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BCBS, American Well to Deliver Telehealth in Massachusetts, Louisiana

Imagine being able to speak immediately with a physician, ask questions, and get a diagnoses from your home or office at the click of a button over an iPad, iPhone, or Android device, or from any computer with a webcam and browser. Patients in Louisiana and Massachusetts soon will have access to this innovative care through American Well’s telehealth platform, giving patients real-time access to medical care when and where they need it.

Recently, at the America's Health Insurance Plans Exchange Conference in Las Vegas, BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts announced their respective technology partnerships with American Well and commitment to improving care by bringing online health care to their members.

“We are thrilled to partner with these telehealth innovators to reshape health care delivery and provide quality care throughout these communities,” said Roy Schoenberg, MD, MPH, CEO of American Well. “The introduction of Online Care will mean new options for those seeking care, whenever and wherever they need it at this important time in our health care history.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana plans to leverage American Well’s telehealth platform as an added feature of its new Quality Blue Primary Care (QBPC) population health and quality improvement program, and will create multiple avenues to use this technology in other programs.

Telehealth gives members more options for online interactions with their personal physicians, beyond physically traveling to a clinic to receive care. The American Well platform is also designed to enable clinicians to collaborate and coordinate care around patients, and increase access to specialty care and disease management. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana will begin using American Well’s telehealth platform within the QBPC program this fall, and will also offer this service directly to certain self-insured employer groups.

“This partnership will strengthen our commitment to improving the culture of health by bringing patients closer to their personal physicians,” said David Carmouche, chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. “American Well’s platform will create a new level of access to the increased quality of care that has been at the core of our commitment to our members, and it fits nicely into our efforts to boost health outcomes through our new QBPC program.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will pilot Online Care within provider groups in its groundbreaking Alternative Quality Contract (AQC). BCBSMA’s AQC is a health care budget system that focuses on improving quality of care and health outcomes while reducing health care spending growth. Each AQC group participating in the pilot will use Online Care to enhance the ability of its providers to manage their patient panels effectively and efficiently by extending online patient care beyond their physical practice and practice hours. The pilot will also allow these practices to increase the number of services available to patients today by bringing multidisciplinary providers together online to manage “whole person” care. The pilot is expected to launch in the fall of 2013 and will inform future adoption by additional providers throughout the Commonwealth.  

“We have committed, through our Alternative Quality Contract, to allow our providers to redesign the way they deliver care to improve quality and outcomes and increase efficiency,” said Gregory LeGrow, director of network innovation at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “Online Care will give our providers a critical tool in their efforts to better coordinate care for our members and help move us closer to our goal to make quality care affordable."

The Online Care platform offers patients a truly meaningful online visit. Physicians or other clinicians providing care can review the incoming patient’s clinical information, speak with and see the patient, prescribe medications if appropriate, suggest follow-up care, or follow up with the patient themselves. When the encounter is complete, the patient has the option to share the resulting record with his or her primary care doctor—supporting continuity of care. Online Care encounters are designed to abide by HIPAA rules, protecting the patient’s privacy and the security of their health information.

Source: American Well