are also still grappling with issues such as building telemedicine codes into claims systems and determining their level of coverage for various specialist services, from teledermatology to telepsychiatry.

Despite all this, reimbursement through private insurance companies is the least confusing and the most promising. With national health plans such as United Health Care and Anthem advertising their telemedicine visits and coverage on television and the web, it’s clear that some powerful players stand behind telemedicine and are dedicated to making it work as an integrated part of the healthcare system, not just for patients, but also for providers.

An Exciting Future

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Telemedicine has huge potential to improve access to quality care and decrease costs, and to make healthcare encounters more convenient and satisfying for providers and patients. Understanding how and when providers are reimbursed for delivering healthcare through telemedicine can be challenging, but not impossible. Breaking it down by each type of payer makes it easier for providers to gain clarity and make informed decisions about telemedicine.

And there’s more good news—there are positive indicators for reimbursement across all three major payer types, and restrictions on reimbursement continue to be lifted as industry advocates work with federal and state government and commercial payers to integrate telemedicine into our healthcare system. Not too long ago, there were a number of states where it was illegal to practice telemedicine. Today, 47 states are “green” for telemedicine. Industry advocates are working just as hard on the issue of reimbursement. Doctors who want to adopt telemedicine have support—both for understanding reimbursement today and changing reimbursement tomorrow.

 

kofijonesheadshot

Kofi Jones is the Vice President of Government Affairs for American Well. Her primary focus is on collaborating with federal, state, and congressional leaders to ensure the proliferation of modernized and safe telehealth policies. Prior to joining American Well, Kofi spent four-and-a-half years working for the Deval Patrick Administration, first as a Public Affairs Director and spokeswoman for the Governor’s Economic Development Secretary, and then as the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Marketing Office. She has also spent over 15 years as a communications and media expert, with a decade of experience in television news as a producer, reporter, and anchor.

 

 

Additional resources

eBook

Telehealth Index: 2015 Physician Survey, American Well and QuantiaMD

Reports

Telehealth Utilization: Potential Benefits of Expanded Coverage and Reimbursement, Berkeley Research Group

Assessment of the Feasibility and Cost of Replacing In-Person Care with Acute Care Telehealth Services, The Alliance for Connected Care

 

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Christine Minott <![CDATA[How Pediatric Telehealth Is Enhancing Healthcare]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4291 2017-12-06T19:19:18Z 2015-11-09T20:56:29Z Some of the most prominent pediatric health systems in the US have started to offer telehealth services for the entire family. The use cases are endless, but here are a few key ways pediatric telehealth is delivering great benefit today.

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By Christine Elliott, Business Development Associate

Imagine this: It’s Thanksgiving and a mother is in the middle of preparing a feast for 20 beloved family members when her first grader suddenly starts complaining of an ear ache.  There’s a turkey in the oven, two other children are destroying the just cleaned house, and her husband is picking up the in-laws from the airport.  Great time to pile everybody in the car and head to urgent care, right?

If you’re shaking your head, eyes wide with fear, you’re not alone. In fact, some of the most prominent pediatric health systems in the US have started to offer telehealth services for the entire family.  The use cases are endless, but here are a few key ways pediatric telehealth is delivering great benefit today.

Urgent care is now online

Nemours Children’s Health System just partnered with American Well on its virtual visit platform, available on web or mobile, to eliminate situations like the one described.  Nemours CareConnect allows families to connect with a Nemours board-certified physician, day or night, from the comfort of their own homes.  Mom or Dad can forget the stress surrounding a doctor’s visit and instead focus on getting their little one better.  Typical urgent care scenarios that CareConnect addresses are allergies, abdominal pain, cold or flu symptoms, and rashes.

The doctor will see you…in the nurse’s office

It’s no secret that kids are prone to getting hurt at school – from the germs floating on tables and chairs to breaking bones during recess, the nurse’s office is often the busiest place on campus.  Despite the expertise of most school nurses, parents are often called out of work or other duties to pick up sick kids and tote them to the doctor,  taking parents away from busy work days and pulling kids out of class. Children’s Medical Center of Dallas is looking to change this reality by placing mobile telehealth carts in the nurse offices of 26 Dallas-area schools, allowing for a virtual visit with a Children’s physician when a child presents with an illness.  When a child presents himself with a symptom that is out of the nurse’s realm of expertise, the nurse can easily consult with a physician who can help diagnose or recommend care.

Let’s follow up in 6 weeks, from home

Ultimately, children and teens are going to see their pediatricians for health issues and care other than a regular physical, an ear infection, or common cold.  Acne, allergies, changes in hormones, and other long-term issues frequently bring families into the waiting room.  Telehealth services are beginning to address the need for easy yet comprehensive follow-up care that eliminates the time involved with trekking to the doctor and sitting in a waiting room.  Pediatric telehealth allows the physician to remain in the loop for follow-up care that doesn’t require an in-person visit and allows the family to be happy and healthy.

What’s on the horizon?

The need for accessible care is no different for kids than it is for adults and in many ways, providing virtual pediatric care eases a burden on all family members, not just the little one complaining of an ear ache on Thanksgiving Day.  In an age when children know how to swipe an iPad before learning to speak, many will agree that we can expect to see this generation more comfortable with telehealth than any of its predecessors.  Today, parents can expect to see a continued influx of creative uses for telehealth popping up in and around their pediatricians’ offices, making ease of care the new normal.

Learn more about how telehealth is being applied to pediatrics at the Boston Children’s Hospital Global Pediatric Innovation Summit on November 10, 2015.  We look forward to following up on this topic and seeing how quickly pediatric telehealth becomes a critical tool on the path toward more effective pediatric healthcare everywhere.

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Amanda Guisbond <![CDATA[#DHIS15 Recap: B2B2C, Mobile First, Telehealth 2.0, and more]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4255 2016-01-27T20:19:54Z 2015-11-05T15:03:50Z “We want fee for value all day long” was one of several opening statements made by Optum CEO Larry Renfro at the start of the Digital Healthcare Innovation Summit on Tuesday November 3 in Boston. This statement underscored a theme that permeated the majority of the day’s conversation.

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By Amanda Guisbond, Director of Communications, @agbond

“We want fee for value all day long” was one of several opening statements made by Optum CEO Larry Renfro at the start of the Digital Healthcare Innovation Summit on Tuesday November 3 in Boston.  This statement underscored a theme that permeated the majority of the day’s conversation, led by executives at some 60+ emerging and established digital health companies.  Panelists addressed the mobile workforce, security challenges in health tech, population health management, the advent of telemedicine, and above all, the challenge of delivering effective care tools that will engage consumers and clinicians while also providing a cost incentive for industry support.

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The bottom line: the opportunity in digital health has never been greater – and that made for a packed agenda, of which I’ve pulled out a few key trends:

B2B2C and the rise of the consumer

Optum CEO Larry Renfro talked about how the health services platform and subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group is looking to more effectively reach consumers. Renfro said that Optum doesn’t yet have a “front door” for consumers, something the company is working to develop. He sees digital health tools and analytics as a way to better assess and manage the millions of consumers Optum touches daily – starting with the 66 million prescriptions the company transmits on behalf of consumers each day.

Smartphone usage requires mobile-first strategies

Mobileron VP Ojas Rege noted that for the first time last month, more than half of internet activity was accessed over mobile. Reje added that 80 percent of people are likely to choose convenience over security when communicating on mobile – proving a great challenge for healthcare innovators as they look to create streamlined, intuitive mobile experiences that are also HIPAA-compliant and secure.  Rege advised companies developing a mobile experience to adopt a mobile-first strategy when establishing their security infrastructure.

Telehealth 2.0 is a win for population health management

American Well Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Antall discussed the future of telehealth as a tool to manage chronic care since it empowers doctors to use telehealth visits to treat patients with chronic conditions remotely. Antall also gave an example of in-hospital telehealth usage that would allow a doctor who just met with a patient having a mental health crisis to immediately refer that patient to a psychotherapist for a live video visit. This would eliminate the wait for a follow-up appointment – which can often take a month to schedule – and reduce the risk to the patient who is suffering.

Evolent COO Tom Peterson addressed the need for the industry to better integrate care encounter data – such as benefit and network information – into mobile health technologies, for effective real-time population health management.  Without that data readily available, the industry risks disrupting the consumer experience, or worse, sub-par care delivery.

An internet of healthcare that needs collaboration

athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush addressed the futuristic ideas of an “internet for healthcare” that would serve as a marketplace for consumers to shop for healthcare goods and services, in the way that Amazon.com exists today for things like pillows. Bush added that due to the millions of patient records and providers currently on their platform, the company is by default building a “cloud system for the hospital” – but that they don’t want to “go it alone.”  Clearly the opportunity is ripe for continued collaboration in healthcare.

Consolidation vs. business formation

Throughout the panels, different leaders discussed the trend towards consolidation in healthcare and compared recent, pending health insurer mergers with the rise of health insurer startups (Oscar, Zoom). Remedy Partners Chairman and CEO Steve Wiggins said that he’s “concerned about consolidation” and advocated for continued entrepreneurship and new business formation.  He added that, particularly in healthcare, entrepreneurs often must “wait for the markets to catch up” – something we have witnessed first-hand here at American Well, given the rapid adoption of telehealth in just the last couple years.

There were so many exciting topics discussed at Digital Healthcare Innovation Summit that it’s difficult to capture all of it in one summary.  If you attended, what were your key highlights?  Any topics left off the table?

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[How Hospitals Are Reducing Medical Costs with Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4228 2017-11-27T19:01:12Z 2015-11-03T15:27:45Z Out of all the reasons health systems are implementing telehealth, reducing medical costs is one of the largest driving factors.

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Reducing Medical Costs with Telehealth

Interest in telehealth has reached an all-time high, with many of the most prestigious health systems in the U.S. implementing the technology in 2015. This surge in adoption is driven by the need to address a host of urgent issues, including the need to engage patient populations, bridge gaps in care, expand revenue sources, and make care more convenient for patients. Out of all the reasons health systems are implementing telehealth, however, reducing medical costs is one of the largest driving factors.  This is particularly true for health systems that have become Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) or that are in the process of becoming an ACO.  For these institutions, the mandates to improve patient care and reduce medical costs go hand in hand.

A recent study by Towers Watson found that telehealth could save as much as $6 billion annually in U.S. healthcare costs. This number shows the huge potential within hospital systems for reducing medical costs with telehealth. But, it’s also important to break down these numbers into more digestible use cases and data.

“Telehealth could save as much as $6 billion annually in U.S. healthcare costs.”

Below are three specific examples of how hospitals use telehealth  to reduce medical costs, while simultaneously delivering high-quality care.

1. Readmission Reduction

The federal government has pegged the cost of hospital readmissions for Medicare patients at $26 billion annually, with $17 billion accounting for readmissions that result in patients not receiving the right care. In 2011, hospitals spent $41.3 billion to treat patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge. Telehealth is being used as a key part of hospitals’ readmission reduction programs to help combat high readmission rates.  By improving the follow-up care and care management of a range of patients—from the chronically ill to post-surgical patients – hospitals find they can prevent many readmissions.

