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CVS plowing ahead in medicine on demand


Andrew Sussman, M.D., executive vice president and associate chief medical officer of CVS Health, discusses how the huge drugstore chain will continue to expand in an age of retail medical care as provided in its MinuteClinics.

As this Hospitals & Health Networks piece reports:

“Telehealth is one growth area that CVS is warming to as a way to provide low-cost services, and consumers are, too. Oliver Wyman’s study estimates that 57 percent of consumers are now familiar with the concept of a health and wellness visit conducted remotely via voice or video chat. Some 95 percent of CVS customers said they thought a telehealth visit was ‘just as good’ or ‘better’ than the traditional model, Dr. Sussman added.”

“CVS has partnered with three players in the telehealth space — Doctor on Demand, American Well and Teladoc — aiming to build out its capabilities. Pilots tied to those partnerships include making telehealth services available through the CVS app, having one company beam its doctors into CVS telehealth clinics to look at rashes and other superficial ailments or sending patients from a telehealth provider’s app into MinuteClinic if further in-person consultation is required.”

Big insurer to include phone and video consults in network


As insurers strive  to keep operating profits high, some are making it easier for patients to consult physicians by smartphone. This would presumably keep more patients out of the hospital.Consider UnitedHealthCare,  the huge Minneapolis-based company, which plans to include phone or video consults in its coverage network. Boston-based American Well, a telemedicine service,  is one of three providers approved for UHC’s system, reports The Boston Globe.The Globe reports that “UHC will also support visits through Doctor on Demand, based in San Francisco, and NowClinic, a mobile service offered by Minnesota-based Optum. At launch, UHC will only accept claims from people who pay for their own insurance, but the insurer says it intends to include health plans funded by employers next year.”

Thus the push to keep outpatients from becoming inpatients continues.



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