Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will partner in a telemedicine pilot program with Boston-based telehealth vendor American Well.

The pilot, called WellConnection, will enable select patients to engage with their healthcare provider through online video, instead of going to the doctor’s office. Providers in the two-year pilot will assess and treat patients with select health conditions using video visits. For example, some may use it for check-ins to monitor recovery from concussions, others may use video visits for wellness coaching, to follow up with patients on certain medications, or to check-in after a procedure or hospitalization to monitor recovery and help prevent re-hospitalizations.

Initial users in the pilot will be the Emerson Physician Hospital Organization, based in Concord, and Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization, in Lowell, plus dedicated Blue Cross nurse care managers. Both groups participate in the Blue Cross Alternative Quality Contract (AQC), a payment model fostering shared responsibility for both improving care and moderating the unsustainable rate of increase in healthcare costs.

According to Blue Cross of Massachusetts, the AQC is currently one of the largest private payment reform initiatives in the United States and has become a model for state and national policymakers.

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