“In 2011, hospitals spent $41.3 billion to treat patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge.”

A report by the Commonwealth Fund found that Partners HealthCare’s Connected Cardiac Care Program has seen a 50% reduction in heart failure-related readmission rates for enrolled patients since its remote monitoring and telemedicine pilot launched in 2006. The program has estimated a total cost savings of more than $10 million. [In the study, participants answered symptom-based questions on a computer and received weekly education sessions via telephone. Each patient’s parameters were reviewed by telemonitoring nurses, who were able to then intervene for immediate teachings when the patient was out of their range.]

2. Better Staff Utilization

Many health systems struggle to staff multiple campuses or locations with medical specialists, due in large part to high costs and a lack of available personnel. Telehealth enables health systems to better distribute staff throughout their healthcare facilities and load-balance resources across entire systems, reaching more patients with less strain on specialist resources. Telehealth also improves provider-to-provider communication, which can also result in improved patient care and as a result, cost savings.

In fact, a study conducted by the Center for Information Technology Leadership (CITL) found that implementing provider-to-provider hybrid telehealth technologies—such as a combination of store-and-forward and interactive audio-video telehealth technologies—would result in annual net savings of $1.39 billion in avoided inter-emergency department transfers, $270.3 million in avoided correctional facility transfers, and $806 million in avoided nursing facility transfers. The statistics are clear – telehealth means much efficient staff utilization.

3. Preventative Outreach

In 2008, approximately 1 in 10—or 40 million—hospitalizations were from a potentially preventable condition, such as complications of diabetes, dehydration, and heart conditions. These types of conditions cost hospitals billions of dollars a year.   By reducing the number of potentially preventable admissions, health systems can greatly reduce medical costs. Analysis of data from the Healthcare Cost & Utilization Project’s 2010 Nationwide Inpatient Sample and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Prevention Quality Indicators showed that a decrease in the number of potentially avoidable hospital admissions from 2005 to 2010 saved nearly $1 billion in hospital costs. Just imagine if telehealth was used in this scenario. Telehealth can be a true game-changer when it comes to preventing hospital admissions by facilitating regular and convenient monitoring and caring for patients at the highest risk for hospitalization, including chronic care patients and those with behavioral health conditions.

“A decrease in the number of potentially avoidable hospital admissions from 2005 to 2010 saved nearly $1 billion in hospital costs.”

A study by the Commonwealth Fund examining the Veterans Administration’s (VA) telehealth program, Care Coordination/Home Telehealth (CCHT), saw a 20% reduction in patients seeking hospital services for diabetes. On the behavioral health side, the VA saw a 56% reduction in hospital services for depression and a 40% drop in hospitalizations for other mental health issues. Together, these results translate to $2,000 in per-patient annual savings.

Centura Health also saw a reduction in diabetes readmission rates—from 12% to zero—when they introduced and trained patients on telehealth before they were discharged. Again, the numbers speak for themselves.

How American Well Is Helping

With American Well’s introduction of the AW8 platform, our goal is to enable health systems to reap all the benefits of telehealth—including cost reductions. American Well enables both provider-to-patient and provider-to-provider telehealth on an easy-to-use, mobile- and web-friendly platform.

American Well’s Telemed Tablet allows providers to connect over live, secure video for immediate consultations by specialty. This type of implementation helps health systems maximize their reach within their hospital ecosystem, while saving on costs associated with staffing specialists at each medical facility.

American Well is also integrated with Apple HealthKit, which allows monitoring of many chronic care conditions, including blood sugar levels for diabetics and blood pressure levels for patients with hypertension and other heart conditions. Better monitoring helps decrease hospital readmissions. We’re working with our health system clients to implement disease-tailored telehealth practices that will aid in preventing these types of hospitalizations moving forward.

Conclusion

While telehealth arms health systems with the resources needed to reduce medical spend, it’s also important to note that a significant portion of the value derived from telehealth comes from  improved patient satisfaction. The VA found an average patient satisfaction score of 86% for its Home Telehealth program. CVS, which recently implemented telehealth into its Minute Clinics, has also seen an impressive patient satisfaction rate of 90% with telehealth.

As hospitals seek to decrease costs and increase patient satisfaction, American Well serves as a partner in the process, ensuring that telehealth programs help hospital meet these critical goals. Telehealth will continue to be an important tool in helping hospitals reduce costs and offer better patient care.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Doctors and Data: Numbers Alone Will Not Transform Healthcare]]> https://www.americanwell.com/doctors-and-data-numbers-alone-will-not-transform-healthcare/ 2015-10-14T00:00:00Z 2015-10-14T00:00:00Z Dr. Alan Pitt‘s latest blog takes us on a quick trip down memory lane when patient records were 100% paper, difficult to decipher and virtually inaccessible. This resulted in huge delays in care, among other issues due to the hours of work often needed to find and understand a patient’s medical history. Fortunately, a lot […]

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Dr. Alan Pitt‘s latest blog takes us on a quick trip down memory lane when patient records were 100% paper, difficult to decipher and virtually inaccessible. This resulted in huge delays in care, among other issues due to the hours of work often needed to find and understand a patient’s medical history.

Healthcare DataFortunately, a lot has changed due to computers and federal regulations. Now healthcare has a data obsession. Almost everything is now recorded electronically, which is a vast improvement, but may have its own negative implications.

4 Things to Remember about Data:

  1. Data needs to be interpreted by a qualified practitioner.
  2. Data has an expiration date.
  3. Data needs to inform us not only about a particular patient with a particular outcome, but also about patterns to patient outcomes over time.
  4. Quick answers detract from a learning process that is key to long-term knowledge.

Visit Dr. Pitt’s blog At the Intersection of Technology and Health to read the complete article.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[Intermountain Healthcare Joins the American Well Family]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4006 2016-01-27T20:21:13Z 2015-10-09T15:00:24Z This week Intermountain Healthcare officially joined the American Well network as our newest health system partner. Intermountain’s system encompasses 22 hospitals, 185 clinics, and a medical group of 1,300 physicians.

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This week Intermountain Healthcare officially joined the American Well network as our newest health system partner. Intermountain’s system encompasses 22 hospitals, 185 clinics, and a medical group of 1,300 physicians. The new telehealth service, Connect Care, will launch in early 2016. It will provide 24/7 on-demand care to all 750,000 members of Intermountain’s health plan as well as its approximately 34,000 employees, many of whom belong to the plan. No wonder Intermountain has received the Gallup Great Workplace Award four times, most recently this year!

A leader in healthcare, Intermountain began exploring telehealth in 2013, when it piloted an internally built system. Partnering with American Well is the next logical step in extending its reach system wide.

Following a model that has worked for many health systems, the new telehealth offering will initially focus on treating low-acuity conditions. In later phases, the service will extend to additional use cases such as chronic care and eventually incorporate specialist care.

We look forward to growing our partnership with this leader in healthcare transformation! Read more about Connect Care in Intermountain’s press release.

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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[Coalition Endorses Key Telehealth Legislation]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=3997 2016-01-27T20:21:50Z 2015-10-08T14:07:32Z Today, American Well proudly joined the 16 other healthcare, consumer, and business organizations that make up the Massachusetts Telemedicine Coalition in its endorsement of HB267, An Act Advancing and Expanding Access to Telemedicine Services.

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Today, American Well proudly joined the 16 other healthcare, consumer, and business organizations that make up the Massachusetts Telemedicine Coalition in its endorsement of  HB267, An Act Advancing and Expanding Access to Telemedicine Services.

One of the major barriers to the expansion of telehealth is lack of parity—coverage and reimbursement for telehealth visits equal to that for traditional in-office visits. This summer, several states across the United States made news by passing laws similar to HB267 to remedy this problem. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia now have laws in place that require coverage of telehealth services. If HB267 passes, Massachusetts will join more than half the country in leveling the playing field for telehealth and improving access for the state’s 6.76 million residents.

The next step in moving this critical legislation forward is a public hearing in front of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing next Tuesday, October 13.

Read the full press release from the Massachusetts Hospital Association, which leads the Coalition.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[3 Things to Consider Before Investing in Videoconferencing as a Service (VCaaS)]]> https://www.americanwell.com/3-things-to-consider-before-investing-in-videoconferencing-as-a-service-vcaas/ 2018-07-19T21:15:28Z 2015-10-08T00:00:00Z Shifting over the past few years, videoconferencing is no longer a nice-to-have option but a necessity for hospitals to offer telemedicine programs for one or more disciplines. This is all due to the benefits it offers to businesses. The cloud boosts its popularity further, making it affordable for companies of all sizes and budgets. However, before […]

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Shifting over the past few years, videoconferencing is no longer a nice-to-have option but a necessity for hospitals to offer telemedicine programs for one or more disciplines.

This is all due to the benefits it offers to businesses. The cloud boosts its popularity further, making it affordable for companies of all sizes and budgets. However, before making the switch to cloud-based videoconferencing, there are a few factors you need to consider.

Security: HIPAA compliance is not something we take lightly in telemedicine. Cloud-based video conferencing can be equally (if not more) secure than on-premise systems. VCaaS service providers often have a dedicated set of skills and expertise, as well as resources to provide conferencing services in strict compliance with security standards. VCaaS comes as a logical choice for small and mid-sized healthcare providers that do not have the budget or in-house expertise to maintain such high levels of security.

Quality and Performance: A good videoconferencing service should run seamlessly on any device, whether those endpoints are hospital provided (telemedicine carts, desktop clients or laptops) or are the personal devices of the clinical staff. Also, look for one that supports 3G/4G mobile networks. This makes it easier for everyone to stay connected and collaborate from virtually anywhere. All of this should be possible without any lag in video quality.

Flexibility and Scalability: For hospitals that have already made some hardware purchases or those looking to move from on-premise to on-cloud models, it’s best to invest in a VCaaS that easily integrates with existing infrastructure. It’s also important to find out if the service is compatible with your commonly used tools. Pay-as-you-grow (or shrink) models are great for small and mid-size businesses that frequently scale their operations up or down.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Cassandra Aviles <![CDATA[Harvard Calculated the Cost of Waiting for a Doctor – and It’s Crazy]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=3974 2016-01-27T20:35:25Z 2015-10-06T13:23:37Z A study from Harvard Medical School supports what we already know – online care saves you time and money.

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A study from Harvard Medical School supports what we already know – online care saves you time and money. In the study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers looked at the time spent by nearly four thousand people seeking in-person medical care and then calculated the dollar value of their lost time.

They found that the average total visit time for typical in-person medical visits was 121 minutes. This includes 37 minutes in travel time and 84 minutes in the clinic waiting and filing in paperwork.  Of the 84 minutes, only 20 minutes were spent face-to-face with a doctor.

