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Partners, Teladoc Launch Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth Service

Boston-based Partners HealthCare has developed a direct-to-consumer telehealth service to give its health plan members immediate access, via video, to urgent care services.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- Partners HealthCare is joining the direct-to-consumer telehealth movement with the launch of an on-demand virtual visit service for urgent care.

The Boston-based health system is partnering with Teladoc Health on Partners HealthCare On Demand, a connected care platform that enables users to connect via video with Partners clinicians.

The service, managed by Partners Connected Health in collaboration with the Partners Community Physicians Organization and the health system’s Neighborhood Health Plan, will be available only to Neighborhood Health Plan members beginning in 2019, at the same time that the health plan changes its name to AllWays Health partners.

“Partners HealthCare has long been committed to a patient-centric care delivery approach, and our telehealth strategy will help to improve patient access to care, and empower individuals to be more engaged with their health,” Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, vice president of Connected Health at Partners HealthCare, said in a press release.  Moving forward, this will be a big part of our care delivery strategy and we expect usage to increase in the future.”

With this new telehealth platform, Partners joins a growing number of hospitals and health systems creating a branded mobile health solution for urgent healthcare needs that would otherwise be addressed by a visit to the doctor’s office, hospital ED or urgent care clinic.

Many of these concerns can be treated through telehealth, reducing the cost and strain of a clinical visit, improving clinical outcomes by speeding up care and boosting patient engagement with more convenient access points.

The service also puts Partners in position to compete with new entries into the DTC telehealth space, including pharmacy chains like CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen’s, retail networks like Target and WalMart and tech giants like Amazon, Google and Apple. Even payers like Anthem are getting into the mix, as evidence by the health plan’s recent partnership with American Well.

“This is the kind of integrated payer-provider approach to healthcare envisioned in the affiliation between Partners and Neighborhood Health Plan,” Tony Dodek, MD, Neighborhood Health Plan’s chief medical officer, said in the release.  “And it’s part of our broader collaboration to improve health outcomes and avoid more costly care down the road by providing the right care, at the right time, and in the right place.”


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