In 2019, Cleveland Clinic and American Well combined Cleveland Clinic’s renowned health services with the digital health expertise of American Well to form a joint venture delivering the first-of-its-kind telehealth platform focused on comprehensive, specialty, and high-acuity care. The platform, to be used with patients both in the U.S. and internationally, allows for convenient online access to experts across a wide array of specialties – expanding the insights, opinions, and recommendations of leading Cleveland Clinic physicians beyond its base of existing patients. Together, Cleveland Clinic and American Well are bringing a reliable, virtual option to more individuals in search of quality care.
The relationship between Cleveland Clinic and American Well dates back to 2014 when clinicians at Cleveland Clinic decided to use the platform for urgent care needs. In 2016, Cleveland Clinic expanded its use of American Well’s products, becoming one of the first systems to implement the telehealth enterprise suite and using it to drive its second opinion program. The joint venture’s creation in 2019 represents the next impactful step on the journey to universal healthcare access through use of health technology.
Nearly two years ago, it was this desire for more impact that drove the team closest to the second opinion program via American Well’s technology to develop a model through which they could scale to meet the high volume and demand for virtual care. Recognizing the skill with which Cleveland Clinic caregivers consult with patients, the team understood the need for a focused vehicle like a company, whose sole purpose would be growth and delivery of this service to more individuals across the globe. Energized discussions with American Well began.
Since the announcement of the joint venture in October, the company has been officially founded, leadership has been appointed, and the operation has moved into GCIC incubator space, looking to grow accordingly. Peter Rasmussen, MD, now serves as the venture’s Chief Clinical Officer, bringing with him swift progress and a refined mission – to create new ways of delivering healthcare to the world using digital tools and technology. Since its founding, the JV has doubled the monthly rate of second opinions at Cleveland Clinic over 2019, achieved nearly 100% provider satisfaction with the revamp process, and decreased turnaround time on opinions from five to two weeks – besting the industry average turnaround time of four. Of the patients seen to date, a quarter of the opinions were international, and nearly 80% have been patient-initiated.
With telehealth a key part of Cleveland Clinic’s growth strategy to double the number of patients served in the next five years, the formation and development of the JV is a timely component. But beyond the sheer number of patients served, the venture is getting and keeping people healthy in a safe and distant matter. One of the venture’s next programs to be launched includes a virtual care and monitoring service for companies as their employees begin to transition back to the physical work environment. As the necessity of virtual care delivery grows in 2020, the company is in an excellent position to provide care for all kinds of consumers.
Says Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Rasmussen on the uptick in demand the company has seen: “The barriers to this type of solution are rarely from the technology itself. There is a perception barrier on behalf of patients, and providers are often reluctant to think they can do [virtual visits]. The arrival of COVID-19 has accelerated the acceptance and the realization that this is a powerful tool for unlocking the clinical expertise housed by our professionals at Cleveland Clinic. We have the ability to truly make our care accessible around the globe.”