Converge: All together now

COVID-19 has forever changed healthcare and consequently has led to a massive acceleration in the use of telehealth.

We saw telehealth usage skyrocket in 2020, with Amwell’s research showing that 22% of consumers and 80% of physicians had a virtual visit last year, up from 8% and 22%, respectively, in 2019. With that demand has come the need to scale. According to McKinsey, providers have rapidly scaled offerings and are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than they did before.

It’s not just the demand and awareness that has accelerated; it’s the use cases too. From specialty care to at-home monitoring of patients, episodic to longitudinal care and everything in between, telehealth has been called upon to enable much more than just on-demand urgent care visits.

“Telehealth morphed, almost overnight, from a promising technology to an existential platform in the operation of healthcare – alongside EHRs, claim systems and e-prescribing. We are witnessing a new consensus that the future of care of any one patient will inevitably involve a mix of physical, digital and asynchronous/AI-based care,” said Dr. Roy Schoenberg, President and co-CEO, Amwell.

In order to truly realize this change in a sustainable way however, today’s siloed tools and technologies simply won’t work. We need to take a platform approach that supports care delivery across the full continuum if we want to create a better healthcare system for all – one that not only bridges gaps in care but also closes gaps in access. Enter Converge – Amwell’s next-generation telehealth platform designed as a single meeting place for all virtual care needs. It powers a seamless and unified care experience and strengthens existing patient-provider relationships across all types of care. Converge is born into a world that's embracing standardization and open APIs for both data and function and is designed to integrate with existing workflows and EHRs.

At the same time, Converge is designed to be simple, reliable, and efficient. At the end of the day, patients and providers want to do more virtually, but not if the technology doesn’t work. In fact, physicians most frequently cite technology challenges as a barrier to telehealth adoption at their organization (72%). We cannot sacrifice “quality” for “innovation,” but we’ve found it is possible to have both.

“We designed the Converge platform to support, simplify, and delight patients, clinicians, and the healthcare tenants around them, as they rapidly embrace this new balance of care. Its open architecture invites customers and innovators to extend their reach, and all of us to imagine a more graceful healthcare experience, with technology on our side,” continued Schoenberg.

Perhaps one of the most important features of Converge is its open architecture. There has long been many great companies developing cutting-edge technology, but there hasn’t been a good way to connect all of these players together and furthermore, connect them to the doctors and patients who need them. Converge can host and operate applications from innovators – further enabling rapid progress toward digitally enabled healthcare. By embracing a diverse group of developers as part of the platform, healthcare organizations can select the capabilities that matter most to them. Do your patients require second opinions from leading specialists? There’s an app for that. Do your patients speak other languages and require a translator? There’s an app for that, too.

Not sure, if you need to offer telestroke care today but may want it in the future – with Converge organizations can easily implement what they need now, while knowing that the platform can evolve with their needs. No one could have predicted the pandemic or the impact it has had on healthcare as we know it, so having a telehealth platform that is flexible and can grow with organizations is critical.

“We also understand that these players (patients, providers, innovators, etc.) have unique needs, and these needs will evolve, so we have built the Converge platform to be highly scalable, modular and future-ready, giving clients the ability to reimagine new ways of using telehealth over time,” said Dr. Ido Schoenberg, Chairman and co-CEO, Amwell.

Just as it has taken the work and collaboration of many to get through the pandemic, it will take a collective effort to build upon the lessons learned over the past year and enact a better, more accessible, more affordable healthcare system for all. That’s why it’s time to all come together now!

 

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