American Well Online Doctor, 24 Hour Urgent Care 2017-06-21T17:43:31Z https://www.americanwell.com/feed/atom/ WordPress 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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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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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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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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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 2016-06-27T12:52:33Z 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 2016-05-26T20:00:47Z 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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Avera Case Study

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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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.

CF2

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.

CF3

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 2016-05-31T21:28:20Z 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

Sierra Sohl-Dickstein Photo

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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Beth Principi <![CDATA[The Top Telehealth Terms to Know]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5709 2016-03-18T12:44:09Z 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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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[AW9 Launch – Watch the Videos!]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5645 2016-03-10T19:44:26Z 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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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 2016-02-26T16:32:17Z 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. Stop by the American Well booth, #2154, to learn more.

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.

Sign up for a demo today.

Kiosk

Take a break here.
WED. MAR. 2 – 4 PM
Tele-Tini Happy Hour
Slow Motion Video Booth
Health Tech Boston – at Clique LV

tele-tini pdf

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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Sarah Natoli http://Natoli <![CDATA[What Can Digital Marketing Do for Your Telehealth Service?]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=5336 2016-02-19T14:39:30Z 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.

1200x628_valentinescards_020916-735x0

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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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 2016-02-09T16:42:55Z 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

601px-PharmacistsMortar.svg
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 2016-02-05T13:11:11Z 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.

AmericanWellKioskHero

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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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 2016-02-05T13:17:40Z 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 2016-01-27T20:16:44Z 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 2017-02-22T15:25:59Z 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 Elliott <![CDATA[How Pediatric Telehealth Is Enhancing Healthcare]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=4291 2016-01-27T20:36:22Z 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 2016-01-27T20:20:37Z 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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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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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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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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Want to know more? Click here to download our eBook “American Well’s Telehealth Index: 2015 Physician Survey.”

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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 2016-01-27T20:30:37Z 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 2016-01-27T20:37:47Z 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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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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Consumer_ebook_Infographic

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]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=2295 2016-01-27T20:39:08Z 2015-01-21T14:06:32Z As telehealth grows in popularity in the U.S., there are still telehealth myths that persist. Below we've addressed the ones that come up most frequently.

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As telehealth grows in popularity in the U.S., there are still telehealth myths that persist.  Below we’ve addressed the ones that come up most frequently:

Telehealth Myth #1: All Doctor visits need to be in person

A common misconception is that all doctor visits need to happen in person; in fact, about half of doctor visits could be done online.  American Well’s physician network, the Online Care Group, has spent the last few years developing proprietary clinical care guidelines regarding the practice of telehealth that address a wide variety of health concerns – In fact, over 1,000 distinct diagnoses have been made on American Well in the past two years.  High-definition video aids the diagnosis process, as physicians can clearly see the patient and observe the patient’s appearance, which is critical in assessing signals like alertness, lethargy, mental status, evidence of pain, and respiratory distress.  Physicians can observe physical ailments such as a rash, abrasion, laceration, sprain or strain, and perform neurological exams, as well as provide a physical exam remotely by using the patient’s help to push on an area, or guide movement (including walking and bending).

The physicians on the American Well system are trained to follow up with patients through HIPAA –compliant secure messaging after the visit, so follow up care can be provided.

Telehealth Myth #2:  Labs can’t be done online

Providers can always refer patients for lab work, and in some cases, patients will share previous test results with physicians online.  An online assessment based on the information obtained can result in a diagnosis, including simple acute conditions, an exacerbation of a chronic condition, and management of an ongoing or known diagnosis.  When additional testing is needed or the physician cannot confidently make a diagnosis, the patient is referred to in-person care.

Telehealth Myth #3: The doctors aren’t real

The doctors on American Well are licensed, board-certified physicians.  They went to medical school, completed residencies, and continue to practice medicine both online and off.  These physicians aren’t newbies either – The doctors on American Well have typically been practicing medicine for 10-15 years.  Check out our YouTube page and get to know some of them.

Telehealth Myth #4:  It’s impossible to have a physician relationship online

Similar to when patients seek urgent care services at brick-and-mortar facilities, patients are often not matched with physicians with whom they have a pre-existing relationship.  In contrast to emergency and urgent care services, American Well allows patients to review detailed provider profiles so patients can select the provider of their choice each time they seek a consultation.  This transparency allows patients to select the provider they believe is best suited for them, and makes it easy for them to have repeat visits with the same provider.

There are certainly ways for patients to see their physicians, as well – American Well allows employers to add existing narrow networks to our platform, and health systems can enable providers to see their own patients.

Telehealth Myth #5: Prescriptions are problematic

If the doctor deems it medically appropriate, and it’s legally allowed in your state, the doctors on American Well can always write a prescription.  They are real doctors after all.  Not everything can be prescribed, of course: American Well proactively blocks certain medications that are not appropriate for online encounters, such as controlled substances and lifestyle medications.  For those, you’ll still need to make an appointment with your primary care physician.

Telehealth Myth #6: Online visits aren’t secure

We’re kind of obsessed with patient privacy and security here.  After all, we’re legally required to ensure it.  American Well is a private, secure, HIPAA-compliant tool that’s built to safely and confidentially consult with a doctor online.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Top 10 Stats to Know About Telehealth]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=2294 2016-01-27T20:39:52Z 2015-01-21T14:06:09Z There are lots of numbers floating in the telehealth space, and we've picked the top ten stats to know about telehealth.

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There are lots of numbers floating in the telehealth space, and we’ve picked the top ten stats to know about telehealth:

1. 64% of Americans would be willing to have a video visit with a doctor

2. Towers Watson expects a 68% increase in the number of employers offering telemedicine in 2015 (a rise from 22% to 37%) –analysts have estimated this will result in $6B in employer savings

3. 63% of Consumers believe that high-definition video results in the most accurate diagnosis by a doctor

4. 67% of healthcare professionals (physicians + others) either using some form of telemedicine now, or are planning to in the next few years

5. The #1 primary driver of telehealth investment by hospital systems is to fill gaps in care

6. 62% of Americans believe that online visits with a doctor should cost less than in-person care

7. At least 70% of consumers reported that they’d rather have an online video visit to obtain a prescription than travel to their doctor’s office

8. 30% of parents with children under the age of 18 would prefer a video visit with a doctor for middle-of-the-night care over traditional options, such as the emergency room or a nurseline.

9. 91% of health outcomes were as good or better via telehealth

10. 42% of women aged 18-43 would prefer to get birth control prescriptions online

 

Data Sources:

[1] American Well Telehealth Consumer Survey 2015
[2] 19th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care
[3] American Well Telehealth Consumer Survey 2015
[4] Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine Conference Poll of healthcare providers, 2014
[5] 2014 HIMSS Analytics Telemedicine Study
[6] American Well Telehealth Consumer Survey 2015
[7] American Well Telehealth Consumer Survey 2015
[8] American Well Telehealth Consumer Survey 2015
[9] A systematic review of economic analyses of telehealth services using real time video communication, Wade 2010
[10] American Well Telehealth Consumer Survey 2015

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Introducing American Well’s Telehealth Index: 2015 Consumer Survey]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=2306 2016-01-27T20:40:34Z 2015-01-21T14:03:48Z American Well has published a new eBook - the first in our Telehealth Index series. We ran a nationally projectable survey with Harris Poll in December 2014 to answer some questions about telehealth.

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American Well has published a new eBook – the first in our Telehealth Index series.    We ran a nationally projectable survey with Harris Poll in December 2014 to answer some questions about telehealth, including:

  • Are consumers ready get healthcare through video visits with physicians?
  • What factors would make consumers feel comfortable with the idea of seeing a healthcare provider over video?
  • How does telehealth stack up to traditional urgent care options?

This survey uncovered a wealth of information about consumer’s attitudes towards video doctor visits, as Mary Modahl, Chief Marketing Officer at American Well explains:

Download the eBook to discover more.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Three Ways Telehealth Drives Revenue for ACOs]]> https://www.americanwell.com/?p=2185 2016-11-04T14:12:07Z 2014-12-18T15:44:47Z Healthcare systems know that clinical interactions don’t always need to be done in the same room and they are increasingly incorporating telehealth into their every day practices.

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How ACOs save money with telehealthInterest in telehealth continues to rise in U.S. healthcare organizations. The August 2014 Healthcare Information and Management Systems (HIMSS) study on telemedicine adoption found a very favorable view of the U.S. telehealth market, and it’s predicted that in 2014 alone there will be 75 million e-visits in the U.S. and Canada. Healthcare systems know that clinical interactions don’t always need to be done in the same room and they are increasingly incorporating telehealth into their every day practices.

