Health insurers are now letting millions of patients get seen online first in an effort to reduce unnecessary hospital visits and overall healthcare costs.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, WellPoint and Aetna, among other health insurers, are embracing the major expansion of telemedicine. This month, WellPoint started offering 4 million patients the ability to have e-visits with doctors, while Aetna says it will boost online access to 8 million people next year from 3 million now, the report said.
WellPoint started incorporating electronic visits as a benefit for more than 4 million members in 10 states in July and UnitedHealth Group (UNH), the largest healthcare insurer by market capitalization, began a pilot in January with 310,000 people in Nevada. Both companies also offer access to the American Well service for a flat fee.
The insurers are joining with companies such as Teladoc, MDLive and American Well Corp. that offer virtual visits with doctors who, in some states, can prescribe drugs for anything from sinus infections to back pain.
In June, the American Medical Association offered new guidelines to shape telemedicine’s development, saying that it's important for a valid patient-physician relationship to be established before the technology is used in practice.
North Carolina-based health IT company Lenovo Health and Orbita, a Boston-based connected home healthcare company, launched a virtual home care solution and showcased the technology at HIMSS17 in Orlando.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has announced five winners in Phase 2 of the “Move Health Data Forward” Challenge, a contest to develop solutions to help with the flow of health information.
At the HIMSS17 conference in Orlando on Monday, The National Association for Trusted Exchange (NATE) unveiled NATE’s Blue Button Directory (NBBD) and is demonstrating it as part of the Federal Health Architecture’s demonstrations in the HIMSS17 Interoperability Showcase.
At the HIMSS17 conference in Orlando, the nonprofit Regenstrief Institute announced a partnership with analytics vendor Health Catalyst involving Regenstrief's artificial intelligence-powered text analytics technology.
Cybersecurity has been elevated to a central concern for healthcare providers, with more attention at the board level and the C-suite, according to a new survey by Orem, Utah-based KLAS Research and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The study found that 42 percent of organizations have a vice president or C-level official in charge of cybersecurity and for 39 percent of organizations, the head of cybersecurity is at the director level.