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CVS MinuteClinic rolls out telehealth app with Teladoc

Pharmacy giant now offering telemedicine services in 10 US states with nationwide expansion planned by year's end.

Hospital executives keeping a close eye on CVS continuing its push into retail healthcare should know that the company has gone live with a new telehealth option built on Teladoc's platform. 

The new offering follows the American Hospital Association calling on Congress to increase funding for rural telehealth, reduce limitations on geographic and site requirements and expanding the types of technology that doctors can use to reach patients and be paid for their services. 

Telehealth tools, in fact, are gaining momentum in novel ways across the industry. Late last month, health insurer Anthem made American Well's telemedicine tech available to members via Galaxy phones. 

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Now, through a partnership with Teladoc, CVS' MinuteClinic announced today that it has launched a 24-7 telehealth offering available through an app for consumers' smartphones. The service is intended for patients aged two years or older seeking care for a minor illness, minor injury, skin condition, or "other wellness needs."

MinuteClinic Video Visits are currently available in Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Washington DC, and are expected to be available across the US (where permitted by state regulations) before the end of the year, according to the retail pharmacy chain. Each visit costs patients $59, with insurance coverage options planned for the coming months, according to a statement.

"We're excited to be able to bring this innovative care option to patients," Dr. Troyen A. Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Health, said in a statement. "At CVS Health, we're committed to delivering high-quality care when and where our patients need it and at prices they can afford. Through this new telehealth offering, patients now have an additional option for seeking care that is even more convenient for them."

Accessed through the CVS Pharmacy app, patients using the service first complete a health questionnaire. A certified care provider matched with the patient will then review the document against the individual's medical history before beginning the consultation, according to CVS.

Providers speaking with patients will determine the appropriate next step for a patient, and will be able to submit any necessary prescriptions. If follow-up care is necessary, the provider will also recommend an in-person encounter with a community practitioner or a local MinuteClinic location.

"As we continue to move the capabilities of virtual care forward, this is an exciting advancement," Jason Gorevic, Teladoc CEO, said in a statement. "CVS Health's expansion of their health care model to include video visits brings even more care delivery options to patients and Teladoc is proud to work with them on this offering."

CVS MinuteClinic has dipped its toe into consumer telehealth offerings previously. In 2015 the company partnered with American Well, Doctor On Demand, and Teladoc to pilot remote visits in various markets. A study of telehealth pilots first published online around that same time, researchers from the company found that 95 percent of patients who opted into telehealth visits were well satisfied by the quality of their care, with a similar portion reporting satisfaction with the service's convenience.

Twitter: @dave_muoio
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