American Well rolls out acute care telehealth cart for specialty access

By | January 23, 2019

Dive Brief:

  • American Well on Tuesday launched a new acute care telehealth cart to connect patients and care teams to remote specialists.
  • The American Well 760 Cart is designed for health systems performing telemedicine via the company’s software or an existing Cisco infrastructure. 
  • Features include a touch panel and 20x zoom to increase image clarity, as well as the new Cisco Plus Codec. The FDA-registered Class I cart also offers round-the-clock device monitoring with automated alerts and remote device management.

Dive Insight:

Having reliable access to specialists could be especially beneficial for smaller and rural hospitals and clinics, where patients might otherwise have to travel long distances to get the specialty care they need. Typical use cases for the 760 Cart, according to American Well, include telestroke, ICU consults and telepsychiatry.

Telehealth can increase healthcare access and quality, but the degree to which that occurs varies with settings and uses. An Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report found success with virtual care in areas like remote ICU consultations, which can help reduce deaths and length of stay. Specialty telehealth can also cut time patients spend in emergency rooms and improve outcomes in outpatient care.

There is less evidence that telehealth reduces length of inpatient stay and cost or that remote ICUs reduce overall hospital length of stay, according to the report. And there’s little (if any) evidence that outpatient telehealth increases patient satisfaction.

Meanwhile, a recent KLAS Research survey found that no telehealth vendor is meeting all of customers’ virtual needs. KLAS asked healthcare leaders how they fared with nine telehealth vendors, including American Well, Intouch Health and MDLive. None of the vendors equally satisfied organization’s three primary concerns — virtual care clinics, telespecialty consults and on-demand visits. 

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The report pointed to scalability issues and the ability to support multiple visit types. Companies seeking “all-purpose” status are doing so through internal development and/or acquisitions.

American Well boosted its acute care capabilities with last year’s purchase of Avizia. The deal gave American Well access to comprehensive acute care capability, including hospital cart lineup and customized workflows for more than 40 specialties. At the time of the purchase, American Well said the merger would create an enterprise system of services ranging from urgent care to chronic disease management, acute care and post-acute care.

The company has also partnered with Philips to embed telehealth services in a range of products, and with Anthem and Samsung Electronics America to bring 24/7 telehealth services to consumers. The latter allows people with an Anthem-affiliated health plan and the latest Samsung Health app on their Samsung Galaxy device to access American Well’s LiveHealth Online to video chat with a provider. Consumers can also use the app to consult with experts in a range of subspecialties.

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