American Well unveils telehealth software development kit, Uber-like switchboard

The vendor plans to show the new SDK for portals and other apps, as well as multiway videoconferencing technologies, at HIMSS16.
By Bill Siwicki
09:06 AM
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American Well will debut at HIMSS16 a software development kit for payers and providers and what it calls “Uber-like,” multiway videoconferencing technology.

American Well will debut at HIMSS16 a software development kit for payers and providers and what it calls “Uber-like,” multiway videoconferencing technology.

The new videoconferencing option can simultaneously connect patients with multiple physicians and specialists, and the SDK is designed to enable users to incorporate telemedicine consults into patient portals and other apps.

“Health systems are saying to us they have a world of things they do or wish to do with their patients through mobile apps and they ask how this all is going to work if they have to have two, three or four different apps to do the things they believe are necessary to give patients the best care,” said Roy Schoenberg, MD, CEO and co-founder of American Well. “So our new SDK helps health systems assimilate the experiences they need to care for their patients into one app. The SDK enables organizations that use American Well technology to build telehealth capabilities directly into their own apps.”

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Schoenberg cited as an example diabetes care. If a health system develops an app for diabetes patients that lets them access electronic health records data, care plans, and self-care features to assist with insulin administration and diet, the health system can use the SDK to bring into the app American Well technology for telemedicine consultations.

“Then, if things start going the wrong way for a diabetes patient, the patient can fire up an on-demand, live telehealth consult with a provider – an endocrinologist, a nurse, a physician, another caregiver,” Schoenberg said. And the telemedicine consult is delivered not through an American Well branded experience, but through an experience branded by the health system, the brand that patients know and trust, he added.

American Well also is debuting at HIMSS16 multiway video technology that enables providers meeting with patients for telehealth visits to bring in third and fourth parties such as physician specialists, translators and family members.

“Providers aspire to collaborative care, but trying to schedule a patient with a multidisciplinary team becomes cost-prohibitive and the reality of trying to get multiple people together has been almost impossible,” Schoenberg said.

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The multiway telehealth visit technology lies on top of American Well’s telemedicine systems, which feature technology similar to that of the car-for-hire mobile app Uber, that serves as a switchboard, thereby enabling patients or physicians next to patients to quickly find and consult with pre-defined groups of physicians.

“The switchboard understands who can get in front of whom under what circumstances,” Schoenberg said. “Physicians walk around with our provider app on their smartphones, and when a patient or physician taps into the system and requests a consult, the system runs through all of the available physicians one by one asking if they can take the patient. When a physician responds that he or she can, the system automatically reconciles licensure, credentialing, billing and other issues and connects the patient and physician or physicians for a live video conference.”

American Well will be demonstrating the SDK and multiway communication tools in booth 2154.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT


This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the HIMSS16 conference. Follow our live blog for real-time updates, and visit Destination HIMSS16 for a full rundown of our reporting from the show. For a selection of some of the best social media posts of the show, visit our Trending at #HIMSS16 hub.