Customers at their corner CVS Health MinuteClinics in Ohio now can access clinicians at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic via online and mobile telehealth technology from vendor American Well.
Cleveland Clinic has built a number of telemedicine programs using American Well's telehealth platform, including the clinic's Express Care Online consumer offering.
"Our long-term view of telehealth is that it's not only a new, welcome service that we can offer our existing patients, but it's a way for Cleveland Clinic to extend our reach and serve more people who need help," said Cleveland Clinic medical director of distance health Peter Rasmussen, MD. "We believe that it is important to remove barriers to care like time, travel and distance, and we're making that possible through this partnership."
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The three organizations see the telehealth program as helping patients with non-emergency care needs such as coughs, rashes and infections, as well as patients with ongoing, chronic conditions to manage, such as diabetes.
Andrew Sussman, MD, associate chief medical officer at CVS Health and president of the company's MinuteClinic, said the deal expands the services CVS can offer to customers, while American Well chairman and CEO Ido Schoenberg, MD, called the combination of retail clinics, telehealth tools, and access to expert physicians "the future of medicine."
CVS competitor Rite-Aid this week said that it opened 23 retail clinics in 2015, even while awaiting regulatory approval to be acquired by Walgreens, which is also investing in retail clinics.
Consultancy Accenture, in fact, predicted late last year that some 3,000 retail clinics will be opened by 2017.