Benefits of Online Care for patients, health providers, and health insurance companies a)Benefits for patients
With Online Care wait times are drastically reduced from days to hours or minutes and patients do not need to travel to the clinic. This service can be accessed at home providing privacy as well as protection from infections that can be contracted from other patients in the waiting area. The service is much cheaper compared to clinic visits. Patients can also instantly seek second opinion. There are no time constraints and PCPs are available on-demand with greater choice. The patients can easily manage and access their medical records and information online. Online care will allow for immediate professional medical attention leading to better and earlier diagnosis of disease. It is mentioned in the case that 17% of people under age 65 paid out of pocket or avoided clinic visits due to high costs. These people can also benefit from using this service. b)Benefits for health providers
Online Care provides flexibility of time and location to the physicians. They can log-in anytime and anywhere – at home or their clinic. New physicians will not need to set up most of infrastructure required and can start practicing medicine almost immediately. The service also provides a great opportunity to earn extra money. It can attract retired physicians due to its flexibility, adding to the supply of experienced physicians and alleviating shortage of physicians. Since there is no physical contact, this will also reduce exposure to infections through patients. Along with that, providers can offer personalized care since patient information is readily available to address patient’s gaps in the care on a real time basis during the online session. c)Benefits for health insurance companies
Online Care provides a health insurance company with a better and cheaper way to proactively solve healthcare issues, improve member satisfaction and retain members. It will be cheaper ($25) than clinic visits ($75), reducing costs by 66%. This is also a great promotion tool to improve its image as a caring company that is concerned about its member’s health. The company can leverage its network of PCPs to attract non-members and create additional revenue streams. It can also help people who do not have access to healthcare especially in remote locations. Prompt medical attention will lead to less expensive complications in the future which could otherwise arise due to delayed medical attention. It can also help them retain their PCPs by sharing cost savings with them and offering flexibility. This is also a great way to attract the employer group business since they will see a clear benefit in partnering with an insurance company that provides Online Care.
Potential barriers to success of Online Care
The biggest barrier to success of Online Care could be the current unpredictable healthcare environment and economic recession. This has led to spending freezes and slow adoption by insurance companies, which are American Well’s (AW) core target market. AW’s success also depends on how well it promotes usage and adoption by patients and physicians. If patients are not comfortable using the technology or if the user experience is not satisfactory then AW’s service might not be that well accepted. Some patients would prefer meeting the PCP in person versus online and older patients might not be comfortable using the technology. Some PCPs may doubt the effectiveness in diagnosing symptoms online rather than a hands-on examination. As a result, there could be issues that arise due to wrong diagnosis being made. If AW is not successful in signing up more and more doctors, then they may not be able to attract many patients to use the service. Both patients and physicians really need to see the value and trust in using Online Care for it to be successful. Also, comprehensive AMA codes need to be issued and these codes need to be...