Video Visits With Patients Can Now Boost Your Bottom Line

Neil Chesanow

Disclosures

August 06, 2013

In This Article

Your Own Private Network

If you're on the panel of an insurer that uses the American Well system, you can videoconference with patients online by the hour, by the shift, or full time as meets your needs. Most patients you diagnose and treat will not be part of your office-based practice. However, you can also create a virtual "storefront," or subnetwork, within the payer's system. This lets you videoconference with your regular patients online as well.

"For example, if I'm a patient and I have an affiliation to a certain group of physicians, it would be better if the system could represent that affiliation, that relationship," Schoenberg says. "So we allow different physician groups to establish their own private domain that is branded to them on the general system of the payer. It has their logo, their faces, their welcome message. It's a place they can use to invite their own patients to interact with them. It's a private place within a very large system."

Storefronts are also a way for patient-centered medical homes and Accountable Care Organizations to create a place on the network for targeted patient populations.

"If I'm a payer and want to care for my very brittle diabetics, and I believe that they need an envelope of support that could improve their outcomes, I can create a place on the system that will be dedicated to helping diabetic patients deal with their condition," Schoenberg says. "And it will be populated by providers who can really be helpful -- not just primary care physicians but also endocrinologists, nutritionists, and nurse educators. All can be represented in this mini-network."

Is 2013 Telehealth's Breakout Year?

This year is the pivotal year for broad acceptance of telehealth, ATA's Linkous is convinced. A physician shortage, with millions of newly insured patients entering a system that isn't prepared to handle them, "is forcing even the worst Luddites in health and government to look seriously at new alternatives," he wrote in a recent article.[1] "Telemedicine is one of those 'new ideas' whose time has come."

Schoenberg agrees. "This tremendous momentum that we see in the market is the result of not one piece of the puzzle, but all of them fitting in in a choreographed fashion," he says. "The world will never be the same after 2013. It's one of those rare cases when stars align."

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