Connected Health: Lessons Learned

Roy Schoenberg MD and CEO of American Well Systems, a panelist at Partners HealthCare’s Center for Connected Health Symposium discussed the many lessons learned using connected health. He sees telehealth expanding from largely providing urgent care to providing better care in the home to treat chronic conditions.

Recently, American Well updated Armwell™ and HealthKit™ so now patients can choose whether to share key health metrics such as heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels as well as nutrition and fitness information with a doctor.

Schoenberg said, “Telehealth has been held back because the need for longitudinal health data to manage chronic conditions was too difficult to capture and to share remotely.” Today, American Well is able to track and share longitudinal health data in a video visit so physicians are now able to perform comprehensive clinical assessments, provide ongoing case management, and accomplish easier follow-up for home-bound patients.

Looking towards the future, Schoenberg reports, “Apple’s entry into home and biometric healthcare, coupled with the power of telehealth is poised to create a new ecosystem where fact-based quality healthcare can be delivered by physicians to patients with chronic medical conditions that are home-bound.”

He was on the panel with other executives from Wellpoint, Mercy Health, and the Veterans Administration. Martin Silverstein, MD, EVP and Chief Strategy Officer for WellPoint Inc. announced that the company has been rebranded with the name Anthem.

He continued the conversation by reporting how WellPoint is now marketing an American Well video service called “LiveHealth Online” 24/7 to its members and other consumers living in the states where telehealth is legal.

Shannon Sock, EVP for Strategy and CFO of Mercy Health announced that Mercy has just topped out the world’s first virtual telehealth care center which will open next year.

Last February USDA awarded a $382,748 grant to Mercy to help provide greater access to healthcare in some of the most rural communities in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. With this funding Mercy will help three school districts, six medical clinics, and one critical access hospital, as well as pilot a new concept at the Mercy Healthspot Clinic in Oklahoma.

Representing the Federal government, Neil Evans, MD, Co-Director for Connected Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs described how the veteran population is aging which means that connected health is critically needed to serve all of the senior veteran population. This is going to require robust communication tools to access and share data.

As for traditional telehealth, the VA uses 4,500 video endpoints across the system which enables a portion of the veteran population to receive some form of telehealth with some veterans now receiving all virtual care at the VA. In the future, the VA’s rapidly growing connected health program will continue to grow powered by mobile health to provide more team-based care to more veterans.

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