American Well debuts next-gen telemedicine cart, partners with Netsmart on opioid addiction counseling

The company's new 250 cart connects providers to specialists anywhere, not just within their own system.
By Jonah Comstock
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American Well CEO Roy Schoenberg shows off the new cart at HIMSS19. (Photo by Jonah Comstock)

At HIMSS19, telehealth platform company American Well unveiled the American Well 250 cart, a telehealth cart that allows physicians and patients in a hospital to connect to a wide range of specialists. The product is the first fruit of American Well’s acquisition of Avizia in April of last year.

Additionally at the show, American Well announced an expanded partnership with behavioral health-focused EHR provider Netsmart.

What’s the impact?

“It’s the first cart that says if you need to beam in service from somewhere inside your ecosystem, it supports that,” American Well CEO Roy Schoenberg told MobiHealthNews in an on-site interview at HIMSS. “[It's] like the traditional telemedicine carts and all that kind of stuff. But if you need to go and use the power of the internet and hunt for specialists in the broader ecosystem, we will do that too. So now all of the work we’ve done at American Well marries to the world of traditional telemedicine carts.”

When a physician logs onto the 250 cart and requests a specialist, American Well will search for the first available doctor and send a ping to their smartphone in a process Schoenberg compared to how Uber assigns drivers. It will cycle through available specialists until one answers.

In addition, the cart contains a suite of connected devices that the remote specialist can use to gather information and consult. And in addition to in-hospital use cases, it can be used in schools and skilled nursing facilities.

The device will be available to hospitals and other provider organizations for purchase later this year.

As for the telehealth company’s other news item, Netsmart will be integrating American Well into its EHR toward the end of providing timely, specialized care to patients with opioid abuse disorders.

“One of the things we’ve learned is that [the opioid-addicted] population, more than anybody else, is very hard to catch,” Schoenberg said. “The moment that they’re interested in seeking treatment, if you’re not going to be there, you’re going to lose them. So opioid telehealth management is a very big part of the hope of the administration and everybody else.”

What’s the trend?

American Well isn’t the only telehealth player that made a big announcement at HIMSS19.

MDLive launched MDLive Go, a new asynchronous virtual care service last week that lets patients submit describe their condition through a text-based assessment and receive an emailed treatment plan within two hours.

And ahead of the conference, Teladoc Health launched two new features for health system customers: Clinical WorkScope, which allows hospitals to virtualize their existing workflows, fee structures, and referral networks; and Integrated Diagnostic Testing, which makes it easier for physicians to order imaging and lab tests in virtual visits.