Who says that doctors no longer make house calls?

Two insurance providers, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, are pushing a new way to see a doctor for non-emergency needs when their own doctor is not in.

By accessing the new LiveHealth Online service, via computer, members can choose a doctor and address health issues live through two-way video.    Can you spell DaaS or Doctors-as-a-Service?

This new online care service, LiveHealth Online, launched initially to small and large fully-insured customers and self-funded employers in the U.S.. Anthem is making this online care solution as a standard benefit. Doctors will offer members live consultations from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily in the Eastern time zone, including holidays, and will soon be offering around the clock service.

“LiveHealth Online offers a secure means of reaching board-certified primary care doctors on demand, especially when consumers find it inconvenient to leave work or home to get to a doctor’s office,” said Erin Hoeflinger, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio.

According to Hoeflinger, online care, for non-urgent medical conditions, is more convenient, accessible and affordable than a visit to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic. Members can initiate online encounters from their home or workplace at any time, via live audio/video and secure chat through a computer. Patients use online care typically to communicate with a doctor about colds, aches, sore throats, allergies, infections as well as wellness and nutrition advice.

A complete record of each encounter is created, and with the patient’s permission, can be forwarded to their primary care doctor – supporting continuity of care and collaboration among providers.

Dr. Roy Schoenberg, president and CEO of American Well, said LiveHealth Online represents a true shift in health care delivery by       using technology to make it easier and more consumer friendly. American Well is the channel partner that provides the technology for LiveHealth Online.

The service is also being positioned as an alternative to emergency and urgent care operations.  The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the U.S. will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed.

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