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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Doctor Will See You on the Webcam Now


Depending on cost this might work very well for people without health insurance. Many illnesses require a simple prescription for an antibiotic.

Many people I know can't get into a doctor on the first day when they start feeling ill. As a result, the lack of immediate treatment and a prescription drug causes the illness to linger and lengthens the recovery time.

This is an interesting counterpoint to retail clinics and behind the counter generic antibiotics.
clipped from blogs.wsj.com
To the Health Blog, American Well sounds like a company that’s selling doctor visits via webcam. But Roy Schoenberg, the CEO, tells us we don’t get it.
“The fact that you can engage in a Web video chat with a provider is a nice exercise, but it’s not the fundamental offering of the system,” is how he put it in a recent conversation.

The company’s business model is to partner with insurers, who agree to reimburse in-network doctors for patient e-visits. Docs who choose to work with American Well can sign on whenever they want and see patients who are looking for an online visit.

Today, the company announced its first big customer: HMSA, Hawaii’s Blue Cross Blue Shield provider, which has just under a million members and is the state’s biggest insurer.

The visits are reimbursed through relatively new standardized billing codes that allow docs to get paid for electronic visits. The insurer pays the doc, and American Well takes a cut. The company also charges an up-front licensing fee.

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