Amwell's metric for success and long-term vision: 'It's not a doc in the box in the cloud'

Amwell debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 17 and experienced a 25 percent share price increase on its first day. Co-CEO Ido Schoenberg, MD, said virtual visits will be integrated into the future of healthcare, but expects the change to be slow. 

He told CNBC the digital transformation in healthcare will take years and he expects the surge in telehealth visits that occurred during the early months of 2020 during the pandemic to slow. Virtual visit volume isn't the company's main metric for success, he said, but rather it will monitor the number of active providers on its platform.

"We simply believe that, in the future, your doctor will connect with you sometimes in person and sometimes online," he told CNBC. "It's easy to explain to me, but of course it's a different story to actually implement it. There are many barriers and complexities, which is what we do. That will take a long time."

Amwell reported the number of providers on its platforms was nine times greater in April 2020 than in April 2019, and he expects that growth to continue as CMS works to permanently expand telehealth visits and the federal government supports broader internet access across the U.S. Long term, Dr. Schoenberg said the company's goal is to allow people to "age gracefully in our home" while connecting virtually with healthcare providers when possible.

"It's not a doc in the box in the cloud," he said. "It's basically another tool in the tool set of our trusted providers, and that will take years to develop."

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