Telehealth deployments run the gamut from acute treatment of minor illness, rashes, strains and infections, to more advanced specialty use cases such as cardiology, radiology, mental health, urology, and neurology. Most telehealth deployments aim to address gaps in care such as improving post discharge or post surgical follow-up, but we also see applications of telehealth that expand the geographic reach of specialists or reduce travel burden for home bound patients. As a result, early telehealth deployments look very different from each other depending on specific clinical initiatives, patient demographics, and location.

But while there is no universal prototype, we do see that telemedicine initiatives in ACOs are driven by the need to:

Method #1: Expand revenue

ACOs recognize revenue from covered lives, and they keep more of that revenue by keeping their patient base healthy. Telehealth is a powerful tool to increase catchment area, acquire new patients, and provide more touch points to address gaps in care.

Method #2: Engage patients

ACOs see telehealth as a powerful tool to increase access to care and provide more convenient care. Not surprisingly, telehealth results in high patient satisfaction scores and has the potential to improve HCAHPS scores.

Method #3: Save costs

ACOs can use telehealth to protect profits from unreimbursed spend or penalties that can arise from overutilization of the ER or avoidable hospital readmissions. And they can use telehealth to compete with retail clinics, adding or retaining patients without incurring the capital cost of bricks and mortar.

To read more, click here to download our eBook: Why ACOs Are Hot For Telehealth.






 

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Why ACOs Are Hot for Telehealth]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=2039 2016-01-27T20:42:51Z 2014-11-14T21:47:03Z Telehealth is on the rise in ACOs. Health systems of all sizes are recognizing that telehealth is effective.

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623-06122307Telehealth is on the rise in ACOs.  Health systems of all sizes are recognizing that telehealth is an effective way to:

  • Expand revenue sources
  • Engage patient populations, and
  • Save costs on expenses

Telehealth can help your organization leapfrog the competition in light of all of the healthcare innovation in the marketplace from retail and urgent care clinics.  Download this e-Book now to learn more and receive access to the resources your organization needs to launch a telehealth program.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Six Questions Employers Have About Telehealth]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=2018 2016-01-27T20:43:31Z 2014-11-12T18:16:06Z When you work for a health plan, you’re expected to be a benefits expert. And not just about health insurance. You’re expected to know about all benefits, all the time.

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When you work for a health plan, you’re expected to be a benefits expert. And not just about health insurance. You’re expected to know about all benefits, all the time.

In a way, it’s a good thing your client sees you as their benefit guru. But since you probably don’t have time to meticulously follow employee benefit trends month after month, you can get caught off-guard when they quiz you about the new benefit they’re considering.

While we can’t help with all new benefits, we’ve got you covered when it comes to telehealth. Here are the answers to six questions your client has about telehealth:employer telehealth

Question #1: Is telehealth just phone calls with doctors?

Not quite. According to the guidelines released by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), a clinically credible telehealth visit means using video when possible, employing technology that is fully HIPAA compliant, and ensuring continuity of care. Make sure you take these guidelines into account when you select a telehealth vendor.

Question #2: Are other employers offering telehealth?

Yes. A recent study by NBGH projected that 74% of employers will offer telehealth in 2016. This huge jump isn’t entirely surprising. After all, telehealth saves the employer money and saves their employees time.

Question #3: Will my employees even use telehealth?

Yes. After all, it’s easier and more convenient than urgent care. To maximize telehealth utilization, we recommend incorporating it into an employer’s overall benefits structure and effectively communicating the new benefit to employees.

Question #4: Will telehealth save me money?

Yes. Our employer clients typically see savings of $140 per telehealth visit. This amount accounts for money saved from employees who would otherwise unnecessarily go to the ER or urgent care and also accounts for money lost for employees who require follow-ups after their telehealth visit.

Question #5: How long does it take to launch?

In as little as 30 days. With telehealth, there’s thankfully not a lot required for a fully comprehensive employer launch.

Question #6: Can it integrate with our existing benefits?

Of course. In fact, we created a slide share that outlines how health plans can easily and quickly cover telehealth claims in just five steps. Click here to download it.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[American Well Announces Mobile Milestone of 1 Million Downloads]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=2016 2016-01-27T20:44:15Z 2014-11-12T18:13:00Z This month, national telehealth leader American Well announced that it has reached the mobile milestone of 1 Million downloads for its free Amwell app for iPhone and Android.

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AmWell_logo_RGB-IconThis month, national telehealth leader American Well announced that it has reached the mobile milestone of 1 Million downloads for its free Amwell app for iPhone and Android. Mobile healthcare is emerging as a fast-growing segment of the tech industry and Amwell is one of the leading apps that allow users to talk to a doctor from their phones.

With marked growth in 2014, as reported by CBS News, American Well offers the fastest, easiest way to get care for acute issues through Amwell, with less than 2 minute wait time and availability 24-7, 365 days per year. In September, the company announced Amwell’s integration with Apple’s HealthKit, making it possible for the first time for consumers to share health data from tracking devices with a doctor during a video visit. Shortly after the integration, Apple featured Amwell in the Healthcare section of the App Store. Excitement around this development is directly tied to the potential benefit for chronic care management in the near future.

Users who share their experience in the App Store reviews rave:

“This app is a life saver. 12 am midnight and I was able to choose a doctor, do a video conference and had him check my vitals/symptoms. Blessed to be able to have technology like this at my fingertips. “

Another user says that convenience is what matters:

“Amwell is so easy. Easy enrollment, great video, quality, excellent docs, and fast prescription fills/refills. They even have nutritionists so you don’t need to be sick to use Amwell. I’ve used this now a number of times in lieu of visiting a doctor in person. Absolutely great.”

Additional new features for the Amwell app include:

Streamlined access across the entire platform – users can login with the same credentials across all of Amwell – web, mobile, or through an on-site kiosk;
Users can add or update health insurance information for their account on the Amwell app.
For more information, visit www.AmericanWell.com or follow @AmericanWell on Twitter.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Five Medical Use Cases for Telemedicine]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=2013 2016-01-27T20:44:48Z 2014-10-13T17:09:09Z Telehealth often helps patients with urgent or acute care. In addition, specific medical use cases for telemedicine include teleradiology or telestroke, and a wide variety of specialties to connect physicians with patients.

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Medical use cases for telemedicene

Telehealth often helps patients with urgent or acute care. In addition, specific medical use cases for telemedicine include teleradiology or telestroke, and a wide variety of specialties to connect physicians with patients. In our work with some of the nation’s top hospitals, we’ve found that hospitals have certain reasons for using telemedicine:

  1. Reduce readmissions through cost-effective post-discharge monitoring;
  2. Better educate pre-op patients to reduce waste; and
  3. Reduce system leakage by building patient loyalty

As the digital realm expands globally, providers leveraging telehealth can connect with patients who are otherwise unreachable, giving providers a competitive advantage. Patients who begin with a virtual exam and diagnostics may develop relationships that could lead to direct care. Providers can see patients with chronic diseases at home for cost-effective health care maintenance.

Beyond urgent or primary care, here are five medical use cases for telemedicine:

Specialty #1: Surgery

Telesurgery is a very “hands on” form of telemedicine, with surgeons using robots to operate remotely. While these robotic surgeons are truly cutting edge, most people are not likely to be operated on by a robot today. However, surgeons are still finding telemedicine to be a useful tool in practice. Many surgical departments see telemedicine as a more convenient and cost-effective way to pre- and post- op for major and minor procedures.

Surgical staff can give patients pre-op preparation instructions on telemedicine. As some surgery teams have experienced, patients may misinterpret or forget important instructions about stopping medications before the surgery. With clear instructions delivered prior to surgery, telemedicine reduces patient no shows and saves valuable scheduled operating room time.

For post-op patients, the use case is both clinical and educational. Physicians and staff can check the patient’s drains and bandages visually, confirming adequate wound healing withhigh-definition video. Through readily accessible remote monitoring and automated follow-ups, providers are empowered to deliver the guidance that many patients need as they go through the healing process. Continuous connection can ensure that patients are following their treatment plans as well creating needed adjustments. These virtual check-ins ensure the patient is on the road to recovery, reducing readmission rates all without the patient ever having to leave home.

Specialty #2: Gastroenterology

A colonoscopy may be a common procedure for gastroenterologists, but for the patient, it can feel monumental. For some patients, this could be the first serious medical procedure they’ve undergone. A quick telemedicine visit beforehand can help them talk through any anxiety or the amount of GoLYTELY they must consume.

Patients arrive fully prepared for their colonoscopy, but it also builds patient loyalty and subsequently reduces system leakage. If patients feel like their hospital takes care of their needs and answers their questions, they will likely stay within the system. For gastroenterology, telehealth delivers advice and treatment follow up through patient portals, patient education through internet-based clinical content via emails and links, and disease management tools such as lifestyle guidance for illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Specialty #3: Cardiology

From stent placements to stress tests, cardiology departments deal with incredibly diverse tests and procedures every day. However, much like their colleagues in gastroenterology and surgery, faculty and staff in the cardiology departments can use telehealth visits to both prepare a patient before a procedure as well as monitor their progress afterwards.

