First health system in the U.S. to use innovative service to improve access to quality care, with special focus on the poor and vulnerable
St. Louis, MO and Boston, MA — February 4, 2010 — As part of its efforts to improve the healthcare experience of those it serves and better meet their needs throughout their lives across the entire healthcare continuum, Ascension Health has reached an agreement with American Well™ Inc. to bring Online Care services to communities served by Ascension Health’s local Health Ministries. Ascension Health will be the first health system in the United States to offer American Well’s Online Care.
“Ascension Health’s Strategic Direction guides us to establish lifelong relationships with patients. As a result, we have been working with our local Health Ministries across the country to assess community needs and explore new models of healthcare,” said Hyung T. Kim, MD, MBA, Managing Partner of Ascension Health Transformational Development. “Our goals include finding new ways to connect people with the services they need and enabling our affiliated physicians to provide care that is more efficient for them and more convenient for their patients. This new technological capability will allow us to advance both those goals, improving the lives of those we serve and the physicians with whom we work on a daily basis.”
The Online Care service will allow eligible patients to engage in immediate live encounters with primary care physicians and other clinicians affiliated with Health Ministries of Ascension Health. Patients will be able to initiate these encounters from their home or workplace at any time, via the Web or a regular phone. During each live interaction, care providers will be able to review the patient’s clinical information, speak with and usually see the patient, prescribe medications as appropriate, and suggest follow-up care.
In keeping with the mission of Ascension Health, a key focus of the deployment will be the creation of an Online Care offering specifically for poor and vulnerable populations. This service eventually will allow eligible individuals to receive online medical services at no charge. In addition, participating Health Ministries will identify physical sites in underserved areas where individuals will have the option to conveniently access Online Care services.
“As we explore innovations in care delivery for the benefit of all individuals, a major focus always is to find ways to expand those innovations to those who are poor or vulnerable,” Dr. Kim said. “As Online Care evolves, we hope to provide even better access to quality primary care for those who need it most.”
The service will begin in spring 2010 at a yet-to-be-named local Health Ministry of Ascension Health, with plans to expand the service following the successful initial deployment.
“We share Ascension Health’s goal to increase access to quality healthcare,” said Ido Schoenberg, MD, CEO of American Well, Inc. “As the first health system to offer Online Care, Ascension Health will pioneer the use of this innovative technology to serve those patients in greatest need.”
About Ascension Health
Ascension Health (www.ascensionhealth.org) is transforming healthcare by providing the highest quality care to all, with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable. Ascension Health, which provided $868 million in care of persons who are poor and community benefit last year, is the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system. Our Mission-focused Health Ministries consist of 113,000 associates serving in more than 500 locations in 19 states and the District of Columbia.