Marylhurst University MBA Program
American Well, founded by brothers Ido and Roy Schoenberg in 2006, has created an Online Care system that allows consumers to connect with physicians from their homes or offices (Ofek and Laufer, 2011). In April 2010, American Well introduced a new product, Team Edition, which leveraged the existing Online Care system to bring live, on-demand specialist care consults into primary care physicians’ exam rooms. The new product also introduced the Online Medical Home capability that enables multi-disciplinary clinical collaboration around a given patient. Ido Schoenberg stated in a press release for Team Edition, “In a time that calls for change and innovation in healthcare services, we are harnessing technology to transform the delivery and availability of specialty care. Team Edition extends quality specialty care into the hands of the patient’s own primary care physician allowing them to render and coordinate much broader, timely and convenient care for their patient panel. The primary care practice is now the gateway to the rest of the healthcare system, irrespective of its location” (American Well, 2010). Value, Customers and Potential Barriers for Team Edition
American Well has created Team Edition with a few different customers in mind. First, patients benefit from the connected care offered by Team Edition (Ofek and Laufer, 2011). In a traditional model, patients who need to be evaluated by a specialist are referred by their PCP, see the specialist and then return to the PCP for follow up, each time navigating and waiting for an appointment and waiting for the specialist and PCP to exchange medical record and visit reports. Team Edition is designed to enhance and improve the patient experience by providing a direct and seamless connection to specialists while the patient is in the PCP office. The lower cost access to specialty care offered through Team Edition should have growing appeal as consumers pay increasingly more out of their own pocket for healthcare (Ofek and Laufer, 201, p.9). Ido and Roy Schoenberg consider their target market for this new product to be healthcare delivery systems, such as hospitals, clinic chains and other physician groups (Ofek and Laufer, 2011, p.14). They should also include home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities and any other clinical services that would benefit from better connectivity with primary care. Both primary care and specialist physicians can use Team Edition to help improve efficiency. For specialists in particular, this product offers a lower cost solution for providing expertise to rural and outreach locations. A tool that connects primary care and specialists can also provide a more efficient way to deliver multi-disciplinary care and provide chronic disease care. This is important in the new landscape of accountable care organizations (ACOs) and healthcare exchanges, particularly since ACOs are required to create ways to promote evidence-based medicine and patient engagement, report on quality and cost measures, and coordinate care. The patient-centered medical neighborhood requires connected care delivery between PCP and specialist (Standards for Patient-Centered Medical Home, 2011). Furthermore, with the ever increasing shortage of primary care and specialty physicians and accelerating efforts to reduce healthcare costs, practices are being challenged to take on larger patient panels. This means practices are looking for ways to care for patients, manage populations and deliver quality care without bringing the patient into the office. Team Edition offers a new path to clinical collaboration and co-management. Some barriers to adoption of this technology include defining payment to specialists and PCPs. Reimbursement remains a problem. Medicare only reimburses for telemedicine if the originating site (where the patient...