Two Blues go for telehealth

June 21, 2013 in Medical Technology

BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will provide online healthcare to their members with technology from American Well.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana plans to leverage American Well’s telehealth platform as an added feature of its new Quality Blue Primary Care population health and quality improvement program, and will create multiple avenues to use this technology in other programs.

Telehealth gives members more options for online interactions with their personal physicians, beyond physically traveling to a clinic to receive care. The American Well platform is also designed to enable clinicians to collaborate and coordinate care around patients, and increase access to specialty care and disease management. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana will begin using American Well’s telehealth platform within the QBPC program this fall, and will also offer this service directly to certain self-insured employer groups.

[See also: Telehealth sees explosive growth.]

“This partnership will strengthen our commitment to improving the culture of health by bringing patients closer to their personal physicians,” said David Carmouche, chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, in a press statement. “American Well’s platform will create a new level of access to the increased quality of care that has been at the core of our commitment to our members, and it fits nicely into our efforts to boost health outcomes through our new QBPC program.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will pilot Online Care within provider groups in its Alternative Quality Contract. BCBSMA’s AQC is a healthcare budget system that focuses on improving quality of care and health outcomes while reducing healthcare spending growth. Each AQC group participating in the pilot will use Online Care to enhance the ability of its providers to manage their patient panels effectively and efficiently by extending online patient care beyond their physical practice and practice hours.

The pilot will also allow these practices to increase the number of services available to patients today by bringing multi-disciplinary providers together online to manage “whole person” care. It is expected to launch in the fall of 2013 and will inform future adoption by additional providers throughout the Commonwealth.

[See also: Mass General launches telehealth pilot.]


“We have committed, through our Alternative Quality Contract, to allow our providers to redesign the way they deliver care to improve quality and outcomes and increase efficiency,” Gregory LeGrow, Director of Network Innovation at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, said in a press statement. “Online Care will give our providers a critical tool in their efforts to better coordinate care for our members and help move us closer to our goal to make quality care affordable.”

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