When the researchers translated that time into money, the total cost for the 121 minutes was equal to $43. Overall, employed adults in the United States spent an unnecessary 1.1 billion hours of time and $25 billion annually seeking medical care.

Amwell_Cost_Outpatient_vs_telehealth

With Amwell, you no longer have to sit in your doctor’s waiting room thinking about the things you could be doing.  It takes an average of 15 minutes to log-on, connect with a doctor and have a face-to-face visit all in the comfort of your home.

So what does this mean for you? You have more time and money to do the things that made you happy.  Skip to the head of the line and see an Amwell doctor in minutes.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[How Cloud Videoconferencing Benefits Hospitals]]> https://www.americanwell.com/how-cloud-videoconferencing-benefits-hospitals/ 2018-07-19T20:56:17Z 2015-09-30T00:00:00Z Due to the dynamic nature of the healthcare landscape and the changing needs of providers, videoconferencing has emerged as the most popular form of communication. While video conferencing has existed for more than a decade, we are now feeling its true healthcare benefits. We’re moving from hardware-based videoconferencing to software and service based solutions. Cloud-based […]

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Due to the dynamic nature of the healthcare landscape and the changing needs of providers, videoconferencing has emerged as the most popular form of communication.

While video conferencing has existed for more than a decade, we are now feeling its true healthcare benefits. We’re moving from hardware-based videoconferencing to software and service based solutions. Cloud-based videoconferencing has allowed care providers to experience seamless collaboration without having to worry about hardware and infrastructure costs. With an increasing number of hospital systems opting for cost-effective services managed outside their premises, cloud-based videoconferencing is fast becoming the norm.

Several recent studies show that the cloud is where videoconferencing is headed. A new Global Industry Analysts (GIA) report predicts the cloud videoconferencing market could reach over $2 billion by 2020. According to another report, the cloud-based videoconferencing market is going to grow at a CAGR of 39.6 percent by 2019. What are the factors driving this growth?

Enterprise Mobility

A recent IDG Connect survey estimates that by the end of this year, the mobile workforce will number 1.3 billion globally– that’s nearly a third of the total global workforce. As mobile penetrates deeper into the business space, it will cause more hospitals to adopt cloud-based videoconferencing as a means to collaborate from anywhere, at any time.

Remote Workplace

The dispersed nature of business requires a communication solution that allows care teams in diverse locations to meet, collaborate, exchange files and documents, and solve problems together. The idea is to collaborate as if you’re in the same room. This helps remote specialists become truly part of the conversation. Cloud videoconferencing replicates the benefits of face-to-face communication at a fraction of the cost of in-person consultations.

The Future - Telemedicine Video CloudIncreased Productivity

Videoconferencing also eliminates the need to dive into heaps of files and more traditional forms of communication every time you need to refer to something discussed in the past. It also helps prevent miscommunication and misdiagnoses, not only saving time, but also improving patient outcomes. A new global study found that businesses using cloud-based services experience improved productivity.

Cost-Effective Collaboration

Cloud-based services bring down the cost of operations and videoconferencing is no exception. With no infrastructure and/or hardware to maintain, cloud-based videoconferencing makes effective collaboration affordable to everyone.

There is no doubt that the landscape of the mobile workforce and global collaboration is rapidly changing. The question is, what technology and tools is your hospital embracing to maximize the potential of this exciting trend?

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Avizia CEO Mike Baird on Numbers Narrative Podcast]]> https://www.americanwell.com/avizia-ceo-mike-baird-on-numbers-narrative-podcast/ 2018-07-18T19:35:46Z 2015-07-22T00:00:00Z In an in-depth interview with Numbers and Narrative, Avizia’s CEO, Mike Baird, reflects on the Telemedicine industry’s rapid growth and Avizia’s mission to reduce the costs associated with connecting the right doctor to the right patient at the right time – from anywhere. http://traffic.libsyn.com/numbersandnarrative/Mike_Baird_produced.mp3 Transcript Numbers and Narrative Episode 24: Interview with Mike Baird Welcome to […]

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In an in-depth interview with Numbers and Narrative, Avizia’s CEO, Mike Baird, reflects on the Telemedicine industry’s rapid growth and Avizia’s mission to reduce the costs associated with connecting the right doctor to the right patient at the right time – from anywhere.


Transcript

Numbers and Narrative Episode 24: Interview with Mike Baird

Welcome to the Numbers and Narrative podcast. This is your cohost Renny McPherson and I’m here today with Mike Baird, the CEO and cofounder of Avizia, a growing telemedicine company. Welcome Mike.

Thank you, great to be here.

We’re happy to have you here in your Avizia office in July, the heart of the summer, in northern Virginia. And you and the team look like you’re hard at work.

Yes we are. Summer is hot and so is business.

That’s always good. So Mike as we start could you tell us, what does Avizia do?

Avizia provides hardware, software and services that enable telemedicine. So telemedicine is all about connecting patients with doctors virtually. Primarily over video, but that could also be audio or texting or other communication forms. And we aspire to provide that entire technology platform for hospitals primarily, to help them scale their physicians and specialists in a more effective way.

And telemedicine is a word that many people are hearing a lot about. It seems to be ubiquitous in 2015. What changed in the world or in the health care system or regulation to make telemedicine something that seems like everyone is starting to do it?

That’s a great question. Telemedicine has been around for decades. In fact a lot of people point to the Apollo and Mercury and Gemini missions as sort of the origins of telemedicine; they needed ways to help these astronauts take care of their health care needs. So we’re obviously a long time past then and yet it’s been a fairly stagnant market until the last 3 or 4 years.

And I think it’s primarily because one, there’s always legislative issues when you’re working in something as complex as health care. Two, I don’t think the tech had evolved enough. And three, we’ve hit a point where consumers are simply demanding it. So just like any other sector of the economy, we’re finding that the power is in the consumer’s hands. You don’t go to a bank anymore and wait in line to talk to a teller. That’s the same transformation that’s finally happening in health care as well. You have all these tools at your disposal and you sort of ask yourself, well why in the world can’t I just call my doctor on video or see them in a much more efficient way? Why do I have to go through that old school process of waiting in line and setting up an appointment when I want it to be on demand? So health care is finally moving to that on-demand nature just like any other industry.

And just one question to follow up on that. You said that, you’re right, I in fact don’t go to the bank and see a teller. My bank is pretty much fully virtual. USAA, there are no branches. But I would think that a number of the potential patients would be of a generation in which maybe those are the people going to tellers. For them, are they technologically savvy enough? Or is it a family member that kind of turns them on to telemedicine?

It’s interesting, there’s multiple areas where telemedicine is growing and I think historically, where it started, because if you think about health care it’s often older people who need it. And I think for the last decade or more, telemedicine has been used primarily for highly acute use cases. So you’re having a stroke and you’re in a rural area where there’s not a neurologist or a dermatologist or a OBGYN or something, and this became a way to use technology to help you get the services you need, right? Think about all these soldiers that have come home from the middle east, from things in Afghanistan or other things, they often have PTSD issues, but they very commonly live in very rural areas where there aren’t psychologists around. And so in these high acute use cases, it was very simple to set up video links and start to see patients. Now as we sort of move into 2015 and the Uber economy, another thrust has been that the younger generation just says, why in the world am I waiting to see my doctor when I can just go online and push a button and see a doctor? So those are two different areas that are driving it. But they’re both sort of converging. So both what we call urgent care, which is actually not as urgent or scary – the home users. And the acute care, which is the much more scary, ‘I’m having a stroke.’ Those have converged and we’re seeing telemedicine be relevant across all kinds of use cases.

Right. And it’s easy to see from a kind of top-down or bottoms-up analysis how this market is really growing pretty steadily. [5:00] When did Avizia start and can you talk about, you started it, from what I understand, with a couple colleagues and you all have maybe complimentary skill sets. When did you get going with Avizia?

So we officially incorporated Avizia in, I think it was April of 2013. But the company itself had its roots long before that. And we sort of have an interesting origination story in that many of us were at a company called Tandberg, a little Norwegian company that was the world leader in video conferencing. And five years ago Cisco Systems acquired Tandberg and as they sort of merged these teams together there was a division whose job it was to take these video conferencing devices and make them useful outside of boardrooms. And it was a very small division and yet as we combined these two teams that had overlaps, I was looking for a new opportunity. And I saw this little group and said, hey that looks interesting. I’m very passionate about tech.

I asked to take over this fledgling group that was very very small, 1 million, 2 million tops in revenue. And I spent three years under a Cisco umbrella, building the team, building some products and building something interesting. And after three years time hit this inflection point; we had some cool products, we still weren’t… at a multi-billion dollar company like Cisco, this isn’t necessarily something that they’re going to be passionate about. And as we had decided to focus in on health care, health care is a tough area. There’s a lot of regulation, it takes a lot of love and care and feeding to make something grow, I saw a window of opportunity. So we approached Cisco and sort of negotiated a deal to spin this out as a new entity. So two years ago we did that and thus Avizia was born. So it was an interesting start in that we found something small that we cared about, we were passionate about, we sort of grew it a little bit internally, and then found a win-win scenario where for Cisco, this was a great opportunity to let something grow with more dedication and investment by people like us. And on our side it was a business. It was an idea that we could drive. So I think as an entrepreneur there’s a lot of areas that ideas can come from. For us, this was something that was an opportunity that we seized and made into something bigger.

Right. That makes a lot of sense. And you started it with, was it two other people came with you?

Yeah I have two co-founders, Luke and Cory. We sort of have different skill sets. One takes a traditional COO role, does a lot of the finances, the legal, the HR, et cetera. Cory, he’s our CTO, runs all the technology, our engineering, both on the software and hardware side. And I take the CEO role, which is primarily around fundraising and strategy and driving marketing and sales.

Right. Yes that makes a lot of sense. Let’s talk about your own personal path for a little bit. Where you are today I think, especially with the origination story with Tandberg, Cisco, now Avizia, it all kind of ties together and makes sense. Was there anything in your childhood or high school that made you think you would, at some point start a business? Or what were you like as a kid and a youngster?

I was definitely a big nerd. But I think that’s a common trait in today’s tech economy. I was always very passionate about technology, and whether that was computers or the precursor to the Internet, these BBS systems or things, and I was fortunate that my parents helped sort of cultivate some of those passions. But I always loved tech, and to take things apart and get involved with them and see how we could make them better. And it sort of was ideal timing to be in a generation where we live in a product-centric world. You look at devices like the iPhone or the personal computer or other things that have evolved to a place where they’re very consumer-centric. And I was always very passionate about that. I wanted to find an area where I could similarly roll up my sleeves and play with tech on a daily basis. So in that respect I sort of eventually moved into my dream job. I mean it was a long process to get to that point but I definitely had a passion for tech when I was 8 or 9 or 10. Very early on.

Can you kind of talk us through some of the decisions that led up to, you said Tandberg, Cisco, Avizia, but right out of college what you were doing?

