For the City Times
Marshfield Clinic Health System, which operates three hospitals and more than 50 clinics throughout Wisconsin, and American Well, the leading national telehealth technology company, are collaborating to offer virtual doctor visits to patients in communities served by MCHS clinics and hospitals.
VirtualHealth Now®, operated on the American Well® telemedicine platform, offers patients a more convenient way to access care when and where they need it. The service, which is expected to launch in February, is part of the Clinic’s growing telehealth and virtual care initiatives.
MCHS, with its more than 700 providers, first will use this service with its Care My Way hotline. Nurse practitioners with this service provide patients with a quick diagnosis and treatment for conditions such as flu, sinus infections, pink eye, urinary tract infections and whooping cough exposure that would normally require an office visit. The addition of virtual visits will increase quality of this service as well as enable expansion to include diagnosis and treatment of additional ailments.
The telehealth service will be rolled out quickly across the health system and expand to primary care and specialty care. It also will be used to intra-office consults such as when a primary care provider seeks a quick consult with a dermatologist.
“We wanted to partner with someone who’s going help us deliver health care more conveniently and cost-effectively to our patients,” said Dr. Narayana Murali, Marshfield Clinic executive director and MCHS chief strategy officer. “Our goals are to make sure we’re improving the quality of life of our patients and reducing patient costs while delivering the same high-quality and innovative care Marshfield Clinic is known for.”
American Well partners with top health plans, health systems and employers to deliver on-demand and scheduled doctor visits to their networks. It connects doctors and patients for immediate, live video visits over mobile and web. The company’s full-service telehealth platform includes smartphone, traditional phone, web, and kiosk-based care delivery.
“Marshfield Clinic shares our vision for telehealth as an extension of care delivery. Helping Marshfield care for their community and contribute to healthier living is something we are proud to support,” said Danielle Russella, president, customer solutions, American Well. “Together we will utilize innovative technology to extend Marshfield’s well-regarded clinical assets and provide remote care that is more accessible, affordable, and connected than ever before.”
The potential for patients, particularly from rural areas, to connect with is great. Telemedicine can be used to:
- Perform medication counseling.
- Deliver obesity counseling to at risk youth.
- Working with diabetic population, monitor blood sugar appropriately.
“We’re really going to use this to help manage chronically ill patients,” Murali said. “Telemedicine will be just part of medical care; another way to do an appointment and extend the way we deliver care now.”