Telehealth can improve treatment compliance with daily monitoring and early intervention to address problems before they become acute. Home-based monitoring devices for blood pressure allow for close follow up in chronic conditions such as heart disease, enabling providers to capture and transmit clinical data. For patients with co-morbidities, telemedicine allows for collaborative monitoring of glucose levels and medication dosages in diabetes and other illnesses. Patients can equally be empowered to support self-management and to prevent avoidable hospitalizations.

Specialty #4: Psychiatry

Psychiatry departments often find telemedicine can be more effective than in-person care. Inpatient units need to remain active, but for outpatient counseling, telemedicine can provide a convenient and comforting way for patients to get the care they desperately need.

From the comfort of their own home, patients feel at ease in a way they might not in an institutional setting. Patient who appreciate these accommodations are often more likely to return to that hospital for the rest of their healthcare needs. Providers can also address the problem of no shows by potentially connecting with the next available patient for a real time on-demand visit.

For psychiatrists, visits are enabled by forwarding notes to the collaborative care team. By transmitting notes between providers, health professionals can consult and collaborate virtually with patient and other clinicians, regardless of geographic location. The result is a cost-effective alternative to physician office visits, increasing provider caseloads without increasing their workloads.

Specialty #5: Geriatrics

Geriatric patients stand to benefit tremendously as a digital health care consumer. As mobility can be especially difficult for these patients, the ability to see a physician remotely removes a huge barrier to care.

With telemedicine, geriatric departments can more quickly spot at-risk patients post-discharge and provide interventions to avoid an otherwise unnecessary readmission. Similarly, nursing homes can partner with health systems to provide bedside care for their residents at a fraction of the price of an onsite physician. These infrastructure synergies provide connectivity with electronic health records (EHRs) and create clear communication among hospitals, senior care facilities, referring physicians, and patient families. They also provide the link to population based management databases and other health care analytic functions to measure value.

In the past decade, many industries such as banking and transportation have already transformed their business models via the internet and mobile technology, and the health care industry is poised for this change.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Telehealth Sneaks into the Mainstream, Powered by Employers]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=852 2016-01-27T20:45:51Z 2014-10-01T16:55:38Z Over decades the practice of using technology to allow a doctor treat a patient in a different location has plodded along, from pilot to pilot, and grant to grant, all the while on the fringe of healthcare.

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Over decades the practice of using technology to allow a doctor treat a patient in a different location has plodded along, from pilot to pilot, and grant to grant, all the while on the fringe of healthcare.

Half a century has passed since video teleconferencing was first used in Boston to connect a doctor with a patient in a different facility (Dr. Jay Sanders at 7:14 of this video provides a brief history of telemedicine’s long journey). Interestingly, while telemedicine has been a favorite pet project of neurologists and widely used by radiologists, a different flag bearer has lead telehealth’s rather swift march from fringe to mainstream in just the past couple of years.

Healthcare spending represents a huge swath of the American GDP. Nearly 1-in-5 of all dollars spent in the U.S. is on healthcare. Many businesses profit from healthcare spending. Medical devices, pharmaceuticals, care delivery, and insurance are all huge industries that benefit from spending.

Ultimately, though, one group has long held the bill: employers. It’s not surprising, then, that an opportunity to immediately address two of healthcare’s biggest challenges (cost and access) appealed to the very group that largely funds the healthcare industry.

So, while telemedicine – also called telehealth – has been looking for a champion in the healthcare industry for decades, it’s the folks on the other side of the cost equation who are finally – and rapidly – bringing telehealth to the mainstream. The National Business Group on Health (NBGH) was the latest group to find the rising popularity of telehealth (which was relatively nascent and obscure just a couple of years ago) to be in vogue with employers. NBGH’s survey found that roughly half of all employers will offer their employees telehealth in 2015.

Interestingly, while employers are certainly the catalyst that will push telehealth to the tipping point, it won’t stop there. Because when employers open up their wallets – the industry takes note. In the coming months you’ll see a lot of groups get on the telehealth bandwagon. Don’t be surprised to see local hospitals running ads promoting their new online service, or your insurance card offering $0 co-pay for “online visits” right alongside increasingly expensive PCP and specialist visits.

Make no mistake, telehealth is here. Employees can rejoice, and should thank their HR department for leading the charge.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[What the Federation of State Medical Board’s Decision Means for Telehealth]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=12 2016-01-27T20:46:30Z 2014-05-29T16:52:37Z As you may have heard, healthcare wrapped up the month of April on a real high. The Federation of State medical Boards (FSMB) adopted new policy guidelines for the safe practice of telemedicine.

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iPhone5_iOS7_Engagement_Idealized2As you may have heard, healthcare wrapped up the month of April on a real high. The Federation of State medical Boards (FSMB) adopted new policy guidelines for the safe practice of telemedicine. This means that, finally, states now have a basic roadmap for ensuring that patients are protected in this fast-changing healthcare delivery environment. It also means that all states can utilize clear definitions and principles to guide policies governing the use of telehealth.

A more in-depth look shows us the tangible progress that was made in this area of health IT/innovation. The FSMB policy provided much-needed clarity on “Do’s and Don’ts” in the use of telehealth technology when practicing medicine. The FSMB did the heavy lifting of framing the principals of operation that must be adhered to in order to preserve patient safety and quality of care. Their recommendations balanced the immense promise of this technology with the legitimate concerns of its abuse, which in the past have driven many state medical boards, even enthusiastic ones, to adhere to older rules that prevented its use.  The new guidelines offer a detailed framework needed to revise those outdated rules. I expect many boards to tailor the guidelines to meet their own perspectives and cultures moving forward, but as a whole, healthcare will take these new rules as sign of the time and modernize to embrace telehealth.

In an event such as this, it is important to take a step back and acknowledge history in the making. The unanimous ratification is probably the strongest message the house of delegates (of the FSMB) could have sent; decisive leadership such as this is very impressive and very rare these days. Telehealth adoption will come when people gain clarity that it is a safe and valuable way to deliver care; the board has done a terrific job in preparing the landscape for large-scale use of telehealth. There are many areas where further work is needed, such as licensure issues and protocols for use in different clinical applications (e.g. follow up care that may allow fewer restrictions than establishing a relationship with a new patient); however, that can’t take away from what was accomplished. The FSMB should take a day to pat itself on the back.

The fact that the board did not make any changes to the telehealth definition outlined is not an oversight. In fact, on the contrary, it is a reflection of the booming diversity in this technology. Ten years ago telemedicine was only a construct between physicians. Today we have telehealth with multiple end points between patients, mobile health, wearable devices, home biometrics, healthcare kiosks, e-visits of sorts, etc. The FSMB tried to keep definitions very high-level in order to prevent these important guidelines from becoming obsolete over time, as many other guidelines and rules (all too specific) have before.

As I mentioned already, there are still barriers to the widespread adoption of telehealth. State licensure of physicians limits how helpful the technology can be to spread healthcare services to where they are challenged. Reimbursement by Medicare and Medicaid is essentially nonexistent, mostly because of the unknown impact on future costs. Physicians are still afraid they will be sanctioned if they don’t examine a patient in-person, and there are more examples like these. The good news is that these barriers are quickly eroding and, most importantly, patients – our industry’s main customer – love it. In the end, the people are stronger than the industry’s outdated rules and the floodgates will open. In ten more years, the term telehealth will be gone and this technology will simply be an integrated part of mainstream healthcare.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Virtual Healthcare: Your Telehealth Questions Answered by a Doctor]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=14 2016-01-27T20:47:29Z 2014-04-18T07:56:36Z If you follow the latest developments in health care, you may have noticed: telehealth has taken off.

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Antall,_PeterBy Dr. Peter Antall

If you follow the latest developments in health care, you may have noticed: telehealth has taken off. Our country is focused on making health care more accessible for Americans, and naturally, telehealth has emerged as a key innovation that can help to make this a reality. It’s an effective way to deliver evidence-based medicine – and it’s something that we as physicians can embrace right now.   As President and Medical Director of the world’s first telehealth practice, Online Care Group, I’m often asked a handful of common questions about telehealth. Here, I share the most common questions and my answers with readers.

What is telehealth?

To me, telehealth is simple. Telehealth is a live video visit between a doctor and a patient from home or work. This differs from traditional telemedicine, which mainly connected hospital facilities to each other and relied on big, expensive hardware in clinical locations.

With telehealth, the patient can have a video visit with a doctor using every day consumer technologies that are becoming ubiquitous: a smartphone, tablet, or computer. There are other forms of telehealth on the market that use only phone or secure email; however, these visits do not allow for the same level of clinical patient evaluation. I have met with medical boards and associations across the country and found that live video is greatly preferred because it represents the closest interaction comparable to an in-person visit.