You think of entrepreneurs as being 20 year olds that just decide that they don’t like school and they go and sit in their parents garage and go invent something. I think my process was a little different than that. I got an undergrad in accounting, I worked at Dell for a long time in corporate finance and then in consumer marketing. I happened to be there during sort of the heyday of growth in late ’99, early 2000s. And again I was in a high-tech, fast growing market and really loved it. I went back and got my MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. I focused on strategy. I ended up leaving there to go work at McKinsey and Company as a strategy consultant, which was a fantastic role in that I got a chance to be exposed to a number of industries, primarily at larger corporations. But to be able to see lots of high power executives and how they operated and how they built teams and managed their decisions was very transformational for me. And then I moved into Tandberg and Cisco and so on.

But for me, that process to get to the point where I could start Avizia, was extremely helpful because I had had exposure to marketing and to finance and to accounting and to strategy and to consumer industries and to tech industries and to service industries and other things. So I felt like, it many ways I was very fortunate to check a wide variety of kind of cross-functional duties, before I got to the point of starting a company. So that changes your mentality. As a 22 year old in your garage, you’ve never had to experience laying people off or how important culture is or ‘how do you build an industry leading project management team’. But the way my career worked out, by the time I had gotten to that point I felt like I had been exposed to almost every function that I would have to build as a CEO, which was very fortunate for me.

Right. And as you said, I think some of the business of consumer successes, and the kind of narrative of the ultra young founder is definitely fodder for some of the tech media. I think having seen some analyses of the amount of value that’s created by businesses for people that have actually grown businesses before, I think it’s sort of the other part of the story. And part of the effort here on Numbers and Narrative is to tell the multitude of different founder stories.

One thing I’m curious about, given what you said about after your MBA being a management consultant at McKinsey, it’s easy for me to see how someone with that kind of management consulting background, once a company is now where Avizia is, more a growth company than a startup, how now you’re so well placed. But talk about day one, and I realize it was sort of a unique situation, but now you have Avizia, it really is a startup, and you have to grow it from scratch having not grown something in your own umbrella from scratch. Obviously you’d been at a number of businesses and grown this new business unit.

But what was it like in April 2013 for those first few months trying to get going?

Yeah. You know the way that we originated the company, sort of spinning off with a few existing products and a few existing customers, is also unique. It’s like being pushed out on the freeway. It’s not like most startups where you sort of have a little bit of time to scale, we build a little platform with one customer and start to grow up. In our case, we started with 10 people that were largely of a product management engineering background, and on day one we knew we had orders that could come in anywhere around the world. So for us to get up to speed was something that we had to do very very quickly. And we didn’t have a sales team, we had no operations or supply chain. We sourced stuff globally. We didn’t have any marketing function to speak of. All the things that were provided in a broader Cisco context were things we had to create. And so when we started it was sort of an immediate, ‘oh crap’ moment, where I needed a sales team, I needed partners, I needed a call center, I needed a distribution warehouse to ship gear, I needed to sign arrangements with all of our suppliers globally. And I had to literally do that in about a month’s time.

Wow.

The good news is, if I did that there were customers waiting. Right? But the bad news is, just like any startup, capital is scarce, you don’t know all the people that you need and you have to move very quickly. But it was fun for us and it sort of set a tone very early on around a sense of urgency, which is a key part of our culture. These aren’t things I can wait six months to do, I need it tomorrow. Let’s figure out how to do it. And I’m fortunate to have really good co-founders and really great employees that have that mindset and we made it happen.

And in that month, defining the culture, like you said, under this need and stress to do so in month one, I understand the necessity there, but how did you think about screening new hires that you knew you needed their functional expertise right now, but thinking about that in the broader context of, are these the people that are going to be with me in 2 years, 4 years and beyond?

That’s an area where I think we’re different, by virtue of being a little bit older as an entrepreneur. I think a 20-year-old kid out of high school is not thinking about culture. Or in their mind culture is, this is a cool place to work we wear shorts and it’s really casual. Well that’s an element of culture but it’s not really culture. And as a management consultant, having worked for companies like Southwest or Wal-Mart or Hallmark cards, companies that had culture as a strategic enabler, and having seen that from day one, it was a very critical part of our DNA. So the implication is, when you’re sitting across from someone you’re thinking, I absolutely need a VP of sales tomorrow, it becomes really hard to say, but this person are they going to support our values? Are they going to support our culture? And we decided as a management team from the very beginning that we couldn’t afford the downside of hiring someone who wasn’t a fit. Even though, as I told you, when you have a month to get up to speed, you feel like you want to make some of those trade-offs. Instead we just agreed that we would take it. I would be the head of sales as long as I needed to. It was literally almost a whole year before I hired a VP of sales.

Is that right?

I mean even though I didn’t know a whole lot about sales, I passed over many very qualified and great people who, on paper, were perfect for the job. But they didn’t fit our culture, because we felt like, when you start thinking about how hard it is as a small company to retain individuals and get them moving in the same direction, that was something that we overinvested on, and it pays dividends today. I mean as a small company you’re always trying to get noticed, you want people to come in, and I feel very fortunate. By the time I interview someone now, we’ve grown from 10 people to almost 60 in 2 years – by the time I interview someone, say a sales rep or director of customer success, they’ve talked to 5 to 10 other people in my organization. And by the time they’ve talked to me they’re sort of begging to sign. I don’t feel like I have to sell them because every person has told them, I love this place. The people are ethical, the people work so hard. There’s this friendship culture and servant-leadership and whatever it may be. That’s become a strategic enabler for us and I’m often surprised at the caliber of people we’ve been able to recruit, being the size of company that we are. It’s much easier to find someone today than it was in the early days. But I think it’s because we invested in true culture, which I think for most small companies is something you do when you’re five years old and grown up, not something you do in month two.

Right, right. Running from the very start. For sure. So one thing that you, at Avizia and as the CEO, did relatively much earlier than other startups, is you acquired another company, or merged, acquired, a company that was called Emerge.MD. Can you talk about why that was important? Both how it meshes well with Avizia and why the acquisition as opposed to just a partnership?

So it’s an interesting one. Strategically it was a no brainer. When we acquired Emerge.MD we were primarily a hardware company, they were primarily a software company. It just seemed like peanut butter and jelly.

Delicious.

Yeah exactly. What’s interesting though is I think people are always very hesitant to make moves like that. They think they’re going to get diluted, they feel like this is going to change my capital structure and they’re almost afraid to swing for the fences. And we decided very early on that if we were going to fail, we wanted to fail fast. And in our world, telemedicine has taken forever to grow, but we feel like we’re at the inflection point now, where it’s going to grow very very fast. [20:00] And when it turns the corner and has that super exponential growth, we felt like if we were behind at that point we would lose. And so as a company it’s been part of our DNA that we needed to get there quicker, and this was an opportunity to fail fast. If it wasn’t going to work, it wasn’t going to work. But why not swing for the fences. So I think it’s very unusual for a company the size that we were to go ahead and make an acquisition immediately. And they were a similar sized small company, and I think we both just saw that the synergy that came from two 15-people organizations are a lot more powerful than the sum of the parts. And it worked out very well for us. But again, as we talked about culture before, some of those things sort of created a framework that let it be successful.

Right. And many of those people are not based in this office, is that right? You now have multiple, how many offices does Avizia have? And I’m sure you have sales teams that are throughout as well.

We’re interesting in that regard because out of 60 people I think 20 are here at headquarters. So literally 1/3 of the company. We have an office in Scottsdale, AZ, we have an office in Bangalore, India and we have people literally scattered all around the globe. We’re fortunate to come of age and have part of our business be video conferencing. So when you walk into my office you see literally screens everywhere.

I can attest to that. It’s hard to even get a…it’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…there are 8? Maybe more? It is full of equipment of that sort.

Yeah and this is something that we eat, drink, and live video. If our business is about providing video for patients and doctors it’s something that we need to understand. So the second we hire a new employee, no matter who you are, if you’re a customer support rep if you’re sales if you’re an executive, you get a video unit on your desk, you get the full collaboration toolset. And that lets us collaborate in a way that most companies couldn’t even dream of. And it also gives us a very broad talent pool to pull from. If my best VP of sales is in Colorado, let’s hire someone in Colorado. It doesn’t have to be in the DC-metro area. If a really good developer or product manager or solution architect is somewhere else, great. We don’t have a problem with that. And because so many of our employees live in that environment, they understand how to make it work and we have the items in place to make it succeed.

And we’re talking about video conferencing, video collaboration, toolsets for everyone on their desk. I think a lot of people think about, yeah I used Google Hangout or Skype video that can be patchy, maybe you use it but then you turn the video off and just have the audio. It looks, just from [being here in] your office, that you’re using, there is a difference between the free stuff that a company might use, versus you’re making it important for growing the business.

Absolutely. And obviously we’re biased, we came from Cisco we came from Tandberg, we came from companies whose sole focus is building very high-quality, high-definition devices. I think the difference is, video and collaboration are technologies that you can’t dabble in. You can’t say, oh well we have one Google Hangout room and people use it every once in a while. For us, the benefits are when every single person is literally connected. So if you walk through my office at any one time you’ll see 5 out of 15 people on a video call, right then. And we actually don’t use phones. It is literally a part of our DNA that the second you want to talk to someone you dial them on video. And it’s a much richer forum of collaboration than voice. On voice we multi-task, we do other things, we’re drifting. Whereas with video you’re forced to look someone in the eye, be very focused. And so our meetings are very quick, it’s sort of like being able to snap my fingers and have anyone in the company in my office instantly. We can make ad-hoc decisions very quickly because of that underlying technology.

Right. I think, probably I and pretty much every listener out there can attest that sometimes when you’re on just an audio call or a conference call with 3 or 5 or 8 people, you’re not getting everyone’s full attention. That is for sure.

But it’s also a way for us to eat our own dog food. Right? If I’m trying to explain to a doctor or a patient how you use these technologies, the fact that I use it everyday, that I know how that system’s architecture works, when I’m explaining that to a customer it makes us believable. This isn’t some future mystery tech that no one understands. It’s something that I have to use. And so it makes us much more credible when we talk to potential customers.

Right, right. As you said, telemedicine has been around for years, it really is, it looks like, turning a big corner on hyper growth. Can you talk about, let’s talk a bit about the Avizia product, product suite, and the market right now? My understanding is primarily health care for Avizia right now. But can you talk about, what is it that you’re providing for hospitals, health care systems, others that Avizia sells to?

So every hospital is a little bit different. They all have different use cases they’re trying to make happen. And we try to have a technology stack that can enable any of those. So our platform, our products, as I said we have 3 main areas. We have hardware, software and services. On the hardware side it’s various medical devices; these are FDA, class-1 registered devices. They take the form of telemedicine carts, carts that you wheel around with battery-power and screens and high-definition cameras that are very mobile for use in emergency departments. We have various software clients that you can put on your iPad, your iPhone, your PC to enable video consultations with, say, a doctor, who’s at home, from their office. We have secure text messaging client for connecting doctors more than anything, so they can find and collaborate with their colleagues very quickly to bring in the best answers. So we sort of have, on the top layer, all these different, we call them end points. Ways to connect.

