Some 35,000 patients in Buffalo, NY with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York plans will soon have 24 hour access to their physicians via web cams, phone or secure text messages, according to the healthcare insurance provider. BCBS is working with American Well for some of the technology and integrating with Microsoft's HealthVault personal health platform to better connect patients and physicians. The consultations will allow physicians to access patients' clinical data, communicate with the patient, e-prescribe and recommend follow-up care. BCBS plans to reimburse physicians for the services.
Come June, the 35,000 BCBS patients in Buffalo will have access to the service along with 450 physicians and 1,400 other health employees. Later this year, the insurer plans to roll out the service to all of its 500,000 patients in Western New York. Interestingly, BCBS plans to make the service available to all state residents in the area by 2011 -- including uninsured residents.
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