Optum Perks launches new telehealth platform for prescriptions

Optum Perks is rolling out a new telehealth solution that aims to make it easier for patients to secure their prescriptions at a low cost.

Optum Perks is a part of the RVO Health umbrella, which is jointly backed by Red Ventures and UnitedHealth Group's Optum. Its sister, Optum Store, is also within RVO Health. Optum Perks offers prescription discounts to consumers and is building on that foundation through the new virtual platform.

Users can access care on demand starting at $25 for hundreds of diagnoses and needs including acne, birth control, cold and flu, high blood pressure and more. It services are available for people with or without insurance.

Ken Malley, president of Optum Perks, told Fierce Healthcare that while it's found success in offering discounts, the team wanted to address other barriers to care such as lack of access to providers.

"Providing the ability for consumers to obtain the medications that they need through an online platform that's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and also allows prescribing decision to be made by a clinician within 15 minutes, we thought was something that's really powerful to bring to the market," he said.

Patients who connect to the platform will be asked to fill out a questionnaire related to their symptoms and needs, which will then be reviewed by a board-certified provider, including both clinicians and nurse practitioners, who will diagnose the patient and set a treatment plan. The patient can then choose whether they want any medications to be sent to a retail pharmacy or delivered to their home.

The process is designed so users receive a treatment plan in 15 minutes or less. They will also be able to use a discount card through Optum Perks to ensure they get the lowest possible cost on medications, the company said.

"What we're hearing from consumers … was having the ability to see a physician anytime of the day was very helpful," Malley said. "There's also a need or a desire for consumers to have an easier process."

Medication adherence is often critical for managing chronic conditions and complex needs. Malley said the team views what Optum Perks provides as complementary to the care management offered by primary care providers and the core clinical team.

For patients who already have a diagnosis, they can secure key prescription refills through the platform, he said.

Over time, Malley said the Optum Perks team will continue to focus on finding ways to address the barriers hindering access to critical medications.

"We're really looking at anything that impedes access to prescription use," he said.