10 things to know about American Well

Here are 10 things to know about Boston-based American Well, one of the first companies to connect patients with physicians for live online video consultations.

1. American Well provides employers, health systems, insurers and retailers with telehealth services for "one-off" issues like colds or infection alongside chronic care management for conditions like diabetes or depression. American Well sets out to improve consumers' access to affordable healthcare by "using mobile and web technology to remove barriers such as distance, mobility and time."

2. American Well's first rollout was in 2008. The company's founders — two brothers, Ido Schoenberg, MD, and Roy Schoenberg, MD — have continued to lead the company since then, both serving as CEOs. Dr. Ido Schoenberg also serves as chairman and Dr. Roy Schoenberg also serves as president.

3. The company's platforms include the Exchange (which allows patients to pick their own physician, regardless of geographic location) and Amwell (a direct-to-consumer video consultation service for patients). A few recent contracts include those with New York City-based NewYork-Presbyterian and Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic Health System, which selected American Well for their respective telehealth platforms.

4. American Well was recently recognized by Frost & Sullivan for its Exchange service. In November 2016, the company was honored with the 2016 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation, in recognition of its work to expand the availability of healthcare services. At the time, Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst Victor Camlek said: "At the simplest level, the Exchange can be positioned as a new healthcare access alternative to patients who do not want to be confined to a specific provider network."

5. One of American Well's core initiatives is bringing quality healthcare to rural areas. At the start of 2017, the company — along with the Hawaii Medical Service Association — donated a kiosk to the Ka'u Rural Health Community Association's Resource and Distance Learning Center in Pahala, Hawaii. The kiosk, which allows community members to speak with physicians via video consultation, is meant to make healthcare more convenient for rural Hawaiians, who would otherwise have to travel one to two hours to reach a medical clinic.

6. In June 2015, American Well filed a patent infringement suit against Purchase, N.Y.-based Teladoc in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. American Well alleged Teladoc used a similar algorithm to connect consumers with physicians. One year later, the Massachusetts federal court dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that major elements of American Well's patent were "too abstract," and thus invalid. At the request of Teladoc, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also invalidated parts of American Well's telemedicine patent in August 2016.

7. In late 2015, American Well and Doximity, a San Francisco-based digital health company, announced a collaboration to recruit physicians to practice remote medicine. American Well had already been using Doximity to recruit physicians to its network, however, the companies joined forces to formalize this process, according to MedCity News.

8. American Well added psychiatry services to its Amwell app in September 2016, enabling patients to self-schedule visits with board-certified psychiatrists through the company's clinical partner Online Care Group. When announcing this new feature, American Well Vice President of Behavioral Health Zereana Jess-Huff, PhD, said: "Mental healthcare is in desperate need of real solutions and telemental health can bridge that gap."

9. In November 2016, American Well and Cerner struck a deal to incorporate the company's telemedicine services into Cerner's EHR. At the time, Dr. Ido Schoenberg said: "Our alliance with Cerner and deep integration between the electronic health record and telehealth visit is one of the industry's first."

10. American Well gauged healthcare consumers' attitudes toward telemedicine in a report released in early 2017. The report, based on case study data and online surveys conducted by Harris Poll, found 66 percent of Americans are willing to see a physician over video.

More articles on telehealth:
American Telemedicine Association identifies top states for telehealth
The growth of telehealth: 20 things to know
Penn State expands care for sexual assault victims with telemedicine

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