Then we have a variety of software for us that’s what we call work flow. This is all the things that sort of take you through a doctor’s visit. So in a tele-stroke context where a patient is having a stoke, you have a way virtually check them into a virtual waiting room, to assign the right doctor, to start a consult. You know when you see your doctor they’re furiously typing notes in on their computer. It’s all those same things virtually. I’m going to do a NIH stroke scale on you. I’m going to figure out where you’re at. We have that documentation built into our platform for various ailments and specialties, whether that’s dermatology or behavioral help psychology, whether that’s language translation services, et cetera. So that workflow is a key part of our solution stack, and what we primarily acquired in this company we brought in.

And then to round that out we have a series of professional services. So these are implementation teams to go set up the software when you sign a contract. They are maintenance contracts and support personnel to help fix the hardware gear if there’s any issues. We’re starting to get more and more involved in the consulting services, because many hospitals don’t know what it’s like to have a telemedicine program. What are the key metrics we should have? Who do I need to involve in this? We’re starting to enable that. So we have this broad technology stack, and then depending on the hospital they have a different entry point. So in many cases it’s tele-stroke and I need a way to support rural patients with a neurologist. In other cases they want to do what we call virtual visits: A mom at home that has a kid with a sore throat and just wants to talk to a doctor through a web browser. Those are very different use cases to support, but our technology platform can do both ends of the spectrum. So we find that hospitals enter in at different points, but over time they start with one service line or specialty, and then they want to add more and more, which is good for us and good for our business.

And you talked about, just to hear the breadth of use cases, workflows that Avizia supports – everything from stroke, mental behavioral health, a child at home who has a cough or sore throat. The health care world is so broad, there’s so many subparts and potential use cases. How did you think about either focus versus breadth over these past two years since Avizia started? I mean did you start with just one use case and you’ve built them? Or did you say, hey we can do any of them and kind of built it on the fly?

So when we started the company one of the observations we had, back in the Cisco days, was vendors would show up to a hospital and they would throw various pieces of technology over the fence, and they would leave it to the hospital to incorporate it. And that was one of the reasons that telemedicine was struggling to gain adoption. Too much of the burden was being placed on them. So one of our theses for starting the company was we wanted to be an end to end vendor and provide fully integrated solutions; Hardware that worked with software that worked with our services, et cetera. And so in that way we did have a breadth that we did want to have from the get go. On the flip side, as a startup you’re always short on resources. You can’t do everything. So we were very clear on areas that we couldn’t scale into. For example we don’t provide doctors. There are people in our industry who have built their model on having doctors. Whether you’re a startup that has lactation specialists. That added a layer of complexity that we felt like was outside of our range of expertise. And so you have to find ways to prune the tree, and then you have to find ways that you’re going to be deep and be an expert. And so for us, the technology was interrelated enough, it’s actually not all that different to build a dermatology workflow than it is a stroke workflow. Yes they’re different questions, but the act of a patient who has a need and is with a doctor over video, is the same.

And because you elected to focus and not have the docs as part of your offering, like you said… if they’re asking questions whether it’s a stroke or something more mundane like a child with a sore throat…

The platform is the same.

The platform is the same. Got it.

So it gave us an area to be broad in and yet ways to narrow the focus because we don’t have unlimited resources. And we need to be able to really deliver on the areas we’re doubling down on.

Right. And have you seen the technology itself, even in these past two years, kind of shift and grow in its capability?

Absolutely. We do a lot with Cisco, Cisco technology. We came from Cisco, it’s part of our DNA. But in the video marketplace there’s always a number of new technologies, new codex, new platforms to use. So we want to be where our customers are. They might use, think about a Mac world versus a PC world. We can’t just say we’re only going to focus on Mac users. We’d be cutting off part of the marketplace. So for us, we try to look ahead and be where our customers are and incorporate different technologies. Some of them want to use different secure texting technologies on different platforms, so we have to cover that. Some of them use different video codex, so it could be Cisco, it could be Polycom, it could be, there’s a company called Vidyo that provides these. We aim to support all of those. And what that’s done for us is it’s expanded the marketplace because when we started maybe we were in only 1/3 of markets, 1/3 of customers because of the technology platforms they’ve selected. As our platform has become more open, it’s let us start to play in all of those areas. So we try to stay broad in that regard, so that we’re sort of vendor-neutral and have ways to focus on different areas. And that’s given us a way to participate with a broader customer set.

And on the security point, we recently interviewed Will Ackerly who’s the technical founder of a local company called Virtru, which secures digital communications on behalf of, you know, HIPAA Compliance or a host of other use cases as well. It seems like security is kind of everyone’s problem, the hospital, the health care and all of the vendors. How have you had to be thoughtful about making that part of your offering or partnering with others?

It’s huge for us. If you think about HIPAA Compliance or HITECH compliance, these are strict rules governing patient health information, PHI. We have PHI on our servers, so we have to be very mindful of that. Part of why we use technologies like Cisco is because they have the encryption, they have the higher security, they have the things that you wouldn’t normally find in a free tool. I could go download, I could use FaceTime on my iPhone but that’s not the same thing when I’m talking about patients and patient data. So we have to set a pretty high bar around security in the solutions that we provide. But it’s definitely something that we look at. These are FDA, class-1 medical devices. Making sure that they’re safe, that they comply with international safety and health care regulations is a big deal for us. We’ve already sold products to 35 different countries. Figuring out what the medical requirements of Canada or Saudi Arabia are, are very different. So it’s an area we’ve had to develop expertise in pretty quickly.

Right. And speaking of having to develop expertise quickly, with several dozen, I think you said 60 people at Avizia these days, but selling in to 35 countries? I mean help us understand, you have a partner ecosystem I would imagine that helps you with that?

We do. As a startup there’s a lot of ways to get broader scale. If you think about our software dev teams, we have some people that are in the house, we have some people that we use as contractors. It lets us have a much broader group of people. It’s the same thing in our sales model. So we have a number of distribution partners we use globally. We’ve got over 50 partners around the world and that lets us do deals in places like Australia or the Middle East or Western Europe or wherever it may be because we have agents of the company who are already selling technology that’s similar to what we have and they can say, ‘oh we stock Avizia products as well. You’re looking at telemedicine? Great.’ That’s been a great way for us to expand. So we do some things direct, we do some things indirect, but it’s given us a much broader scale than we would have otherwise.

Great, that makes sense too. We’ve talked about the hyper growth, and that as a challenge. But right now what are the big challenges for you in terms of staying focused, and what’s next? It seems like there’s so many things you could do to grow Avizia.

So we have a term internally called T-Day, telemedicine day. We talk about how in World War II there was this event called D-Day that was the turning point in the war, they stormed the beaches of Normandy and it kind of took off from there. We believe that there’s a day in the future where telemedicine is going to take off and our job is to sprint as fast as humanly possible to be ready for that event. And so that changed your decision making process. The reason we acquired Emerge.MD, we could have built that platform on our own but that would’ve taken 2 years. So yes we give up some things. You dilute your equity, you bring in other players, but we save time.

So we’re always looking at ways to shave time out of innovation cycle. We’re constantly looking at companies that we should partner with or acquire. We’re constantly evaluating new technologies that we want to be in. and we’re also pruning some of those things out.

If you try to do too much you’re not going to be as successful. For example we looked at, for a while, should we build a device that sits in the home? I’d love to but there’s a lot of competitors in that space. So let’s instead focus on making our software more efficient, or whatever that decision may be. But as an executive team we’re ruthless about making sure that we can deliver on the things that we’re doing in a very fast way. So we have a spirited culture of debate to make sure we focus on the most essential things. But in our world, as you asked, we’re actively pursuing both acquisitions that we should take, ways to raise greater amount of money, to accelerate our progress, because we view this as a time bound opportunity and if we miss that moment we miss our T-Day and we can’t scale.

And I think as a non-expert in telemedicine, I see the rapid growth of Avizia and, like you said, you have some competitors. You hear telemedicine a lot, it could look from the outside like T-Day might be upon us now. What are the things that you see to take this growth in telemedicine to this T-Day and beyond level?

It’s always about resources I think. We were very pragmatic about the when and how of raising money. In the early stages of our company we opted to focus on venture, sorry to not do venture capital, to focus instead on smaller angel investments because we needed to build a platform that was ready to scale. So we did a number of rounds with local angel groups that were very supportive of us. But as we hit a point where now we have a platform, now we have a story, you have to sort of switch gears. Now we need to pour gasoline on the fire as quick as possible and that changes who you interact with. So we’re currently working with a group of large institutional investors because now it’s not about raising a million it’s about raising 10 or 15 million because the platform exists. [40:00] In our world, if we had done that prematurely before we really had a story to tell, I think companies can take in more than they’re ready to chew off and waste cycles. So we’ve tried to be very pragmatic about that and yet when the time comes, to seize the opportunity. And so that will be a gaining factor for us in enabling that scaling as fast as possible.

But you do see the telemedicine market itself just hitting that real massive growth?

It’s definitely hitting its stride. I mean if you look in the marketplace, there was a big IPO last week and that’s often the flare being shot up for everyone. So a company called Teladoc, that’s not necessarily a competitor for us but they just had their IPO last week and it was massively successful, it was up 50 percent on day one. And as soon as those events start to happen your phone starts ringing off the hook. Investors say, wow this is real. But what’s interesting for us is finding those investors that were already in the sector before it was cool.

Before it was cool, right right. They saw the signal before these new folks did.

That’s right.

That makes a ton of sense. And you know, as Avizia continues to grow, I feel like we’ve talked a lot about the company itself, the product, your work culture, the unique aspects of being video and video collaboration experts to enable you. Let’s take it back for a minute back to another thread that I thought was really interesting which was, Mike Baird, as a sort of seasoned professional as startup founder. And you have a family. What’s it been like to be a startup founder at a promising, growing company, with a family too?

I think it’s different than most people think of. You think the best time to do something is when you’re most flexible right? You don’t have a lot of bills, you don’t have kids you’re supporting, et cetera. I have 5 beautiful children. Across the 3 cofounders we have 14 kids. So if you do the math…and what’s interesting about that is two things. One, there’s sort of a greater pressure around, ‘this needs to be a really good idea.’ This needs to be something we really believe in. I’ve got two daughters that are in high school now, they’ll be hitting college soon. I don’t really have room for air. So that means we’re very motivated, I think by that. It’s been fun for us to use them as almost a target market.