Do patients really want to talk to a doctor virtually?

For starters, let me just ask you when was the last time you shopped, banked, booked travel, made a dinner reservation, filed your taxes, or communicated with friends and family online. Chances are – if you’re like many Americans – you’ve done more than one of these things today, probably on your phone or tablet.

While the health care industry has done a great job of supplying information to patients online and has even started to offer patients the opportunity to book appointments online, information and scheduling stop short of what patients want and expect from health care: quality interactions with clinicians. To date, health care ‘transactions’ have only occurred at the intersection of a physical location and the supply of available clinicians. The industry can do better.

Over the last several years, a number of studies have shown that patients are rapidly warming to the concept of interacting with doctors online. Estimates suggest that half to three-quarters of Americans are interested in online consults, and I’d expect this number to grow as more patients have access to telehealth services and as more doctors offer such services to patients.

If you think about the patient experience today, it’s not surprising that most folks respond so positively to the value of telehealth. Consider the national average wait time to see a doctor of 18.5 days, not to mention the excessive wait time in certain urban and rural areas. And once you’re in the doctor’s office, that wait can be long, too, which you know if you’ve ever spent two or three hours in an urgent care clinic or emergency room waiting to be seen. Retail clinics are an option, but these are generally not staffed by a doctor and are often not available outside of normal business hours.

On the other hand, a patient can see a doctor in just a few minutes from their phone or tablet. For example, our wait times at the Online Care Group currently average less than 2.5 minutes, and there’s no appointment or travel required. So it’s not surprising that 97% of patients rate the service “very good” or “excellent.”

How do you examine a patient during a telehealth visit?

Examining a patient through video is different from in-person, though the fundamental rules of medicine still apply. The most important elements of any consultation – online or in-person – is taking a thorough history, asking plenty of questions, and doing a visual examination. Having a video connection with a patient is really important in helping to understand the patient’s overall demeanor and level of discomfort and stress, just as in the exam room. This gives me great insight into the patient’s physical and mental well-being. In terms of a physical exam, I’ve developed protocols to help our doctors guide patients through self-exams in order to provide empirical feedback that’s useful in making certain diagnoses.

One of our main tenets is that doctors must use their own clinical discretion when treating patients online. Our physicians diagnose and treat only when enough data can be ascertained in the video consultation to do so. If not, our physicians triage the patient and refer out for in-person care. That may mean seeing their doctor in-person, going to the emergency room, or ordering tests at a local health center.

What about security issues?

As with brick-and-mortar medicine, it is extremely important to protect patient health information. The information regarding a patient’s health should remain private between the physician and the patient and be stored securely, in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). American Well provides a secure space for patients to safely and confidentially consult with a doctor online. This is imperative for an effective and safe telehealth practice.

What does telehealth have to offer me as a doctor?

Telehealth is not only convenient for patients; it offers doctors flexibility at work, reliable pay, and access to new patients. And not only individual and group practices, but even large medical practices and hospitals, are starting to use telehealth to attract and retain patients and to expand their reach.

By incorporating telehealth, hospitals under accountable care organization (ACO) contracts, or otherwise caring for patients under capitation, reap the financial benefits of having healthier patients. Private offices can offer open access and after-hours care or designate that a subset of visits, like medication follow-up, be managed through telehealth. Practices can also bring in other specialties virtually into their office, like certified diabetes educators, dieticians, or behavioral health specialists.

Can I make money with telehealth?

There is high demand from patients for urgent-care-like telehealth services. Today, physicians across the country – including those in our national telehealth practice – make a very good living practicing medicine online, providing care anywhere from 10-40 hours per week.

Another option is for doctors to offer telehealth to their existing patients. In many states, doctors are already being reimbursed for services delivered to their own patients by including GT modifiers in their billing (this modifier is used to indicate telehealth services via interactive audio and video telecommunication systems). Currently 20 states mandate private payer reimbursement for telehealth services and 45 states reimburse for some telehealth services. As our doctors move from fee-for-service to capitated payment models under the Affordable Care Act, they are absorbing the risk (“rewarded for performance,” as some might say). Telehealth is one way to improve efficacy and efficiency of patient care. Telehealth lets doctors increase the number of touch points for patients, which potentially can improve outcomes as well.

Is telehealth the future of healthcare?

Telehealth isn’t really a new form of healthcare; it is the same healthcare that Americans are using every day, delivered in a faster, less expensive, more convenient way. Although not everything can be treated via telehealth, it’s a great option for many types of acute care, chronic care, behavioral health, and wellness services. Patients, doctors, hospital systems, employers, insurers, regulators, and legislators are all rapidly changing the way they view health care in order to incorporate telehealth. In the coming months, the proof that telehealth is here to stay will become even more evident. It’s time to embrace the nowof health care.

If you have any questions or to learn more about where and how I practice telehealth, email me at peter.antall@americanwell.com.

Dr. Antall is the Medical Director of Online Care Group, a physician-owned primary care group that offers its clinical services online using American Well’s technology. American Well’s web and mobile telehealth platform connects patients and clinicians for live, clinically meaningful visits through video, supplemented by secure text chat and phone. For more information, visit AmericanWell.com.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Six Easy Ways to Improve Corporate Culture]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=16 2016-01-27T20:48:22Z 2014-01-24T09:18:59Z A positive corporate culture is that seemingly fluffy, immeasurable variable that too many organizations overlook. Sure your company’s culture may be described in flowering detail on your site’s career page, but beyond that, is there any senior-level interest in cultivating it?

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A positive corporate culture is that seemingly fluffy, immeasurable variable that too many organizations overlook. Sure your company’s culture may be described in flowering detail on your site’s career page, but beyond that, is there any senior-level interest in cultivating it?

If you’re in HR, you know better. Especially when it comes to the importance of culture on employee satisfaction. But poor corporate culture doesn’t just impact employee morale; it can hurt your bottom line. According to a recent study summarized in Forbes, companies with a strong positive corporate culture grew 6x faster than those that lacked that kind of culture.

Yet another study cited in the Harvard Business Review found that a great corporate culture “can account for 20-30% of the differential in corporate performance when compared with ‘culturally unremarkable’ competitors.”

So how do you, as a single HR team member, improve it? There likely isn’t much room (if any) in the budget devoted to improving corporate culture. But from your unique HR perch, you have several free methods of impacting this critical metric. Here are six easy ways you can improve your organization’s culture without adding another line item to your budget:

  1. Unite around a mission: When people are all working around the same goal, they’re more likely to make decisions around that common goal. To help develop an authentic corporate mission statement, solicit feedback from different stakeholders across the organizational hierarchy. Once it’s finalized, display it prominently so employees, vendors and even customers orient themselves to your mission.
  2. Give employees a voice: An important part of developing any internal culture initiative is involving your employees. Let them help shape the culture conversation so they feel just as invested in the process as you do. Sure, there will be disagreements and delays but ultimately the buy-in will be that much more genuine.
  3. Take employee concerns seriously: When employees approach HR with issues or questions, do you cite the employee handbook or repeat verbatim the latest OSHA guideline? If so, your department may come across as insensitive. Even if your hands are figuratively tied by various regulatory bodies, begin each email or in-person response with a compassionate statement reflecting what the employee is facing.
  4. Provide volunteer opportunities: Offering community service opportunities doesn’t just help your company’s community reputation, it can help you recruit and retain top young talent. A 2007 study found that “62 percent of Gen Y respondents said they would prefer to work for companies that give them opportunities to contribute their talents to nonprofit organizations.
  5. Put the human back in human resources: So many employees assume that HR makes decisions based on budgetary concerns alone. In this case, transparency is a good thing. Don’t be afraid to open up to your employees about the likely painstaking process your team went through to come up with the decision that was made. Web-based or in-person town hall-style meetings are perfect forums for you to explain the decision process. Help employees understand that you made the choices that would best serve your employees while keeping your organization financially stable.
  6. Make smart benefit decisions: For the tough decisions you do need to make, be sure to make the right ones. Invest in benefits that employees love while helping your bottom line. They do exist! Click below to learn about how to implement one such benefit: telehealth.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[7 Reasons We’re Thankful for HR Professionals]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=20 2016-01-27T20:57:21Z 2013-11-27T17:59:59Z Society for Human Resources Professionals (SHRM) tweeted asking HR Pros what they were grateful for this holiday season. True, we’re not HR Pros ourselves, but we couldn’t help but tweet back that we’re grateful to those same HR heroes who make our lives easier every day.

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Why_we_love_HRSociety for Human Resources Professionals (SHRM) tweeted asking HR Pros what they were grateful for this holiday season. True, we’re not HR Pros ourselves, but we couldn’t help but tweet back that we’re grateful to those same HR heroes who make our lives easier every day.

