Cleveland Clinic is teaming up with American Well to launch a joint venture dubbed The Clinic, a telehealth service that specializes in comprehensive and high-acuity care. The idea is to merge the health system’s care services with the telehealth company’s technology.
Users of the new system will be able to access Cleveland Clinic physicians and specialists through the American Well technology platform. The Clinic will include a number of specialties to patients.
“Digital health is one of the fastest growing segments of the healthcare industry. There is an incredible demand for medical care to be delivered in more convenient and integrated ways,” Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic, said in a statement. “This new venture marks the first time that a major digital health technology platform has partnered with a globally recognized healthcare provider to deliver digital solutions for complex healthcare problems. This new digital health service will provide access to world-class Cleveland Clinic expertise and quality of care for patients in the US and internationally.”
WHY IT MATTERS
Cleveland Clinic and American Well have worked together since 2014; however, this will be the first joint venture for the pair. With the increasing pressures of cost and access on the healthcare industry, telemedicine is often pitched as a way to provide care to patients.
While telemedicine has been growing in adoption, it is still working its way into mainstream use. Last year, a telemedicine research letter published in JAMA found that, although telemedicine adoption had increased by 52% per year from 2005 to 2017, that only translated to 6.5 per 1,000 patients accessing the service.
However, Cleveland Clinic reported that its annual telehealth visits are on the rise, growing by 68% in 2018.
THE LARGER TREND
American Well and Cleveland Clinic have a long history of working together. The partners inked a deal in 2014 allowing the health system to use American Well to deliver urgent care. Then, in 2016 Cleveland Clinic was one of the early adopters of American Well’s new enterprise telehealth services. The pair were also involved in a deal with CVS Minute Clinics. Here, Cleveland Clinic providers were able to offer online and mobile video visits to CVS Minute Clinic customers in Ohio through American Well’s technology.
ON THE RECORD
“As the adoption and value of telehealth grows, there is significant potential to further advance the digital distribution of care,” Dr. Ido Schoenberg, chairman and CEO of American Well, said in a statement. “Cleveland Clinic has long been at the forefront of offering virtual visits, and we’re thrilled to partner more closely with them to expand the frontiers for digital care delivery.”