Telehealth in Retail Clinics Is the Future of Medicine

June 1st 2016
Mike Hennessy, Chairman
Mike Hennessy, Chairman

,
CEO
CEO

MinuteClinic recently sealed a deal to allow patients in Ohio to virtually visit Cleveland Clinic clinicians through American Well’s telehealth platform.

MinuteClinic recently sealed a deal to allow patients in Ohio to virtually visit Cleveland Clinic clinicians through American Well’s telehealth platform. This partnership is significant because it’s the first time Cleveland Clinic providers will be available to MinuteClinic customers via telemedicine.

To echo the words of American Well Chairman and CEO Ido Schoenberg, MD, “This is the future of telemedicine—or simply, medicine.”

Telemedicine is a perfect union between technology and health care. It has been praised as a cost-effective method for clinicians to examine, diagnose, and manage patients’ medical conditions in a way that transcends time and distance.

As practical evidence that telemedicine isn’t a passing phase but here to stay, MinuteClinic already boasts 1000 locations offering telehealth services in 32 states, and by next year, that number of sites is expected to grow to 1500. Moreover, in a recentContemporary Cliniconline poll, the majority of our readers believed that more retail clinics should provide telehealth referrals to other clinicians.

Using MinuteClinic’s new partnership with the Cleveland Clinic as an example, here’s how telehealth referrals work in the retail clinic setting. When a MinuteClinic practitioner is seeing a patient and deems it necessary for the patient to consult a primary care clinician at Cleveland Clinic for nonemergency urgent care needs, a virtual visit for this purpose can be arranged in about 5 to 10 minutes during working hours, although the health system is also looking to set up around-the-clock access. Patients can expect to pay about $50 for a mobile consultation, on top of the cost of seeing a MinuteClinic practitioner.

The results of a recent Oliver Wyman survey indicate that the use of telehealth visits has increased from 35% in 2013 to 45% in 2015, while retail clinic use has risen from 15% to 26% in the same 2-year period. Between their flexible scheduling and typically lower costs, telemedicine and retail clinics both have an enormous amount of potential to deliver care to hard-to-reach patient populations and boost patient engagement. Continued efforts to combine these 2 care models could only certify a bright future for the field of medicine.

Thank you for reading!

Mike Hennessy

Chairman and CEO

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