Why do we respect our colleagues in HR so much? Here’s a list of 7 reasons we think they’re the real heroes of every organization:

  1. Team spirit– There’s nothing quite like walking into your office and seeing some seasonal surprise. Mini-footballs on the Friday before the Super Bowl or a holiday-themed potluck come December, the HR team always seems to foster a sense of community and excitement in any office.
  2. Patience– Ever notice that your HR manager smiles politely when you ask her for the fourth time to explain what exactly is a deductible? That smile is the smile of a saint! Or at least an HR pro with the patience of one.
  3. Objectivity– The one department that always keeps organizational goals above their own? HR. Think about it, there isn’t another department that asks “What’s best for everyone?” before they ask what’s best for our team.
  4. Dexterity– HR folks wear so many different proverbial hats. From legal expert to life coach to professional mediator, they need to become experts in basically every element of office life.
  5. Grit– The only team with the patience to find, vet, choose and ultimately implement a vendor over the course of months, sometimes even years, has pluck aplenty.
  6. Savvy– Organizing employee benefits is complicated. Like, really complicated. But any HR pro knows to ask each possible vendor the tough questions in order to find the best fit for their organization.
  7. Generosity– Who organizes company charitable endeavors or fundraisers? That’s right, the HR team. They not only put the needs of their organization first, they also think about the needs of the greater community.

Got any other reasons you’re thankful to the HR hero in your life? Share in the comments!

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[The 5 minute download on the NYeC Conference 2013]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=23 2016-01-27T20:58:00Z 2013-11-20T09:46:04Z Last week I was fortunate enough to attend New York eHealth Collaborative’s Digital Health Conference 2013 in New York City.

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Last week I was fortunate enough to attend New York eHealth Collaborative’s Digital Health Conference 2013 in New York City.  The hustle and bustle of New York still amazes me- how can there be this many people in one space?   Why are all 8 million New Yorkers headed to Penn Station at the same time?  This wild and beautiful city is a magnet for all types of industry, so it’s no surprise that it’s a hotbed of digital health technology innovation.  I had 48 hours to absorb as much as possible.

While my boss probably sent me with the purpose of evangelizing the idea of telehealth at each opportunity, I spent much of my time in wonderment of the brilliant (and often bizarre) world of health information exchange.   Here we are on the cusp of 2014, the golden age of instant global communication- it seems there is literally nothing you cannot find on the internet- and yet, there is a tremendous deficit in the field of healthcare informatics.

While your health information belongs to you, it’s not exactly central to you- it’s fragmented and scattered in all sorts of places:  static paper medical records, home-grown and incompatible electronic medical records, a revolving door of health insurance carriers, community pharmacies, and medical centers that may not communicate with each other. Often, information is just missing.   It’s like your three year old dumped a puzzle on the floor, fed some of the pieces to the dog and scattered the rest of the pieces around the house.  This puzzle holds the key to your best health, and collectively, holds the key to massive longitudinal health data that has the potential to spur unknown medical and technological breakthroughs.

New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC, pronounced “nice”) is tackling this through the development of the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (or SHIN-NY, pronounced “shiny”).   This is a network of health information that is shared by New York hospitals, private practices, nursing homes, clinics, and pharmacies that have chosen to join this information hub to facilitate health information exchange.  What does this mean to you?  NYec says it best:

“The patient returning to her family physician for follow-up care after a trip to a radiologist will not need to make any phone calls to request a copy of her results. Neither will her physician. The patient will not need to remember to have images or lab results sent, nor will she need to carry her own records to different doctors by hand. Her primary care physician, when securely connected to the SHIN-NY, will have complete, accurate, and private access to the information carefully gathered by each one of the specialists the patient has visited. Fewer mistakes will be made, fewer tests repeated, and money and time will be saved on administrative details. Most importantly, the patient and doctor will have more time together to discuss treatment options and recovery.”

The ingenuity of the SHIN-NY lies in one of its core features-   it has an Application Programming Interface that allows software engineers, academics, and entrepreneurs to develop some truly innovative tools utilizing the robust data contained in the network.   Throughout the conference there were untold numbers of innovators discussing their research and development of applications that deliver better disease management systems, high-tech visualization tools, analytical applications, and many more clinical health tools that were either too theoretical or nuanced for me to describe in any detail here.  The opportunities for innovation are truly limitless, and to-date over 20% of the people in New York have given consent to have their information contained in the network.

While the idea of integrated health is not revolutionary, the practice is.   Perhaps the best example of a highly functioning clinical network currently in existence is Kaiser Permanente, headquartered in California.   Now, part of me feels I should own up to my personal bias towards Kaiser since I was a Kaiser patient for several years right out of college- my healthcare was top-notch and cheap– but I think my fondness is solidly just.   Not only was Kaiser a pioneer of electronic medical records, they are the largest private sector electronic medical record system in the world and the largest nonprofit integrated health system in the nation with almost 9 million members.

To my sheer delight, George Halvorson, who served as Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente from 2002-2011 was the keynote speaker on the first day of the conference (I know, I need to get out more).   I already knew, as many in the healthcare industry do, about Kaiser’s delivery model and its benefits.  What I did not know was how much data mining could be done in a vertically integrated delivery system that has a world-class electronic medical system.   Kaiser has mountains upon mountains of longitudinal, real-world health information.  With this information Kaiser has cut HIV death rates in half, improved heart disease survival, reduced the rates sepsis and pressure ulcers, and reduced the number of broken bones in the Kaiser population.    Kaiser has made health information useful, actionable, and has truly improved the lives of its members.  At the end of the day, isn’t that the goal?

I do have one question for Kaiser: Those e-visits you promote as an alternative to steep in-office visits, are they high-definition video visits on your iPhone?

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[One Quick Way to Boost Employee Morale]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=26 2016-01-27T20:58:37Z 2013-11-08T06:00:39Z It can be tough to boost employees' energy and mood. Even when there isn't a big change, sometimes offices, like any human environment, go through ups and downs.

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It can be tough to boost employees’ energy and mood. Even when there isn’t a big change, sometimes offices, like any human environment, go through ups and downs. But we think we’ve found one way to make any of those down periods turn into an up:

Silly videos.

We know, it sounds ridiculous. But one hilarious way to put smiles on employee faces is to produce a video starring high profile employees. If it’s a spoof of a currently everywhere viral video then even better.

At American Well, we noticed everyone was sharing this Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake hashtag video. So to get folks out of their end of summer rut, we created our own version with employees from across different departments. That way, people would laugh and relate to their own colleagues and bosses acting silly.

The result? People think of their coworkers less as buttoned up suits and more as fellow humans. And isn’t that what human resources is all about?

Check it out and let us know what you think:

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Three Cost-Saving Benefits Employees Actually Love]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=28 2016-01-27T21:01:51Z 2013-10-16T13:00:31Z There are already several employee perks that can actually help boost your company'’s bottom line.

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brocolliicecreamGrowing up, we called my mom the Enforcer. She was the one who set bedtimes, curfews, and our daily mandatory minimum vegetable intake. My dad was the opposite. He was the kind of parent that would let us eat ice cream for breakfast. To this day, my mom always complains that she had to be the bad guy with us kids while my dad got to be the fun parent.

If you work in HR, you probably sympathize with my mom. Managing employee benefits is a lot like being a parent. After all, it’s easy to feel like the bad guy when you need to show savings at the expense of deeply treasured benefits. Or in the case of many parents, ensuring a balanced diet at the expense of an awesomely unhealthy breakfast.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. While parents everywhere are still waiting for an ice cream flavored vegetable, you HR pros are in luck. There are already several employee perks that can actually help boost your company’’s bottom line.

Here are our top picks:

Telecommuting
How much it saves: From saving money on office space to lowering IT costs due to decreased equipment use, Telecommuting can save as much as $6,500 per employee each year according to a recent study.

Why employees love it: Without a commute, overly-chatty coworkers, and distracting office politics, employees can spend work hours on actual work. In fact, employees report that they love telecommuting so much they would rather give up their favorite TV show (54 percent) and an extra hour of sleep (48 percent) than give up telecommuting.

Direct deposit
How much it saves: The cost of cutting paper checks week after week really adds up, with a switch to direct deposit saving companies an average of $176.55 per employee per year. In fact, a recent report found that that those employers who switched to direct deposit saved more than $600 million annually for the past ten years.

Why employees love it: Although direct deposit has been around since 1974, 27 percent of employees still receive paper paychecks primarily because their company doesn’t offer direct deposit as an option. Your paycheck is yours and should be yours to spend as soon as you receive it, not whenever you get around to depositing it.

Telehealth
How much it saves: When you can replace many of your employee’s trips to the ER and urgent care with a virtual consult, you can imagine it would save quite a bit. Based on our book of business, our employer clients typically save an average of $125 per doctor’s visit. Consider how many times your employees and their beneficiaries head to doctor and you can understand the immediate ROI inherent in telehealth. That of course doesn’t account for the time it saves employees, and thus the company they work for, who would have otherwise had to leave work without the service.