My family is very supportive, they love the technology, they wear Avizia t-shirts, they talk about it to their friends. But what’s perhaps the greatest thing for me is, you’ll find in your podcast I’m sure that almost every entrepreneur talks about passion. That’s a common thread across all entrepreneurs. For us as founders, our passion is our families. So with 5 kids I’m an above average user of the health care system in the country today. So when I look at providing a world where my kids have access to fantastic health care, that motivates me in a way that at 20 years old I wouldn’t have been thinking about. And it’s also extremely impactful when I work with physicians or with hospitals, because I have a story to tell. When I’m talking to potential customers about our tools and I can talk about how my daughter had this rash and I was able to use our platform to take a picture of it and talk to a doctor online and do this before she gets on the bus to high school in the morning, that resonates in a way that someone who hasn’t experienced that just wouldn’t have that seasoning, wouldn’t have that experience. And people know that we’re very serious, this is something personal to us. And it’s interesting, as we talked about culture and other things, it’s a thread that extends throughout the company. Almost every candidate that I talk to, when I ask them why they wasn’t to be at Avizia, they start talking about a personal family, health care scenario that impacted them. ‘My grandma had a stroke and I wish there was a way to help her out. My wife has allergies and I wish there was a way to help them out.’ Because it’s something that touches us all very deeply, it helps us put ourselves in the shoes of our ultimate customer, who’s not necessarily the hospital. It’s the patient. So we have, as one of our values, patient care connected. How do we put the patient at the center of everything that we do? And I think having a family, having that as my background, makes me be laser-focused on, ‘how do I improve their lives?’ So it becomes natural to innovate around that topic.

Yeah. That’s great. And I think that’s inspirational to many people who think about, there’s no kind of right way to start something. And certainly if you have a connection and passion for something, growing it out of that is wonderful. As we wrap up here in the last couple minutes, I’m curious. I’m based in the DC area, as are you and the Avizia headquarters. What has it been like to grow a technology company here and not in, I think most people would think of and for good reason, kind of Silicon Valley and some cases New York City? Maybe less so for the type of your business that you’re in. But what’s it been like growing a business in this area?

It’s interesting. We talk about this all the time. In some ways you think life would be easier if you were in Silicon Valley. There’s more investors, there’s lots of talent, et cetera. Yet we actually look at DC as being one of the reasons for our success. And I think of that in a couple of ways. Number one, it’s a more tight knit, smaller investment community. I feel like we’ve been able, I feel like the companies here are so helpful, the investor groups are so helpful. They’ve sort of brought us under their wing and they really try hard to help you out, which I love. I feel like in some ways it’s an advantage in that, and I’ve seen this in other startups on the west coast, I feel like the employees are much more transitory, they’re not as committed. They’re always hopping to the next big thing. Whereas out here, when I hire someone they’re really in it to win it which I like. In some ways I have less competition for talent, which is a good thing.

I think in our particular area, DC being sort of the hope of regulatory is important. So if you think about the American Telemedicine Association is headquartered here in DC. When we work with the state federation medical boards or the American Medical Association, all these things converge in Washington. So in some ways, to work on a business that actually has, at its heart, health care policy, it’s very helpful to be in the DC area. I also think that the investors here are a little more patient. I think they’re much more long term focused. I feel like in a market that involves health care, health care does nothing fast. You’re not going to turn this thing around in 6 months. It’s nice to have that mentality and I see that in the investors that we work with. They settle in for the long haul to help us, which I just love. I feel like it’s been a fantastic place to start a company and we’re really thankful for the support of the investors we’ve had in the area.

Great. Well for patients that want to make sure they can get access to Avizia for hospitals, health care systems, what’s the best way to learn more about Avizia?

Certainly go to our website, www.avizia.com. There’s lots of places to request a demo, request sales contact, et cetera. That’s probably the easiest way. And we’ll get one of our many sales managers in touch with you. Or we do webinars and various things on a regular basis to educate customers. And we’re always happy to help. This is our passion. We want to change health care and make it easier and better for everybody, so we’d be happy to talk with anyone, anytime.

Great. Well thank you so much for your time today Mike and it’s been great to be with you.

Thank you.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Telehealth Training from a Doctor’s Perspective]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=3583 2016-01-27T20:27:58Z 2015-07-07T18:01:15Z Some medical professionals have preconceived notions about practicing medicine online, but before making a decision it’s important to listen to those who have actually participated in telehealth.

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Some medical professionals have preconceived notions about practicing medicine online, but before making a decision it’s important to listen to those who have actually participated in telehealth. All physicians who practice on American Well’s platform receive extensive training prior to actually seeing patients, including training about technology, clinical protocols and emergency situations. To give you a better idea of what telehealth training entails, we asked one of our doctors to walk through her own experience. Lauralee Yalden, MD, FAAFP, is a board-certified Family Medicine physician who joined Online Care Group (the physician-owned medical group that staffs American Well’s Amwell and other customers’ platforms) in November of 2012. Below she shares her telehealth training and practicing experience:

There are some doctors out there, and I believe that number is decreasing, that believe all patient care must be done in person. I wanted to be part of a new frontier and embrace a new technology. I also wanted to help expand the reach of my family practice while helping to improve patient access to doctors in a convenient, safe, affordable way. And lastly, I wanted a way to practice and spend more time at home with my family.

This amazing opportunity came along to work for Online Care Group. I was really impressed by the vision, drive and teamwork. The telehealth training took a few days. As one of the first doctors hired, OCG sent a trainer to the house to help get everything set up and to really gave me one-on-one instructions. We doctors practiced on each other—just like in residency—to get a feel for the system and what practicing online would be like.

Once training was complete we were ready to practice online. It was like your first day anywhere—you never know who is going to be connecting and what their chief concern might be. But it’s exactly like being in the office. There is a bit of a learning curve getting used to the platform, tailoring your history taking, and modifying the physical exam to get the information you need to make a good and safe medical decision. Now that I’m more than two years in and have treated well over 2,500 patients, I feel completely at home and prefer practicing family medicine online. 

Since my experience, the training has grown and expanded with the technology to include the kiosks and various regular updates to the system. Now, us “old-timer” doctors, along with the physician services team, mentor the new staff to give a very comprehensive training program. The Network Operations Center is available 24/7 to answer any technical questions we may have during our shifts. Customer support is available for any issues patients might have. There is a nice ebb and flow to the workday and it’s a great comfort having such excellent and knowledgeable support staff ready 24/7.  

I’ve been taking calls from home since my medical internship; it’s just something family medicine doctors are well-trained to do. The addition of the video really enhances your reach and helps to better understand the patients concerns using both verbal and non-verbal cues—it’s a great diagnostic aid. Patients love being able to reach a physician within minutes from work, from home, on when you’re on vacation. 

I also really enjoy working together with the doctors and support staff online in our virtual practice. It’s just such a pleasant and professional group stretching across the country. Over our “virtual water cooler” we remotely talk about the practice, our experiences with the patients, technology and how we can all work together to optimize patient care. The American Well platform is easy to learn and use, and is becoming more integrated with each upgrade.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Infographic – Telehealth Index: 2015 Physician Survey]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=3445 2016-01-27T20:27:27Z 2015-06-22T15:22:25Z A snapshot of the results from the 2015 Physician Survey.

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Physician_Survey_InfographicV2_Large

Want to know more? Click here to download our eBook “American Well’s Telehealth Index: 2015 Physician Survey.”

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[A Blue Ocean Strategy for the Medical Mall]]> https://www.americanwell.com/a-blue-ocean-strategy-for-the-medical-mall/ 2018-07-19T20:57:40Z 2015-06-15T00:00:00Z In his latest blog entry, Dr. Alan Pitt reflects on one of his favorite books and questions why healthcare has been so slow to adopt its powerful strategy. To summarize, “blue oceans” offer value through innovation and by creating relatively open markets with limited competition. Medicine is transitioning from reimbursement based on commoditized volume to value-based care. In […]

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In his latest blog entry, Dr. Alan Pitt reflects on one of his favorite books and questions why healthcare has been so slow to adopt its powerful strategy. To summarize, “blue oceans” offer value through innovation and by creating relatively open markets with limited competition. Medicine is transitioning from reimbursement based on commoditized volume to value-based care. In contrast, “red oceans” are markets where competitors scrabble to offer commodities with little or no real differentiation; the red represents the blood in the water from this fierce competition for the shrinking opportunity. Unfortunately, healthcare is fraught with red oceans.

To recall the ocean metaphor at the heart of the strategy, “red oceans” are typical markets where competitors scrabble to offer commodities with little or no real differentiation; the red represents the blood in the water from this fierce competition for the shrinking opportunity. In contrast, “Blue Oceans” offer value through innovation, creating relatively open markets with limited competition. As previously discussed, medicine is transitioning from reimbursement based on commoditized volume to value based care. Unfortunately, healthcare is fraught with red oceans.

Maximizing “VSD”: the Virtual Patient and Telemedicine

Although there are many ways one might consider improving VSD, including room design, personnel considerations, and record availability, I’d like to focus on an evolving opportunity: virtualizing patients. When electronic medical records (EHR) replaced paper records for most physicians, space requirements actually decreased. This makes sense. Bits and bytes are much smaller than piles of paper. In like manner, the easiest way to further decrease space requirements might be to “shrink” the patients, i.e., have some patients never come to the clinic at all. What if the typical practice became a mix of in person and virtual visits?

This idea is not far fetched. In fact, telemedicine is already being integrated into more traditional practices. For example, questions from patients who want standard advice or test results, or to be reassured that what they have isn’t cancer or some other nasty health problem, are handled over the web with increasing frequency and efficiency. Now this new model is being applied to other inefficient practices. Think about all those people clogging up a surgeon’s office. Wouldn’t it be better to evaluate them online and verify that the patient needs a procedure before they come to the office? Or how about those follow-up visits after surgery? Do they really have to take place in person? And what about a case that requires collaboration with a subspecialist? Wouldn’t most patients prefer to see a doctor who integrated the visit with a subspecialist into the same appointment with the GP? In all these scenarios, doctors benefit, not only because they get paid for these “digital” patients but also because, in many cases, the in-person visit is actually a money loser. And patients benefit too: whereas typical follow-up visits may require only minutes of a doctor’s time, they can amount to half a day of lost productivity in travel and wait time for the patient.

Telemedicine and Collaboration: Part of the Fabric of a Building

“Virtualizing” the patient through telemedicine and facilitated collaboration is the wave of the future in healthcare, but discussing innovation with individual doctors or small practices is a challenge. Each practice requires significant education—the sales, marketing and costs to install the necessary technology would be a non-starter for most entrepreneurs. However, what I am proposing is that telemedicine/collaboration becomes part of the fabric of the building, a value-added feature for the tenant. Like other utilities, facilitated collaboration, resulting in optimization of workflow, could be part of the cost of the lease. The building owner could then offer a better product, with higher margins, to the medical/healthcare community (just as the owners of sustainable “smart buildings” now deliver better services and functionality).

Visit Dr. Pitt’s blog At the Intersection of Technology and Health to read the complete article.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Think There Are Still Problems with Telemedicine?]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=3208 2016-01-27T20:29:21Z 2015-06-08T13:55:27Z It’s only a matter of time before telehealth is broadly adopted and just a more convenient, cost effective way for doctors to care for patients. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as telehealth becomes a dominant way to practice good medicine.

