The Doctor Will See You Now… On Your Computer
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Members Gain Convenience, Accessibility to Medical Care via Integrated Telehealth Benefit
MASON, Ohio | JULY 25, 2013 — Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield members now have a more convenient way to see a doctor for non-emergency needs when their own doctor is not readily available. By accessing the new LiveHealth Online service, at livehealthonline.com, via computer, members can choose a doctor and address their health issues live via two-way video.
This new online care service, LiveHealth Online, launched initially to small and large fully-insured customers and self-funded employers, and will eventually encompass all Anthem members in Ohio. Anthem is one of the first insurers to incorporate an online care solution as a standard benefit. Doctors will offer members live consultations from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, including holidays, and will soon be offering service 24/7.
“LiveHealth Online offers a secure means of reaching board-certified primary care doctors on demand, especially when consumers find it inconvenient to leave work or home to get to a doctor’s office,” said Erin Hoeflinger, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio. “Our members and employer customers are telling us now, more than ever, that they need access, convenience and affordability in health care. LiveHealth Online is one of many ways we are able to respond to and meet their needs.”
Online care, for non-urgent medical conditions, is more convenient, accessible and affordable than a visit to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic. Members can initiate online encounters from their home or workplace at any time, via live audio/video and secure chat through a computer. Patients use online care typically to communicate with a doctor about colds, aches, sore throats, allergies, infections as well as wellness and nutrition advice. A complete record of each encounter is created, and with the patient’s permission, can be forwarded to their primary care doctor – supporting continuity of care and collaboration among providers.
“LiveHealth Online represents a true shift in health care delivery by using technology to make it easier and more consumer friendly,” said Dr. Roy Schoenberg, president and CEO of American Well, which provides the technology powering LiveHealth Online. “At this critical juncture in our nation’s health transformation, Anthem is taking a lead in improving access to care and bringing a better health care experience to its members.”
Telehealth is an accepted mode of health communication, especially in rural areas where many people have to drive hours to visit a doctor. A November 2012 study from the University of Pittsburgh published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that e-visits – using e-mail and electronic patient health records only – had similar outcomes to in-person visits for treating sinus and urinary tract infections.
As doctors participate in accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes, LiveHealth Online can offer their patients an alternative to unnecessary and costly ER and urgent care visits. It can also lessen the burden on primary care doctors who are increasingly feeling the pressure from the growing doctor shortage. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed.
LiveHealth Online is offered through UniCare and powered by American Well, which are separate companies.
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Community Insurance Company, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinIn, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.
About American Well
American Well™ brings healthcare into the homes and workplaces of patients. Its Online Care Suite is the industry’s leading telehealth solution, connecting providers and patients for live, immediate, and clinically meaningful encounters using the Web or phone. With its patented technology, the Online Care Suite removes traditional barriers to healthcare access – such as geography, mobility, and time constraints – while enabling providers to deliver quality care in a flexible, convenient manner, generating revenue along the way.