Why employees love it: Although call-back models typically see a lower satisfaction score,around 93% of people would recommend our service to a family and friends. Patients say they love how much time and effort it saves them and are pretty evangelical about theservice once they try it for the first time.

So those are our best bets, got any others? If you want to know more about how to implement telehealth specifically, download our e-book below for best practices.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[The On-Site Clinic Debate: Go Virtual or Traditional]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=31 2016-01-27T21:03:00Z 2013-10-09T07:38:28Z The real value of on-site clinics is being debated in benefit departments and C-suites across the country.

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kioskThe real value of on-site clinics is being debated in benefit departments and C-suites across the country. The bottom line is, in fact, the bottom line: can you make the math pencil?

While the benefits are obvious (improved access, increased productivity), so are the downfalls:

  • Building and staffing a clinic requires huge initial and ongoing capital investments;
  • It requires people to be at work to be treated, Part 1: This is counterproductive when trying to prevent the spread of illness;
  • It requires people to be at work to be treated, Part 2: Remote employees cannot utilize it;
  • It requires people to be at work to be treated, Part 3: Other beneficiaries cannot access it;
  • It requires people to be at work to be treated, Part 4: Employers that run multiple shifts need to keep the doors open round-the-clock;
  • The clinics require a full-time staff, and suffer from part-time use;
  • Full-time physicians are too expensive to staff; and NPs and PAs can only treat a subset of conditions; and
  • Providing other, non-acute services (e.g., allied health professionals) is incrementally, and often prohibitively, expensive.

For years, the debate has been waged about whether or not to have direct access to healthcare at the workplace. And, consequently, there’s been an ebb and flow in its use and effectiveness.

Well, the debate is changing. With the advent and widespread adoption of telehealth, on-site care is now not only extremely affordable, but conveniently delivers care to any and all employees and beneficiaries.

With American Well, there are many options to deliver care to on-site and remote employees and beneficiaries. Oh, and these include access to a nationwide network of doctors giving employees immediate (literally: our median wait time is 1 minute 42 seconds) access to real healthcare, 24x7x365. Here are a few ways you can use American Well to again make healthcare your best benefit:

Telehealth on the web and mobile devices:   No worksite clinic? No problem. American Well can be accessed on any computerApple or Android mobile device.

Telehealth via an unstaffed kiosk:  Our telehealth kiosk and console integrate with remote examination and biometric devices let doctors examine patients from a distance, which provides the most convenient way to let employees get healthcare at work.

“But will my employees like it?” you ask.  Don’t take our word for it: take theirs. American Well enjoys a 98% patient satisfaction rating. This is based on a survey completion rate of 80%, so we’d say their answer is yes.

As you and your colleagues debate whether or not to build an on-site clinic, or to keep an existing one, change the conversation. American Well can be your closing argument.

Learn more by downloading our slideshare below:

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Healthcare Logs On. Finally.]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=35 2016-01-27T21:03:29Z 2013-10-08T05:41:07Z Change is afoot in the healthcare system. Big change. Monumental change. Once-in-a-lifetime change. Brought to you by your neighborhood hospital.

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health-information-technology-salaryChange is afoot in the healthcare system. Big change. Monumental change. Once-in-a-lifetime change. Brought to you by your neighborhood hospital.

No, I’m not talking about ACA, EMRs, PCMH, ACOs, or any other in-vogue healthcare acronyms. I’m talking about real change in the way healthcare is delivered. Connecting patients and doctors more efficiently and conveniently than ever to before.

It’s not entirely unexpected, given the fact that most other industries (retail, financial, travel) cannot exist without online services, but healthcare is about to catch up. Even with uncertainty around Obamacare, most believe that widespread healthcare reform is imminent, not just a coin-flip possibility. With reform in place, hospital systems and delivery networks are rethinking their business models, and examining the potential to disrupt their industry.

What they’re finding is that reform doesn’t just have to be strictly a cost-cutting exercise. It’s a unique opportunity to change the ownership of healthcare, actively manage the cost of care, treat whole patients, and get a leg up on the competition in the process. But disruption requires true innovation.

This self-realization has kick-started hospital systems’ interest in technologies like telehealth that had been relegated to innovation labs. And while we’ve been in discussions with hospital systems for years, the flood gates are wide open. During this time we’ve seen enormous growth in the number of hospital systems inquiring about our services. In fact, hospital inquiries have literally eclipsed all other target audiences combined.

So, what’s behind this rapid change that’s making health systems come out of the woodwork? There are a number of factors fueling this sudden and extreme momentum.

Strategic directives

  1. Hospital systems as payers: And why not? With ACOs and narrow networks, they’re starting to absorb risk, they may as well reap the rewards.
  2. Employers as customers: Hospitals aren’t strangers to selling services to employers (e.g., work-site clinics). But as the industry changes, and progressive concepts likeconsumer transparency tools and narrow networks take hold, hospitals see significant potential for direct-to-employer services. And there are no bigger pushers of telehealth than employers.
  3. With consumerism, brand matters: In a consumer-driven market, local presence and reputation will be hypercritical. A defining and differentiating service is a huge benefit when driving brand loyalty. Conversely, lacking such a benefit could be a death knell.

Market forces

  1. Convenient care penetration: Retail and urgent care clinics are starting to take hold… and are stealing primary, acute care service market share. It’s high-time for hospitals to fight back with the ultimate convenient, low-cost form of care.
  2. The reimbursement flood gates have been compromised: Reimbursement is nearly always cited as Public Enemy #1 to widespread telehealth adoption. With the reimbursement and regulatory landscapes evolving at break-neck speed over the past 18 months, this barrier will soon be no more than a distant memory. You don’t need Watson to pencil the ROI.
  3. Consumer demand is at a breaking point: As phone calls to practices have ballooned in recent years, many reports have identified, consumers are chomping at the bit for convenient, efficient access to care. 7 in 10 patients would preferinteracting with doctors online, rather than in-person. And this market is in its infancy. By comparison, in mature markets, there’s an 80% acceptance of retail care. And this is more than a decade in the making.
  4. Online medical care is already happening: Manhattan reported this year that nearly40% doctors already communicate with patients electronically, even in the absence of broadly-available HIPAA-compliant solutions and reimbursement.

Technological Advancements

  1. Telehealth that delivers real healthcare to everyone: Telehealth has long been maligned as either extremely high-tech, high cost or low-tech, low-value. The pervasiveness of “telemedicine carts” and telephone and email hurt the industry’s credibility to deliver meaningful care. That’s why American Well has always strived to deliver real healthcare through ubiquitous consumer technologies. It’s not just video chat – and certainly not all about the telephone. It’s about creating a real, informed, clinically-contextualized healthcare experience for the patient and doctor.
  2. Broadband access: No doubt, widespread access to high-speed internet is critical. And with a race to 4G by all of the major wireless providers, and disruption happening by the likes of Google, truly nationwide access is right around the corner.
  3. Smartphones and tablets: It’s no big secret that mobile devices are changing the world. But the opportunity to allow devices to connect doctors and patients via high-def video is still unique, and just now on the verge of revolutionizing healthcare. The pervasiveness of these devices among all socio-economic groups will revolutionize healthcare universally.

This is a truly momentous and exciting development, as many believe that one of telehealth’s most direct paths to “tipping” is physician-offered and -prescribed services. Soon, you’ll be able to see your doctor online when and where it’s convenient for you.

Want to learn why healthy systems and telelhealth make such a perfect match? Download our slideshare below:

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Not All Telehealth Is Created Equal]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=39 2016-01-27T21:04:11Z 2013-10-04T16:31:43Z Telehealth is amazing, right? See a doctor online, right over your web cam or smartphone, right away. As in when you actually need to see a doctor.

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telehealthTelehealth is amazing, right? See a doctor online, right over your web cam or smartphone, right away. As in when you actually need to see a doctor.

It really is pretty amazing that this is possible… But, of course there’s a “but”. Not all telehealth is quite that good.

There are a lot of telehealth vendors out there that rely on a call-back model rather than immediate online and mobile video visits.

We at American Well think that a phone call with a customer service rep, and a call back from an anonymous doctor a few hours later just doesn’t feel like healthcare. Sure, we might be telehealth snobs, but with think something as important as healthcare deserves to be better. And with us, it is.

To be clear, we think that there are situations where a phone call is preferable to the alternative – like sitting in the ER in the middle of the night for a cold. But just being better than bad doesn’t make the offering good.

There are a few things that we think are absolutely critical to making telehealth a great healthcare experience. In fact, some of these are actually better online than in person. Below are a handful. Check out our Telehealth That Delights slideshare for more.

