OptumHealth Launching Online NowClinic – Video Consultations for Patients and Physicians
Posted Dec 23 2009 8:02pm
I have added a bit of text from my post back in June of 2009 below about this service which was a pretty complete go through with what was posted at that time. You can enroll as either a patient or a doctor to participate. If enrolling as a physician there will be some stipulations and processes to go through to get set up. OptumHealth also have their own PHR (personal health records) program and I am guessing this is where the information will eventually be stored.
The service has worked well for patients in Hawaii from what I have read but this is a little different with software with United, as Blue Cross is the system in Hawaii. What this does do is bring the doctor to the patients and not every visit can be a web cam visit by all means. The article mentions that in Texas the patient has to already be established with an MD before using this type of service, which is not a bad idea when you think about it.
“I was not familiar with what eSync was so I watched the video and the presentation. There’s a lot there and it takes a while to watch, but if you have the time it will discuss and focus on how physicians can save money and learn about using the “business intelligence” they have to offer, how you can analyze community statistics and be a better doctor for your community. We see this happening everywhere, hospitals, etc. all pushing business intelligence down to the already over burdened doctor to analyze and help become cost effective, so this is nothing new here. Through having all this information to analyze the hopes are to save money and create better decision making processes, if it doesn’t end up muddying the water too much in the process, as a physician may be members of more than one health plan, so to keep up with 4 or 5 of these, which is not uncommon here in California, it could end up being overkill, unless you put all your eggs in one basket, but nobody does that.
They are also getting the health coach consultants in the act, aka Utilization Managers to some extent here to help doctors make their decisions, so are 2 head better than one? If one is a clinician and the other is risk management focused? One more way to keep “cost” and not better healthcare in focus.
OptumHealth and American Well plan to leverage two proprietary technologies: OptumHealth’s eSync PlatformSM, which synchronizes health information to deliver prioritized, clinically appropriate and personalized health care information; and American Well’s Online Care platform, which enables real-time conversations between individuals and physicians. Together, the technologies will allow consumers on a state-by-state basis to talk with a local health care professional in a secure environment any time, anywhere; and physicians to expand their practices and care for their patients beyond a traditional office setting. The service will be available to employers, their employees and individual consumers.”
It is getting interesting to see what other services are being offered as well, OptumHealth also gives out discounts for members who want to have their DNA tested.
Also as mentioned before you can take your records from OptumHealth and send them to a HealthVault account too. It appears that Google Health and HealthVault are becoming the online non-insurance associated companies that seem to be the safe islands as far as privacy is concerned. BD
OptumHealth, a division of UnitedHealth Group, plans to offer an online physician consultation service nationwide next year, the New York Timesreports.
OptumHealth is offering the service, called NowClinic, state-by-state, beginning with Texas. According to the Times, the OptumHealth initiative will for the first time offer online medical care nationwide, regardless of insurance coverage.
Proponents of the service say it will help address a primary care physician shortage and increase patients' access to health care.
How It Works
American Well developed the NowClinic system, which connects patients and physicians using video chat.
For $45, patients, regardless of whether they have insurance coverage, can have a 10-minute online physician appointment. Following the appointment, physicians can file prescriptions, except for controlled substances, if it is necessary.
In addition, physicians eventually will have access to patients' medical histories.