Ninety-four percent of American Well customers chose video visits over telephone consultations, according to new data released by the company. And 60 percent of customers accessed that video via a tablet or smartphone. American Well found that when patients did opt for telephone and secure messaging over video visits, it was because internet access was limited.
The company also noted that doctors preferred the video visits because it gives them additional information to diagnose patients.
"The first thing I do when I treat a patient is I look at their face,” Dr. Peter Antall, President and Medical Director of the Online Care Group, which provides clinical services over American Well, said in a statement. “A person’s facial expressions and body language give me an understanding for their overall well-being that could be missed over the phone.”
American Well’s Online Care offering lets patients set-up on demand, video-enabled visits with physicians via their computers or through an iPad, iPhone, or Android device. The company works with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Rite Aid, United Healthcare, WellPoint and various Blues plans, as well as partnering with CampusMD to bring video consultations to college students.
A little over a month in, 2014 has already been a year of big movement in telehealth, especially video consults. Honeywell HomMed added improved video visits to its Genesis Touch remote care platform at the end of January.
Just in the last week, former AT&T product marketing manager Ryan McQuaid launched his PlushCare service on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. PlushCare isn't billing itself as a replacement for a primary physician, but doctors accessible through the app will diagnose, recommend treatment and prescribe medication for non-emergency medical issues including cold and flu symptoms, bronchitis, allergies, poison ivy, pink eye, urinary tract infections, and respiratory infections.
In addition, mobile operator Cellular One partnered with Hilton Head, South Carolina-based iSelectMD to offer video visits to its customers in Louisiana and Texas. Each call to users' doctors will cost $30 and — conveniently — will be automatically added to their phone bill.