  • Immediate – In the age of the internet, who wants to wait? And you shouldn’t. Ever remember seeing a doctor in less than 2 minutes? Nope, didn’t think so.
  • Staffed, highly trained doctors – Doctors practicing medicine online should be committed to it, and good at it.
  • On any device – The choice of how to connect (by video, audio and chat; on the web or by mobile device) should be up to the person seeking care.
  • 24x7x365 – Getting sick doesn’t always happen during business hours.

So, telehealth really is great, and we think is the wave of the future. Don’t take our word for it. Just give us a shot. For a free visit, click here. Then try the other guys (if you can).

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Top 10 Must-See Moments at the NBGH National Conference on Health, Productivity and Human Capital]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=42 2016-01-27T21:05:36Z 2013-09-24T05:16:21Z It'’s basically the Woodstock for Employee Benefits,” I responded last week when my friend asked me about the National Business Group on Health’'s annual conference on Health, Productivity and Human Capital.

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nbgh“

It’’s basically the Woodstock for Employee Benefits,” I responded last week when my friend asked me about the National Business Group on Health’s annual conference on Health, Productivity and Human Capital.

And I was being serious too. If you’ve ever listened in on anNBGH webinar or read one of their reports, you know how much easier their insights make this often complicated field. Add in a dose of awesome attendees and you’re left with the must-attend conference of the Fall for us benefits geeks.

As you read through the agenda, you might be struck by just how many sessions you’ll want to go to. But since you probably also want to mingle with your fellow attendees and fully soak in the exhibit hall, we prioritized the highlights for you:

Wednesday, September 26

  • 10 am: Exhibit hall opens! We’ve got some surprises for all you lucky attendees, (hint: one of them starts with a ‘p’ and ends with a ‘hoto booth’) but the big draw will be demos of our brand new mobile app and kiosk. Come check us out at Booth 311 for some American Well-style fun.
  • 1:15 pm: Workshop Session B. Our best bet? Workshop Session B-2, also known as: “Critical Moments and Common Occasions: Seizing Motivation for Lasting Lifestyle Change.” Long title but this session merits it. They will teach us all about behavior change and how to leverage behavioral science theories to maximize employee engagement in company initiatives. If you read this blog regularly, you know we lovenew ways to boost employee engagement.
  • 3:45 pm: 2013 Staying@Work Survey Results. The joint NBGH-Towers annual survey is chock-full of stats, tips, and trends for the upcoming year in employee benefits. We’ll definitely devote a deep dive (or two) to the final report on this blog, but that initial presentation should be fascinating.
  • 4:45 pmOpening Keynote Address. For years, the Cleveland Clinic has been a thought leader in innovative healthcare practices. NBGH is bringing their rock star CEO, Dr. Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, to kick off the conference in style.

Thursday, September 26

  • 6 am: 5k Run Through DC or Yoga. We know, so early. But if you can make it out of bed, the sponsored yoga session and the 5k run will provide a much-needed energy boost for your day. Worst case scenario, you’re first in line for the breakfast that follows at 7.
  • 8 am: Plenary Session #1: Be Prepared: Strategies for Navigating Once-in-a-Lifetime Health Care Change. Since you’re up and fed, this session could not come at a better time. Just before the Affordable Care Act ramps up, this session will help you achieve better health outcomes and lower costs amid all the legislative change.
  • Noon: Luncheon in the Exhibit Hall. Provided you’ve already checked out our booth, there are so many great sponsors you need to see. We definitely want to drop by the Target booth since we’ve been hearing great things about the employee programs.
  • 3 pm: Plenary Session #3: Simplifying Health Care: Improving Employer and Consumer Engagement for Health and Well-being. If you don’t have time to check out Target’s booth, you can still attend their afternoon session to see how one of the largest American companies maximizes employee engagement.

Friday, September 27

  • 9:15 am: Special Address. Any HR pro is well-aware of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) thanks to their many mandatory posters and displays. Hear from the Director of NIOSH, Dr. John Howard, as he discusses the latest evidence surrounding employee health and safety.
  • 10 am: Plenary Session # 5: Winning over the C-Suite: Getting and Keeping Executive Focus on Health and Productivity Management. One of the biggest challenges HR departments face in rolling out new initiatives is getting and maintaining executive buy-in. At this session, learn the best ways to get your executives excited and engaged in your benefits strategy.

So those are our top picks. Have any others?

Want to see our platform live in action now? Click below to test out the American Well system.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[How to Choose a Telehealth Vendor]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=45 2016-01-27T21:06:11Z 2013-09-12T07:01:13Z There’'s a lot at stake when your company decides to invest in a telehealth service.

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Telehealth for Employees
Telehealth for Employees

There’’s a lot at stake when your company decides to invest in a telehealth service. After all, this should be a marquee benefit for you and an awesome initiative for your employees. But each vendor on the market talks a big game and many don’’t deliver. How can you see through the smoke and find the right telehealth partner for your employees?

Our best advice is to try each vendor yourself. Sounds obvious, we know. But you might be surprised to find that not all telehealth is created equal (or representative of what’s shown in a marketing brochure). Here at American Well, we know how important the vetting process is for our potential partners. That’s why we set up this free Telehealth Challenge to let any interested group test drive our solution before signing on the dotted line.

For example, many vendors suggest you can connect with a physician via video chat but few actually have this functionality. This is no small detail. Being able to see as well as hear your doctor really makes it feel like an in-person visit. If it feels like a less-quality experience, your employees will sniff it out… and not use it.

The alternative many vendors offer is a telephonic-only service. And if that sounds an awful lot like your health plan’s existing nurse line, you’re right. The classic call back model might work for basic health advice, but when you need to see a physician, you should actually be able to, you know, see the physician. You should save your budget for a benefit that will really make an impact for your employees and your bottom line.

So you understand the importance of kicking the proverbial vendor tires. But if you’re like most busy HR professionals, you don’t have months to test and retest each choice. You need a quick way to see how each solution works and determine if it would be a good fit for your company’s culture. Here’s a starting checklist of three important items a telehealth service will include and, more importantly, how you can determine if the vendor you’re looking at can actually deliver it:

  • Webcam warranted: After you enroll, do they ask for a phone number they can call you back on, or do they ask if you’d like to test your webcam? If it’s the former, you can bet you won’t be “seeing” a doctor any time soon.
  • Choose your doc: Once you register, are available physicians listed? If not, your employees won’t get to choose who they see which means they might choose not to be seen at all.
  • Easy breezy: How intuitive are the instructions? Do they ask questions in plain English or technical jargon? Make sure even your least tech-savvy employees could use it and love it.
  • Post visit: When you finish up the consult, can the doctor provide you with a summary of what was discussed? A doctor’s visit can go by in a flash so it’s critical to be able to refer to your physician’s instructions and advice afterward.

Want more tips on picking the right telehealth vendor? Download our free e-book and get the full list plus best practices for implementation.

Also, click below to take a short benchmark survey and see how you compare to peers at other companies that are already implementing or considering implementing telehealth.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Top 5 Ways to Engage your Employees in Company Initiatives]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=49 2016-01-27T21:34:05Z 2013-09-04T13:52:38Z If you want to get your employees on board with programs you'’re offering in the workplace, keep these five tips in mind to get the maximum engagement from your workforce.

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employee_engagement
Your employees have a lot going on, both in and out of work. They are constantly being bombarded with new initiatives and asked for their participation and commitment. If you want to get your employees on board with programs you’’re offering in the workplace, keep these five tips in mind to get the maximum engagement from your workforce.

  1. Start with executive support – Employees take their cues from leadership, so make sure your message starts at the top. Senior leadership should set the tone and expectation of employees and explain why the initiative is important and how it benefits everyone. Encouragement from a manger helps an employee feel like they are spending their time in the right place.
  2. Keep your message simple – Communicate to your employees with one clear, consistent message. Don’t leave it to them to muddle through a long description about what it is and why they should use it.  Instead, describe the program or product in simple terms and point out the top value propositions. Use one call to action in the message telling employees what to do next so they are not confused about expectations.
  3. Use a multi-channel, multi-touch approach – When you’re delivering your simple message, you need to reach employees where they spend time and listen. This will be different for everyone so the best way to accomplish it is through a multi-channel, multi-touch approach. This means use different modes of communications, such as print, email and web content, both at home and work. A broad strategy allows you communicate with employees how and where they prefer.
  4. Offer incentives – Incentives are a way to show employees that the action you are asking them to take is important to the company. Incentives are proven motivators and drive employees towards goals. In order for incentives to be effective, they must all be meaningful to the employee. If you’re not sure what works for your population, this is a good opportunity to get direct feedback from employees on what they prefer.
  5. Remove barriers – If employees are asked for participation but met with obstacles they are going to get frustrated and move on to the next task. Make sure you’re giving employees the time and tools to achieve the goals and take advantage of the product or service you’re offering.

Employees appreciate having services from their employer, just make sure you’re delivering them in a compelling way that showcases their value and always be conscious of the employee’s time. Tell us other tips that keep your employees engaged in the comments.

