Telemedicine's market momentum prompts vendors to expand, connect with larger patient populations

WeCounsel to rebrand as a multispecialty, InTouch Health patients can initiate consults from home and Teladoc releases a new single, patient-centered point of access app.
By Bill Siwicki
03:06 PM
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Several telehealth vendors are expanding their services in 2018. Credit: InTouch Health

This month has brought several new developments on the telehealth front, as vendors look to capitalize on the recent momentum of virtual care.

WeCounsel, a telemedicine company that has so far focused on behavioral health, is expanding its business to accommodate multispecialty healthcare providers under a new brand, VisuWell.

VisuWell provides a virtual care platform designed for healthcare organizations with any specialty mix. The platform enables provider groups or hospitals to add virtual patient encounters to their care delivery model. Additionally, it's designed to help organizations of all sizes bring on-demand capabilities to, among other areas, specialty referral, emergency department consults and remote patient monitoring.

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MedOptions, a virtual care provider that serves the long-term care community, currently uses the VisuWell platform to deliver care across 22 states in more than 100 facilities.

This past week, meanwhile, InTouch Health also expanded its telemedicine offerings. With an eye toward both direct-to-consumer delivery and in-house providers, the company announced its acquisition of TruClinic, which specializes in direct-to-consumer online virtual care. The goal of the deal is for InTouch to expand its existing portfolio to deliver a fuller range of virtual care programs to healthcare provider organizations, better enabling continuity of care between physicians and patients, said InTouch officials.

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InTouch Health will incorporate TruClinic's software into its offering, so patients can now initiate and receive a consult with their health system physician from their home, further extending InTouch Health's telehealth system across the continuum of care.

The combined system will empower health systems to provide virtual care using their own internal physicians or by leveraging InTouch Health's national network of contracted physicians, if needed – offering health systems more control in how they deliver virtual care for patients, officials said.

On another front, Teladoc is also expanding its services, debuting an integrated mobile app. Teladoc members now get a single, patient-centered point of access to answer a wide array of medical needs, as the app combines the care services traditionally provided by Teladoc along with the expert specialty medical and second opinion services of Best Doctors, the consultation company it acquired this past June, officials said.

"The integrated mobile app is foundational for Teladoc as we have redefined virtual care delivery and are providing our members and their families with a better way to navigate their individual care journey," said Dan Trencher, senior vice president of product and strategy at Teladoc. "With an approachable, simple-to-navigate experience and a curated set of services, we are enabling members to get answers to a range of health needs, empowering them to make smarter decisions and ultimately improve their healthcare outcomes."

Additionally this week, telemedicine vendor American Well received a big capital infusion of $59 million from German insurer Allianz. The investment will be used to help take the company global, the companies said.

"Allianz and American Well will develop digital health solutions that build on American Well’s platform and leverage Allianz’s international expertise by combining wearable sensors, remote monitoring and virtual visits," said Allianz in a statement.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com