As part of ongoing efforts in the area of telemedicine, CVS Health has teamed up with three major telehealth companies—American Well, Doctor On Demand and Teladoc—to “explore how direct-to-consumer telehealth providers, retail pharmacy and retail clinic providers” can collaborate in this rapidly growing area of technology.

“With the increased demand for patient care anticipated in future years as a result of the expansion of coverage through the Affordable Care Act, the primary care physician shortage, aging of the population and epidemic of chronic disease, telehealth gives us the opportunity to offer high quality care to an expanded group of patients in a variety of convenient and cost-effective locations,” said Andrew Sussman, M.D., executive vice president/associate chief medical officer of CVS Health and president of MinuteClinic, in a written statement.  

Under the teaming arrangement, CVS Health is conducting several telehealth pilots and is evaluating the ability of MinuteClinic providers to consult with telehealth physicians to expand the scope of care offered at those sites.  In addition, MinuteClinic will continue to provide telehealth care to patients in CVS retail stores and will explore serving as a site for in-person exams to facilitate telehealth medical visits. 

Also See: CVS Pilot Shows Big Patient Satisfaction with Telehealth

A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine revealed that 95 percent of MinuteClinic patients were highly satisfied with the quality of care they received, the ease with which telehealth technology was integrated into the visit, and the timeliness and convenience of their care.

According to new research from market intelligence firm Tractica, telehealth video consultation sessions will increase from 19.7 million in 2014 to 158.4 million per year by 2020. 

Though clinical consultations currently account for more than three-quarters of the market, the firm predicts that growth over the next several years will be especially strong in non-clinical settings. In fact, Tractica forecasts that non-clinical video consultations will outnumber clinical consultations by 2019.

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