HLTH23: Evernorth's MDLIVE to acquire Bright.md, moving into asynchronous care

LAS VEGAS—MDLIVE, the telehealth arm of Cigna's Evernorth, will acquire tech platform Bright.md, expanding its reach into asynchronous care options.

Following the acquisition, MDLIVE will launch asynchronous options for virtual urgent care beginning in 2024, the company said Tuesday at HLTH 2023. It intends to continue expanding these options to other chronic disease management services and wellness visits over time.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

In a traditional virtual visit, the patient and clinician are connected directly with one another via video or phone. In an asynchronous option, the patient can submit the key information to the clinical team, which then follows up, making it a more convenient route for some.

Patients will undergo a guided clinical interview that is then converted in a comprehensive chart note. A licensed clinician then reviews the note and directs the patient to appropriate next steps, whether that's a diagnosis, a care plan, a referral to other care settings or a prescription, according to the announcement.

Screenshots displaying Cigna's new asynchronous tool

Eric Weil, M.D., chief medical officer for MDLIVE, told Fierce Healthcare that the team has been focused on increasing access to care and that this move creates just another avenue for patients to reach the services they need.

"We've worked very hard to create a really crisp and impactful virtual healthcare experience through synchronous care, both telephonic and video," he said. "And we felt that the acquisition of an asynchronous technology like that which is offered by Bright would give us the ability to touch more patients in ways that are more aligned with what they need."

He said Bright's technology makes it possible for people to reach out about acute needs in ways they typically can't. For example, someone commuting to work with a sore throat can complete the questions and receive feedback from a clinician in short order.

He said patients have "been very clear" in that they want as many options for accessing care as possible.

"It's creating a new level of access that otherwise wouldn't be available to a group of people who need it," he said.

In addition to the Bright.md acquisition, MDLIVE is building out a care coaching option within its virtual primary care program. The offering is prescribed by physicians and aims to keep patients engaged between visits, particularly for lifestyle changes like weight loss, nutrition, exercise and sleep management.

The coaching tool is backed by Welldoc's technology and enables patients to easily track goals, monitor any medical devices and manage medications.

Weil said the two announcements are both examples of how MDLIVE is thinking about building out its primary care experience.

"We're building a new primary care strategy, and these are pieces of it that are new tools in the toolbox," he said.