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Anthem Blue Cross Patients Can See a Doctor Online Starting in Spring

January 02, 2013

If you had a cold this Christmas, good luck. But next year, seeing a doctor over the holidays could be a lot easier if you’re a member of Anthem Blue Cross.

Anthem Blue Cross is rolling out a new two-way video service this spring that will let its members see a doctor online for non-emergency needs when their own doctor is not readily available, according to news release by the company.

Dubbed LiveHealth Online and available at livehealthonline.com, the service will let patients talk with a doctor over web cam when their regular medical practitioner is unavailable.

The service will be available 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, including holidays, and will be staffed by board-certified doctors.

Small and large-group fully-insured customers and self-funded national employers will have access to the service initially, according to the statement by Anthem Blue Cross.

"The LiveHealth Online care solution offers a secure means of reaching board-certified primary care doctors on demand, especially when consumers find it inconvenient to leave work or home and go to a doctor's office," said Pam Kehaly in the statement, president of Anthem Blue Cross.

With web cams now built into most laptops, and it easy to “see” friends and family across the country using video conferencing services such as Skype (News - Alert) and Google Talk, it was only a matter of time before healthcare providers began offering consultations via the web.

While not a stand-in for emergency medical care, video consultations can be an easy way to get help for comparatively simple medical issues.

"Our members and employer groups are telling us now, more than ever, that they need access, convenience and affordability in health care. LiveHealth Online is one of several ways we are able to respond to and meet their needs," said Kehaly.

Members can initiate online encounters from their home or workplace at any time using the service. Patients use online care typically to communicate with a doctor about colds, aches, sore throats, allergies, infections as well as wellness and nutrition advice, noted Anthen Blue Cross.

When patients use LiveHealth Online, a confidential complete record of each encounter is created and forwarded to their primary care doctor with the patient’s permission. This supports continuity of care and collaboration among providers.

"LiveHealth Online represents a true shift in healthcare delivery by using technology to make healthcare easier and more consumer friendly," said Dr. Roy Schoenberg in the statement, president and CEO of American Well. American Well provides the technology that powers LiveHealth Online.

"At this critical juncture in our nation's healthcare transformation, Anthem is taking a lead in improving access to care and bringing a better healthcare experience to its members," he noted.

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Edited by Peter Bernstein

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