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Payer Launches Store-and-Forward Telehealth Service for Businesses

Cambia Health Solutions is partnering with Lemonaid Health to pilot a store-and-forward telehealth platform for employees seeking diagnoses and prescriptions for common, non-acute health concerns.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- An Oregon-based health plan is launching an asynchronous telehealth service to large businesses to help employees get medical advice and prescriptions for common non-acute health issues.

Cambia Health Solutions, a Portland-based non-profit selling insurance through several subsidiaries, including Regence Health, is partnering with San Francisco-based Lemonaid Health to roll out the eCare platform in a pilot program.

Through the program, available to select large employers, employees can go online and fill out a questionnaire. A doctor then reviews that questionnaire and e-mails a diagnosis and, if necessary, a prescription. A video consult can be arranged in states where a virtual visit is mandated.

"Lemonaid allows people to receive medical advice and prescriptions for common medical needs such as birth control, urinary tract or sinus infections without having to go anywhere,”  Brodie Dychinco, General Manager of Convenient Care for Cambia Health Solutions, said in a press release. “We are excited to pilot this with a select group of employers who can provide Lemonaid's simple and convenient care options to their employees.”

"We're excited to partner with Cambia Health Solutions as we work together to provide standardized, convenient care to large employer groups," added Paul Johnson, Lemonaid Health’s CEO

Healthcare providers and payers are turning to asynchronous – also known as store-and-forward – telehealth as a more convenient means of servicing consumers with common, non-acute health concerns.

Advocates say the platform allows consumers to fill out the questionnaire at their convenience, while giving clinicians at the other end the time to review all pertinent data and develop a diagnosis based on best practices. Opponents often criticize the lack of video or real-time interaction, saying a doctor can’t make an accurate diagnosis without being able to see and talk to a patient.

That difference of opinion has prompted several states to specifically exclude online questionnaires, e-mails, text messages and even phone calls from the list of acceptable telemedicine technologies.

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