Medibank (Melbourne) and American Well Inc. (Boston) entered into a long-term agreement to bring Online Care services to the people of Australia and New Zealand, powered by American Well’s telehealth technology. Medibank's launch will include a specific focus on making convenient Online Care services available to general practitioner practices, for use with their patients and target populations, as well as to employer groups, rural communities, and to millions of consumers in both countries. The agreement marks the first deployment of American Well’s telehealth technology outside of the United States.
Medibank’s Online Care service will improve access by allowing consumers to come together with a variety of healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses and other clinicians, for either on-demand or scheduled encounters. Using two-way video, secure text chat and/or phone, providers will be able to review patients’ clinical information, discuss symptoms, provide medical advice, and diagnose and prescribe medications as appropriate. At the end of each online consultation, a record will be captured automatically that the consumer can share with appropriate healthcare providers including their personal general practitioner, maintaining continuity of care.
With one of the most dispersed populations in the world, Australia is highly focused on providing equal access to quality healthcare for its residents, whether they are located in major cities, in rural areas, or are even working in other countries on behalf of their employers. Telehealth is a key vehicle for improving that access. Last year, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced an ambitious goal to deliver 500,000 online consultations between patients and general practitioners and specialists in just four years, supported by hundreds of millions of dollars in targeted investments.