Industry-leading telehealth solution will enable BCBSNC employees to access high quality care from their home and workplace
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. and BOSTON, Oct. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- American Well, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) and Walgreens Take Care Health Systems have collaborated to make telehealth services available to thousands of BCBSNC employees located throughout North Carolina. The service, called OnlineCareNC, allows BCBSNC employees from home or work to receive a health care consultation from credentialed Take Care Health System nurse practitioners, health coaches or nutritionists through two-way video, secure text chat or phone.
Take Care Health Systems, a division of Walgreens, manages the on-site BCBSNC health centers.
"Providing affordable and convenient access to quality health care in North Carolina is critical to the overall health of our employees, customers, and state," said Fara Palumbo, chief human resources officer for BCBSNC. "Our collaboration with American Well and Take Care Health allows us to explore the capabilities of this new technology to meet the growing health care needs of our employees and customers, now and in the future."
BCBSNC employees can use OnlineCareNC to connect with a Take Care nutritionist or health coach for a live visit, while those with established relationships with BCBSNC's health center providers can use the online technology to talk live with a nurse practitioner. During each online visit, Take Care health care providers will be able to review the employee's available clinical information, discuss symptoms and recommend follow-up care, as appropriate, to established patients. The telehealth system will automatically create a complete electronic record of each online visit, supporting continuity of care and collaboration among the providers caring for employees.
"Walgreens and Take Care Health are committed to utilizing our leading position in retail and workplace health solutions to expand access to quality care," said Peter Hotz, group vice president for Walgreens. "Innovative approaches such as telehealth, and specifically OnlineCareNC, enable us to expand our reach and positively impact more lives, ultimately driving better health outcomes while also reducing costs for patients, businesses and payers."
Telehealth service offerings are undergoing rapid adoption by insurers and employers across the U.S. to meet employer and consumer demand for convenient and cost effective care. For example, nearly 40 percent of BCBSNC employees are currently enrolled in consumer-driven HSA plans. OnlineCareNC provides a convenient and cost effective option for BCBSNC employees on these types of health plans, who are more actively looking for ways to manage their own medical costs. A July 2012 Towers Watson report found that more than one in four employers plan to offer telehealth services within 12 months, while a June 2012 Accenture survey found three in four patients want to communicate with their doctors electronically.
"Health plan- and employer-sponsored telehealth solutions are gaining momentum nationally and globally as they prove to increase access to care and start to rein in costs," said Ido Schoenberg, MD, chairman and CEO of American Well Inc. "Online Care is increasingly being embraced as it delivers on the promise to lower costs while increasing patient access to immediate, real-time health care when and where it's needed."
OnlineCareNC is available to BCBSNC employees from home and at Virtual Clinics located at corporate headquarters in Durham and Winston-Salem, N.C.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.6 million members, including approximately 900,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 78 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina was named one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute in 2012. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit BCBSNC online at www.bcbsnc.com.
As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America's first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 7,944 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.
About American Well
American Well (www.americanwell.com) brings healthcare into the homes and workplaces of patients. Its Online Care Suite is the industry's leading telehealth solution, connecting providers and patients for live, immediate, and clinically meaningful encounters using the Web or phone. With its patented technology, the Online Care Suite removes traditional barriers to healthcare access – such as geography, mobility, and time constraints – while enabling providers to deliver quality care in a flexible, convenient manner, generating revenue along the way.
Julie Sculley or Dave McKee
 Towers Watson (July 2012). 2012 Onsite Health Center Survey Report. July 2012. Retrieved from http://towerswatson.com/assets/pdf/7705/Realizing-the-Potential-of-Onsite-Health-Centers.pdf
 Accenture (June 19, 2012). Is eHealth Enough to Satisfy Patients' Desire for Self-service? Retrieved from http://www.accenture.com/us-en/Pages/insight-ehealth-satisfy-patients-desire-self-service-summary.aspx
SOURCE American Well