Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Hawaii is the first health plan to deploy new product
Washington, DC — April 13, 2010 — Today at the World Health Care Congress, American Well™ unveiled a new product, Online Care Team Edition. Team Edition brings live, on-demand specialist care consults into primary care physicians’ exam rooms, reducing the delay, inconvenience and cost associated with the traditional patient referral process. In addition, it introduces the Online Medical Home capability that enables multi-disciplinary clinical collaboration around a given patient. The Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA), the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan of Hawaii, will become the first health plan to deploy Team Edition as part of its investment in the Hawaii County project.
“In a time that calls for change and innovation in healthcare services, we are harnessing technology to transform the delivery and availability of specialty care,” said Ido Schoenberg, chairman and CEO American Well Inc. “Team Edition extends quality specialty care into the hands of the patient’s own primary care physician allowing them to render and coordinate much broader, timely and convenient care for their patient panel. The primary care practice is now the gateway to the rest of the healthcare system, irrespective of its location.”
The launch of Team Edition accompanies recent market and clinical research documenting the benefits of improved provider-to-provider collaboration. A recent meta-analysis of 23 studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that improved interactive communication between primary care physicians and specialists was associated with improved patient outcomes and delivered a “better return on investment than many clinical interventions”.i
Online Care Team Edition provides health plans with two new capabilities:
- Provider-To-Provider allows network primary care physicians to consult with specialists in real time, during the in-person office visit of their patient. Physicians can search for affiliated available specialists (e.g. allergists, cardiologists) and initiate an Online Care consult immediately. During the consult, the two professionals can evaluate physical findings, lab and imaging results, eliminating redundant, time consuming workups. The system automatically captures an electronic record of the consultations, supporting continuity and accountability of care.
- As part of the transition to the Accountable Care Organization Model (ACO), the Online Medical Home further equips the PCP to act as the coordinator of patients who need complex care by allowing multiple providers (of various specialties) to actively engage, from their respective locations, around a given patient. Medical Home team members can review the patient’s health information, including transcripts of previous consults with other providers, and collaborate by live audio/video engagement or by posting their notes and guidance onto the patient’s collaborative chart.
“The introduction of Online Care Team Edition reflects HMSA’s commitment to making the promise of the medical home a reality in our state,” said Mike Gold, HMSA executive vice president and chief operating officer. “As we launch into our second year of providing immediate, 24/7 access to physicians on the Islands, Team Edition is the natural next step. We believe that it will increase access to specialty care in the communities that need it most.”
i – Robbie Foy, MBChB, PhD; Susanne Hempel, PhD; Lisa Rubenstein, MD, MSPH; Marika Suttorp, MS; Michelle Seelig, MD, MSHS; Roberta Shanman, MLS; and Paul G. Shekelle, MD, PhD. “Meta-Analysis: Effect of Interactive Communication Between Collaborating Primary Care Physicians and Specialists”. Annals of Internal Medicine, February 16, 2010.