Is your company launching a new telehealth initiative? Download our free e-book below to maximize employee engagement.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Six ways to get your employees excited about open enrollment]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=51 2016-01-27T21:34:37Z 2013-09-03T13:17:51Z As summer winds down, many HR department printers heat up. That'’s when the open enrollment posters, brochures, and info sheets you’'ve spent all summer creating are finally ready for employee eyes.

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excited_employee
As summer winds down, many HR department printers heat up. That’’s when the open enrollment posters, brochures, and info sheets you’’ve spent all summer creating are finally ready for employee eyes.

But there’’s just one problem: they don’’t read it.

Despite the fact that open enrollment is the one time of year employees can make the important choices about their benefits and their future, few bother to actually learn about their options. But you can change that. Here are six tips you can use to increase awareness about open enrollment and decrease those panicked calls as it winds down.

  1. Step away from the send button– less is more, especially when it comes to information flooding employee inboxes. The New York Times reported that corporate employees send and receive an average of 105 emails per day. With that kind of volume, it’’s easy for an internal email to get lost in the Outlook shuffle, especially when it’’s competing against client demands and vendor invoices. But don’’t delete that office-wide distribution list just yet. Instead, consider sending a calendar invitation and see tip #2.
  2. Take it to the people– A global survey shows that 67 percent of workers say their organization would be more productive if their superiors communicated more often by personal discussion. For many large and dispersed organizations however, fireside chats just aren’’t an option. Granted, we may be a little biased, but video conferencing is an easy way to make everyone feel like they’’re in the same room and get your message across to a captive audience.
  3. You gotta keep ‘em separated- For these meetings, we recommend segmenting your employee base by departments. When it’’s a department-wide event, it’’s big enough to feel important but small enough for employees to feel as though their absence will be noted. After all, when your boss asks if you’’re going to the 3PM benefits meeting it’’s hard to say no. Plus, with a smaller group of close colleagues in the room, people will feel more comfortable asking questions which is critical for their overall comprehension.
  4. Market the magic- We know, you’’re in HR, not marketing. But when trying to generate buzz, you should follow the tactics your colleagues down the hall employ so well. There’’s a reason marketing professionals rely on campaigns, a coordinated series of promotional steps, rather than random, disparate messages. Try and unite your communication around a central theme that’’s easy to understand. Just imagine it: your engaged employees casually mention the importance of open enrollment at the water cooler. Suddenly, their less-aware coworkers jump on the open enrollment bandwagon.  Marketers call this viral growth, but you just call it awesome.
  5. Make it matter– Your employees are busy people, balancing their career with their personal life. Any messaging you craft needs to speak directly to their needs so they actually listen. The good news? Open enrollment is the one place their professional and personal worlds collide so it’s easy to make it matter for your employees. You can’’t understate the importance of these choices from their wallet to their waistline so just shoot it to them straight.
  6. Don’t disappoint– The best way to get your employees to devour all of your open enrollment information? Tell them something exciting, or at the very least, not depressing. With rising deductibles and premiums, you need a proverbial pot of gold at the end of your benefits rainbow to entice employee attention. Just make sure giving away this pot of gold carries a long-term ROI or you’’ll have to cut benefits even more next year. Whether you implement an exciting value-based benefit design wellness program or just a really easy to use telehealth solution, highlight the shiny new stuff as the headline when you message to the masses.

So those are our six tips. Got any others? What works for you to get employees excited, or at least engaged, around open enrollment? Share in the comments!

In the meantime, download our free Open Enrollment Promotional Plan to get your employees on the Benefits Bandwagon.

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Solution to the healthcare access shortage? Telemedicine]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=53 2016-01-27T21:35:17Z 2013-08-28T13:11:11Z There are a number of leading indicators pointing to a pending explosion in consumer demand for online medical care. From comic strips to industry reports, people are wondering why they can'’t just see a doctor online.

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hiandlois There are a number of leading indicators pointing to a pending explosion in consumer demand for online medical care.  From comic strips to industry reports, people are wondering why they can’t just see a doctor online.

Many of us don’t have fond memories of our doctors’ visits.  Calling and trying to get an appointment around our work and family schedules, usually several days later- the trip and the wait before we even see the doctor- and most times, the doctor is only evaluating for a few minutes before writing our prescription, or prescribing a referral for a specialist.  Going to the doctor is a hassle, and it’s not getting any easier.

It’s hard to not consider the access crisis coming in 2014.  In American Well’s home state of Massachusetts, 86.6 percent of residents were insured before Romney Care.  When the mandate went into effect in 2008, the percentage of lives covered rose to 94.2 percent. Not a huge correction, but enough to drastically alter the patient experience.  Prior to the mandate, it took an average of 33 days for a patient to see a new PCP when they were symptomatic.  Post mandate, the average wait time to see a doctor when sick was a whopping average of 50 days – an astonishing delay. Similarly, before the mandate, 64% of PCPs were accepting new patients. Now however that number is down nearly 30%.

With 30-40 million new patients flooding the gates in 2014 and beyond, we need technology to meet the demand, and bridge the gap between patient and provider.  There has never been a better time to turn to technology for a solution than now.

Want to give Telehealth a test drive? Click below to take the Telehealth Challenge:

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Fellow Physicians: Join the Telehealth Revolution]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=55 2016-01-27T21:40:29Z 2013-08-27T09:00:15Z It is a frustrating time to be a physician. Primary care doctors, on average, see 20 to 30 patients a day, maybe more, back-to-back. Our time out of the exam room is filled with a flood administrative work, phone calls, hospital rounds, shooing away pharmaceutical reps.

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telemedicineIt is a frustrating time to be a physician. Primary care doctors, on average, see 20 to 30 patients a day, maybe more, back-to-back. Our time out of the exam room is filled with a flood administrative work, phone calls, hospital rounds, shooing away pharmaceutical reps.

It’s hard work. Physically and mentally. And practicing medicine is less rewarding these days: just struggling to see more and more patients in order to make a living, and providing more and more “reactive” care; feeling like you are always in a hurry. But that’s not really what medicine is:  remember in medical school, when it was all about listening to patients, talking with them, helping them become healthier, overall?

So, if you will, imagine this. Wake up in the morning. Turn on your computer, log in and see patients.  Really see patients. Talk with them about their immediate concern, address other topics, close some care gaps. Prescribe, diagnose, encode. All online. No overhead, no staff to manage. Just you and the patient. And, the best part: get paid right then and there, no rejected claims, no hassle. Feel good about practicing medicine again, and get some of your life back.  This is the promise of Telehealth and Telemedicine.

Now, think about how many more patients you can see and spend time with each day, without extending your hours or laboring over more paperwork. 10%? 30%? Those are very real figures. And added capacity and efficiency that the healthcare system definitely needs come 1/1/14.

Healthcare is becoming more consumer-driven and consumers are demanding new ways to access care. Remember when retail clinics were the new thing. We physicians felt that these provided fragmented and substandard care. But consumers wanted easy access for minor complaints, and these clinics fulfilled that need. Consumers are still looking for easy access to physicians but now telehealth can be the answer.

What’s more, with telehealth physicians and practices can actually manage chronic disease and coordinate care. This is critical for those groups and networks entering accountable care arrangements to make good on quality promises, and reap the rewards of bearing risk. An aging patient population needs much more upkeep and maintenance than a single doctor can manage on his or her own. Collaborating and coordinating care is now a reality.

To be clear, I don’t believe telehealth or telemedicine will replace all or even most in-person visits, not by a long shot. But, until now, nothing like this has even come close.  And with the rapid evolution of technology, who knows what we’ll see in our lifetime.

So, I invite you to join the telehealth conversation, and perhaps dive into a revolution. The future of medicine is here.

Peter Antall, MD
Medical Director
Online Care Group
Watch the Online Care Group Video

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Meet Peter Antall, MD, President and Medical Director, Online Care Group]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=57 2016-01-27T21:40:58Z 2013-07-15T15:00:09Z Dr. Antall is a practicing pediatrician and President and Medical Director of Online Care Group.

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Dr. Antall is a practicing pediatrician and President and Medical Director of Online Care Group

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Ali Hyatt <![CDATA[Telehealth as an Employee Benefit]]> http://www.americanwell.com/?p=59 2016-01-27T21:41:29Z 2013-07-15T14:57:39Z A recent study by NBGH projected that 74% of employers will offer telehealth in 2016. So why are so many employers turning on telehealth?

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A recent study by NBGH projected that 74% of employers will offer telehealth in 2016. So why are so many employers turning on telehealth? Why do employees love it? Here are a few reasons why online doctor visits are becoming the norm for workforces across the country.

Why Employers want Telehealth

Want more on employers and telehealth?  Click below to take this short benchmark survey and see how you compare to peers at other companies that are already implementing or considering implementing telehealth.

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