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Back in 2008 when American Well was founded, there was some skepticism as to the impact telemedicine – and the newly minted “telehealth” – could realistically have on the industry, and the benefits for health systems and their physicians and patients. Legitimate questions about technology, security and usability largely drove these concerns. But over the years, as comfort with technology (including the near-ubiquitous adoption of smartphones and tablets) and wireless broadband improved, the landscape for telehealth became more fertile. Coupled with payment reform and the evolution of next-generation telehealth technologies, these top-level concerns and barriers have largely been erased. However, we’re not naïve enough to think there are no more hesitations.

Early adopters of telehealth were health plans and employers that traditionally focused on online urgent care use cases. This simple, isolated transaction delivers value in the form of time and cost savings to patients by giving them immediate access to clinicians, but barely scratches the surface on the real impact that telehealth can have for health systems and the $3.8 trillion industry broadly. Just in the past couple of years – and specifically with the recent release of AW8 – these second tier concerns related to widespread integration are rapidly eroding, as described below.

Problem: Limited physician mobility

It was never realistic to have a “launch center” for telehealth, or even have it only accessible from a physician’s computer, like the old point-to-point hub-and-spoke telemedicine technologies of the past. The average doctor isn’t sitting at a desk; he or she is visiting with patients and navigating the hospital or office. Telehealth technology needs to be as mobile as doctors themselves.

Solution: With our new provider mobile app doctors can now carry their telehealth practice in their pocket, and see patients when they’re available from their smartphone or tablet. They have everything they need to practice telehealth in the palm of their hands, including being able to schedule appointments, review patient records, perform documentation, prescribe medication, send secure messages and have live, face-to-face video visits.

Problem: Limited physician availability

With traditional telehealth, it was necessary for a physician to block off time in order to see patients online, but reserving an hour or two each day to practice telehealth simply isn’t feasible when attending to patients in-person. Bridging the gap between brick-and-mortar medicine and telehealth is essential to efficiently utilize clinical resources.

Solution: With AW8’s AskMe status, doctors can make themselves available to receive telehealth requests from patients, but then simply accept or decline them based on their current availability. If the doctor has ten free minutes—the average time of an online appointment—he or she can accept the visit. If the physician is busy, American Well’s patented brokerage system simply pings another available doctor within that specific physician network straight away. This type of availability management allows health systems to project their clinical resources in a much more efficient manner, without requiring physicians to sign up for pre-determined times to staff the telehealth service. This functionality also makes it much more feasible to connect clinical resources with each other for virtual curbside consults via American Well’s Telemed Tablet.

Problem: Limited usability with existing patients

Doctors have established relationships with their own patients. The real value of telehealth is allowing doctors to care for those patients remotely, but this has been difficult to support in the past. Because of this disconnect, telehealth had been relegated to only urgent care transactions and not lived up to its full potential.

Solution: American Well allows doctors to utilize telehealth to care for their own patients, and control their online practices right from a simple, easy-to-use mobile app or website. These can be immediate or scheduled visits, and email invitations guide patients directly into the visit with their doctor. Scheduling with practice management systems and EMRs can also be integrated into the telehealth platform for a more robust experience for both patients and doctors.

Problem: Telehealth is primarily for urgent care

Urgent care and telehealth have traditionally been synonymous with one another. Strep throat, fevers, headaches, urinary tract infections—these are all easily and effectively diagnosed via telehealth, which is great, but has limited telehealth’s usability for health systems and physicians.

Solution: Integrations with biometric devices—in combination with being able to see their own patients—allows physicians to really expand the scope in which they use telehealth. Doctors can review data collected from a patient’s home biometric reader and actually monitor progress or changes over time. This type of capability is dramatically shifting telehealth from a tool largely reserved for urgent care, to one of population health and chronic care management. AW8 is integrated with Apple Health to allow this type of remote monitoring. Our provider mobile app makes it possible for physicians to view these integrated biometric readings wherever they are, making remote monitoring easy and convenient.

Problem: Telehealth doesn’t include physician-to-physician consults

In many health systems, there isn’t a specialist available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at every facility, which makes immediate consultations difficult. But old school telemedicine technologies were clumsy and required hands-on scheduling and dedicated and very expensive hardware.

Solution:  American Well’s Telemed Tablet transforms the concept of traditional telemedicine consults by connecting physicians all over the country in just two clicks. Using a touchscreen interface, physicians can request and immediately connect for live video visits with clinicians and remote providers in specific specialties for consultations.

Problem: Consumer interest, adoption and engagement

Consumers gravitate toward what they are familiar with, which has been in-person doctor appointments. Because of this, consumers have been hesitant to adopt or engagement with telehealth. Yet, traditional healthcare options come with huge gaps in care, namely accessibility, availability, and convenience.

Solution: American Well partnered with Harris Poll to run a nationally projectable online survey to find out how consumers feel about telehealth. An impressive 64% of consumers said they were willing to have a video visit with a doctor, stating convenience and time saved as two big factors. Telehealth allows patients to receive the right care at the right time; compared to traditional options that limit the time and place you are able to access a doctor. Generally, we are also seeing a huge adoption of smartphones in the U.S that is leading to a more app-based culture. As of April 2015, 64% of Americans used a smartphone compared to just 35% in 2011. This tells us people are more willing to use your smartphone to see a doctor than ever before.

Problem: Regulatory acceptance

Since its existence, telehealth has been viewed as the wild, wild west of healthcare—and for good reason. There were no rules or regulations as to how the industry should operate, and no distinguishing factors between good telehealth and bad telehealth. Many telehealth companies operated – and still do – on the periphery, skirting medical board regulations. It didn’t help that many medical boards lacked formal definition of safe and efficacious telehealth.

Solution: In April 2014, the Federation of State Medical Board (FSMB) set forth guidelines for the safe practice of telehealth. Overall, they stipulated over a dozen operating principles. These guidelines give states a complete roadmap for ensuring that patients are protected in this ever-changing healthcare delivery environment. It also gave states clear definitions and principles to guide policies governing the use of telehealth. American Well is FSMB compliant, meeting all principles for the acceptable practicing of telehealth.

So, what’s next for telehealth?

Many of the issues relating to telehealth have been resolved. Reimbursement appears to be the final hurdle, but with half of all states having legislated private payer reimbursement for telehealth, the deck stacked against telehealth will shrink even more. It’s only a matter of time before telehealth is broadly adopted and just a more convenient, cost effective way for doctors to care for patients. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as telehealth becomes a dominant way to practice good medicine.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[The Difference Between Telehealth and Telemedicine]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=3140 2017-11-27T19:12:01Z 2015-05-11T15:08:24Z There are no universal definitions for the terms “telehealth” and “telemedicine” - here a few key organizations weigh in.

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There are no universal definitions for the terms “telehealth” and “telemedicine,” which makes it impossible to differentiate them entirely from one another. Both terms are a modern concoction based on the evolution of developing technology. But while the line remains blurred regarding what each term covers, a few organizations have weighed in on the subject.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA) identifies telehealth’s definition as broader in scope than that of telemedicine, covering remote healthcare services that are both clinical and non-clinical. The term “telemedicine,” on the other hand, refers solely to remote clinical services. Subsequently, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) uses the two terms interchangeably, both encompassing a wide definition of remote healthcare.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes its own distinction between telehealth and telemedicine, where telehealth uses computer-assisted telecommunications to support management, surveillance, literature and access to medical knowledge, while telemedicine uses telecommunications solely to diagnose and treat patients. WHO based their own definition of what telemedicine entails off a study they conducted of 104 peer-reviewed definitions of the term. Can you think of another word with 104 unique definitions?

But the good news is the evolution of technology and care delivery is causing the industry to outgrow all artificial definitions of the two terms. In fact, telehealth and telemedicine are actually converging as the industry matures.

At American Well, our solution uses technology to solve care delivery challenges, which is why we see no distinction between telehealth and telemedicine. When it comes to population health management, how can you draw a distinction between whether monitoring someone’s vitals is clinical or non-clinical? It isn’t necessarily diagnosing or treating a patient, but it is managing a patient’s health. These types of evolving circumstances are what are advancing the industry, while simultaneously doing away with broad, ambiguous definitions.

Whether you call it “telehealth” or “telemedicine,” there is no denying that the technology being used is revolutionizing the healthcare industry by connecting patients with physicians, no matter the time or location. If this is being done correctly and safely, it shouldn’t matter what term a situation is filed under. In reality, we are approaching a point within the industry where we should settle on one term and one definition for what we are currently doing—which is providing patients with access to care wherever they are.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[American Well CEO Talks the Future of Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=3103 2016-01-27T20:31:30Z 2015-05-05T19:01:24Z Telehealth is dynamically changing the way both patients and physicians view healthcare. Nobody knows this better than Roy Schoenberg, co-founder and CEO at American Well.

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Telehealth is dynamically changing the way both patients and physicians view healthcare. Nobody knows this better than Roy Schoenberg, co-founder and CEO at American Well. Roy introduced the patented service brokerage technology used by his company, which is currently the nation’s largest telehealth network. In 2013, he was appointed to the U.S. Federation of Medical Boards’ task force, where he helped deliver landmark guidelines for the “Appropriate use of Telehealth in Medical Practice.” With an MD from Hebrew University and an MPH from Harvard, Roy has the perspective and understanding needed to advance the healthcare industry through telehealth services. Here, Roy gives his thoughts on the current state and future of telehealth, and its role within the healthcare industry.

How has the FSMB Policy set the golden standard for telehealth?

Roy Schoenberg: Before the Federation of State Medical Board (FSMB), there was no real consensus in the market as to whether telehealth was safe or not. FSMB came in and legitimized the practice of telehealth, while also setting guidelines (see Model Telehealth Policy ratified April 2014). One of these guidelines is that the doctor-patient visit can happen only when there is a visual, synchronous interaction—essentially an audio/video functionality. The FSMB guidelines also required that patients have a choice of physician, as well as specified how documentation should take place. Overall, they stipulated over a dozen operating principles for telehealth, and in one clean swoop moved telehealth from the “wild, wild west” to a valid, standardized channel of delivery.

The telehealth market has come a long way since American Well was founded in 2006. How has the market migrated from being a “system” to an “ecosystem?”

RS: It started off with the singular notion that if you were able to get a patient in front of a physician, good things would happen. Then, we developed a better understanding of the technology behind telehealth, along with all the rest of the ingredients that make it clinically sound, safe, and valuable to both patients and physicians. This includes understanding payments (otherwise it’s cost-prohibitive) or understanding the importance of patient history, and then integrating with other systems that may have relevant information for the physician. Downstream care is also an important component. Then there’s the fact that it’s not just urgent care, but other types of healthcare that benefit from telehealth; chronic patient management, behavioral health and disease management are just a few of these. Telehealth has evolved from the simple understanding that technology can help get a patient in front of a healthcare professional, to the understanding that this is dimension of medicine.

How are telehealth product offerings going to evolve in 2015 and beyond?

