Cleveland Clinic, American Well to create telemedicine platform

The Cleveland Clinic will work with American Well, a vendor of digital health technology platforms, to host a telemedicine platform for the provider.

The joint venture, called The Clinic, will offer online access for patients to receive a telemedicine consultation from their homes or other sites via American Well’s secure digital platform. Executives for the Ohio-based organization say the intent is to provide broad access to comprehensive and high-acuity care services to patients.

The telemedicine-based Clinic is intended to serve patients worldwide, giving them access to Cleveland Clinic specialists to get opinions, recommendations and assistance for a variety of conditions.

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“Digital health is one of the fastest growing segments of the healthcare industry,” says Tom Mihalgevic, MD, CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic. “There is incredible demand for medical care to be delivered in more convenient and integrated ways.”

The Clinic’s partnership with American Well expands Cleveland Clinic’s growing use of telehealth to provide virtual care. For example, in 2018, the number of virtual visits at the clinic rose by 68 percent.

Further, The Clinic expects its telehealth growth to double the number of patients served during the next five years, with half of outpatient visits being virtual as patients access the American Well platform for consultations.

Cleveland Clinic and American Well began work on telehealth programs in 2014, says Will Morris, MD, executive medical director at Cleveland Clinic Innovations.

“Patients want convenience and have healthcare delivery brought to them,” he notes. “The convenience of a consultation is second to none, bringing peace of mind and care coming to the patient.”

The provider and vendor have worked on various projects for the past five years and now have come back together as their telehealth platforms have matured. They expect to create a joint venture company to take Cleveland Clinic to a new level.

Costs have not yet been built out but the team is looking at the economic value and finds the status quo of telehealth to not be affordable to many payers, providers and patients. “We want to deliver when ready to deliver value and not just technology,” Morris says. “We are blessed with the resources of Cleveland Clinic and confident of our skills to offer virtual care that is reasonably affordable.”

Consequently, The Clinic will leverage its physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, as well as other caregivers such as counselors and grief specialists, Morris concludes. “Leadership is leaning in and saying this is a tremendous opportunity to offer the right services and affordability.”

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