Matthew Holt

Online behavioral health on American Well’s platform, and a hint at Cisco/UHG

As usual I am way behind on tech and Health 2.0 news but here’s one that was “thrown out with the trash” late last week because the service went live on Saturday. American Well has has added TriWest Healthcare Alliance as a client on its online service. Most significantly this is for behavioral health care (psychological counseling et al) for military families covered under Tri-Care—the program for the families of service personnel.

Given what the military has been through in the last decade you can imagine how badly this is needed. And it’s an extension of the current primary and urgent care services already being delivered online.

In fact beyond American Well there are a number of even smaller companies starting to aim at the behavioral health online market—which has a strong tradition of success in telemedicine and is ripe for expansion into the online arena.

However, where I’m really late is that a couple of weeks back Cisco—which does higher-end telemedicine—announced a program with United Healthgroup to provide its HealthPresence technology in mobile trucks for underserved populations. United’s Optum unit also recently announced that it too would be using American Well. So we’re seeing an extension of the use of both higher tech and web-based online care, and that for the first time health insurers are taking this very seriously.

Continue to watch this space as it looks like finally the technology is ready and the payers are finally coming on board. And (ahem) you’ll hear much more about this at the Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on October 6–7.

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6 replies »

  1. The above complex pontification by Cortese and Blumenthal is similar to the mental machinations that brought about the health care mess. Solving the problems is not rocket science. The root cause is not being addressed. Cortese and Blumenthal are masters of what Lewis Thomas calls “halfway technology”.

  2. Regarding the Blumenthal Cortese post above:
    Why did you close comments?
    The government paying for prevention???
    All readers ought to know that Medicare refuses to pay for most preventive strategies. If there is not a symptom or a diagnosis, the patient pays the bill.

  3. There is a lot of great work being done integrating on-line/new media into behavioral health services.
    Check out Pat Deegan’s work on Common Ground
    Nice to see payers/payors picking it up. Hopefully this means more R&D money and better products for helping people stay in “well” and in recovery.
    With all services, the key is making these patient friendly, good data outputs and available to the populations (think, if I am a clinic, will my patients use the internet, do I have space/$ to provide computers at the clinic, can I bill for these services).

  4. Whatever they do, mental health is something that must be included in our discussions. May be it is one of the driver of the lots of somatic diseases.
    Coincidently, we did a series of article on mental health last week and few are coming this week.
    We all know that happiness is best prevention of many diseases – big and samll. And behavioural health can help improve the happiness index.

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