RS: Part of the evolution will result from physicians better understanding the role telehealth can play in how they interact with patients, while at the same time being financially incentivized. We will also see a big change in the way these services are being paid for. Health insurance companies—who just a year ago were thinking about telehealth strictly academically—are now making telehealth part of the benefit structure.  The regulators and the authorities that govern the practice of medicine are also taking two very significant steps toward telehealth. One is the Licensure Pact, which is going to allow physicians to treat patients of telehealth across state lines. The second is the coverage of telehealth under Medicare. We believe both will take place in 2015.

What new projects is American Well working on to enable innovation within the telehealth industry?

RS: We have opened up the opportunity for physicians to see patients remotely, which in itself opens up a whole world of opportunities. Apple’s  decision to connect the iPhone to home medical devices means that American Well physicians seeing patients through the phone can be significantly more helpful. Because telehealth is becoming an ecosystem, there are so many more innovations that are possible, making it even more effective, accessible, and affordable.

What telehealth forecast do you find particularly interesting?

RS: In the commercial population, most people get their health insurance through their employer. In 2014, just about 15% of employers were offering telehealth to their employees as part of their medical coverage. That number is projected to move from 15% to 80% in less than three years. The expectation is that this is going to become the norm. I can’t recall anything in healthcare that moved from just a general notion, to the absolute norm in such a short period of time. This is going to dramatically change how the market operates, and how people view telehealth and its importance in healthcare delivery.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[AW8: Patient App of Luxury]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=3094 2016-01-27T20:32:56Z 2015-05-05T13:09:52Z Yesterday we walked you through the significant updates to the provider tools of our new platform. Today it’s all about the patients and how their experience is changing for the better with the introduction of AW8.

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Yesterday we walked you through the significant updates to the provider tools of our new platform. Today it’s all about the patients and how their experience is changing for the better with the introduction of AW8.

The patient telehealth experience should feel comfortable and familiar, but be as simple as possible. Here are some of the great enhancements for patients in AW8:

Provider Search

Allowing a patient to select their own physician is one of the fundamentals of telehealth (especially according to the FSMB), and that functionality isn’t going anywhere. What we’ve done in AW8 is given patients another option for finding a doctor by allowing them to connect with the first available physician. This just adds another dimension of flexibility to the patient experience, especially for those looking to connect with a doctor as quickly as possible. The new AskMe functionality and our patented brokerage engine make this possible.

Apple Health

Through our integration with Apple Health, patients are able to easily sync health data like vital sign and nutrition information during their visits. This allows patients to share important data with their doctor, who can easily keep track of any significant changes.

Google Maps Pharmacy Selection

Patients can now use Google Maps to find the pharmacy that is closest to them, their house, work or wherever, making finding a pharmacy easier than ever.

Image Sharing

Before a visit, patients have the option of snapping a picture of their symptom and uploading it to their records. The provider can then take a closer look before, during and after the visit, which ultimately helps with diagnosing and prescribing medication.

Comprehensive Medical Intake

We’ve improved our medical intake process, allowing patients to share historical conditions, medications and allergies in just a few short clicks. This information is shared directly with the doctor before the visit, and is saved and will pre-populate for the patient during future visits.

The consumer telehealth experience is centered on the ability to have live video visits with doctors, but that doesn’t mean it should stop there. Pre-visit and post-visit capabilities are just as important to patient satisfaction as the visit itself, and that is something American Well has addressed within its AW8 release.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[Introducing AW8]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=3091 2016-01-27T20:33:37Z 2015-05-04T18:07:31Z Today at the 20th Annual Telemedicine Meeting & Trade Show in Los Angeles, American Well revealed its next generation product line—AW8.

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Beth Principi <![CDATA[AW8: Doctor Care from Anywhere]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=3083 2016-01-27T20:34:26Z 2015-05-04T12:55:51Z This revolutionary release marks the most dramatic update to our product since the initial release in 2008.

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Today at the 20th Annual Telemedicine Meeting & Trade Show in Los Angeles, American Well revealed its next generation product line—American Well 8.

This revolutionary release marks the most dramatic update to our product since the initial release in 2008. The most significant and progressive updates are to the provider tools. For the first time in history, doctors and other providers are able to inject telehealth into any clinical situation at any time right from their mobile or tablet device.

Here’s how American Well is making that possible:

Provider Mobile App

Our provider mobile capability is really the “killer app” of the AW8 release.  Doctors can now carry their practice with them and have online video visits with patients whenever they’re available. They can schedule appointments, review patient records, perform documentation, prescribe medication and send secure messages all from their smartphone device.

AskMe Status

Our new AskMe status is a game-changer in its own right. Simply put, patients now have the choice to select a particular doctor, or find the first-available. The AskMe mode lets doctors make themselves available to receive patient requests, but then simply accept them or not. If they decline or ignore, our brokerage system pings another available doctor within the network straight-away.  AskMe allows health systems to project their clinical resources in a much more efficient and effective way, without requiring any sort of pre-determined commitment.

Apple Health Integration

Providers are now able to review data collected from patients’ home biometrics devices using built-in Apple Health integration. This type of monitoring capability is dramatically shifting telehealth from a traditional urgent care option to one of population health and chronic care management. Apple Health is a powerful tool, and we are honored to have been selected as the very first telehealth partner.

Telehealth Now

The Telehealth Now feature allows doctors to invite patients for telehealth visits, for immediate or scheduled visits. Patients are sent an email invitation, which takes them directly into the video visit with their provider.

These are just some of the new features of our AW8 release, which are nicely complemented by the already existing proficiencies of our provider platform. With AW8, physicians are taking control of how and when they see their patients, giving them unparalleled flexibility to practice healthcare on their own terms, and on their own time.

 

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Dr. Roy Schoenberg Applauds the FSMB’s Licensure Compact]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=2528 2016-01-27T20:35:04Z 2015-03-18T18:11:03Z Recently, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has been working to develop its Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which will make it easier for physicians to deliver care to patients across state lines. Our CEO, Dr. Roy Schoenberg, shares his thoughts.

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Recently, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has been working to develop its Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which will make it easier for physicians to deliver care to patients across state lines.  Our CEO, Dr. Roy Schoenberg, shares his thoughts:

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Telehealth Tops CIO’s IT Imperatives, According to Advisory Board]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=2378 2017-11-27T19:04:23Z 2015-02-25T20:54:09Z It’s not surprising that telehealth and telemedicine top health system CIO’s IT priorities.

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now_vs_laterIt’s not surprising that telehealth and telemedicine top health system CIO’s IT priorities. According to the Advisory Board, offering “direct to patient telemedicine” is one of the most significant trends driving healthcare consumerism, but “most provider organizations are behind on the adoption curve”.

So what do CIOs and their colleagues need to know about telehealth and telemedicine? Here’s a brief primer on some of the hot topics:

1. Patient adoption

This is the Field of Dreams question we always get: “If we build it, will they come?” It’s a legitimate question, since patients so frequently don’t follow doctors’ orders, and are often tricky to engage. So, if you take the time and effort to build a telehealth offering, what will the uptake be by patients? We’re still in the relatively early days of adoption, but consumer demand for telehealth is surging, with nearly two-thirds of all Americans wanting access to the service. In short, yes. Patients want to be able to access healthcare for all sorts of things – treatment for acute care issues, follow-up visits and medication questions, to name a few – just like they get their movies and bank statements: immediate and on-demand.

2. ROI

Tying IT expenditures to direct ROI can be tricky. That said, telehealth is one of those innovations that has the promise to increase revenue across the spectrum, from fee-for-service and direct-pay visits, to population health management for capitated patient populations, to provider curbsides. Find out what telehealth ROI can look like for your organization.

3. Regulatory Landscape

Medical board regulation of telehealth and telemedicine varies widely by state and can be tricky to determine. However, the winds of change started blowing last year when the Federation of State Medical Boards unanimously ratified its telemedicine policy last spring to help guide states that are updating their standpoints on online healthcare. Let us help you understand the regulatory environment in the states you serve.

4. Reimbursement

Widespread adoption of healthcare innovation is almost always tied to the almighty healthcare dollar. While CMS has moved cautiously and deliberately in respect to telehealth and telemedicine, the country’s top payer is rapidly warming to telehealth’s values and importance in the future of medicine. Private insurers too are offering telehealth services to their employers and members, and some state governments have taken matters into their own hands to pass laws that mandate private payer reimbursement for telehealth.

Want to learn more about how telehealth can impact your organization? Check out some of these helpful educational materials:

Webinar Recording: Telehealth Index: 2015 Consumer Survey Insights

eBook: Why ACOs Are Hot For Telehealth

Webinar Recording: Inside a Telehealth Practice

eBook: Employer Best Practices

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Webster Brehm <![CDATA[Affordable Care Act: Healthcare’s Own Journey Through Wonderland]]> https://www.americanwell.com/affordable-care-act-healthcares-own-journey-through-wonderland/ 2015-01-22T00:00:00Z 2015-01-22T00:00:00Z Dr. Alan Pitt, neuroradiologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, presents a compelling case on how America has built the “best” system in the world for emergency care, yet sadly focuses on volume over outcomes. Healthcare in America now costs 18% of our GDP, twice that of other developed nations, but ranks 50th in the world based […]

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telemedicine clinical solutionsDr. Alan Pitt, neuroradiologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, presents a compelling case on how America has built the “best” system in the world for emergency care, yet sadly focuses on volume over outcomes. Healthcare in America now costs 18% of our GDP, twice that of other developed nations, but ranks 50th in the world based on expected longevity! Moreover, with no defined pricing structure, there is a disconnect between cost and value.

But the rules of the game have changed. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) looks to change healthcare spending by 1) incentivizing healthcare outcomes and 2) bundling payments. With regards to the first point, outcomes are uncertain for an individual patient but can be predicted and negotiated for a large group. For example, an insurer might say that of 1000 patients with a condition like congestive heart failure admitted to the hospital, only 10% can be readmitted for 30 days after discharge; if the number is higher, those extra admissions are on the hospital’s dime and not reimbursed. As for the second point, bundling payments takes currently separate payments for doctors and hospitals and “bundles” them so that a patient’s bill has a set price for all services. Under bundling all-inclusive hip surgery may cost $10,000. The split of the total fee must then be split between the doctor and the hospital.

Click here to read the complete article about how Dr. Pitt sees telemedicine technology as a solution to improving America’s healthcare system.

Avizia was acquired by American Well in July of 2018. Information on this page refers to activities that occurred prior to the acquisition and are presented for historical context. Together we provide a comprehensive acute care offering—a full end-to-end telemedicine solution for health systems and their providers.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Infographic – Telehealth Index: 2015 Consumer Survey]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=2300 2016-02-16T15:04:38Z 2015-01-21T14:07:05Z A snapshot of the results of our 2015 Consumer Survey.

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Want to know more? Click here to download our eBook “American Well’s Telehealth Index: 2015 Consumer Survey.”

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Telehealth Myths De-Bunked]]>